Duke of Edinburgh Silver 13.07.16

Silver Qualifying Expedition

 Brecon Beacons East (4th – 8th July 2016)

The students arrived at school for the departure to South Wales in fine feckle! The boys were full of beans as we set off on another expedition to the land of hills, sheep and the thoughts of having the last home nation football team make it to the finals of Euro 2016 and also achieving the required pass mark needed to get through the expedition phase.

We left school with a full complement of staff with a very dashing, well-dressed driver (Mr Peter Sergeant). With an uneventful drive down to Wales we arrived at our base location for the next few days. Smithy’s Bunkhouse is situated just to the North East of Abergavenny with Sugar loaf Mountain to the west and Skirrid Mountain to the East The scene was set for the expedition ahead.

And so it began. After breakfast we took the groups to the drop off point at Llangattock which was 6 miles from the bunkhouse. Over the next few days, the teams would be responsible for themselves and their groups with only limited input from staff. The local area is widely used by the British Army for training purposes so the boys were moving over well-trodden ground.

The 7 groups would be moving over and through some of the best countryside South Wales has to offer, climbing various peaks such as Table Mountain at a height of around 450m, Pen Cerrig-Calch 701m, Crug Mawr  550m, Sugar Loaf 596m and Skirrid Fawr 486m. Not only did they have the mountains to navigate to but they also had the task for navigating through the valleys.

The groups stayed overnight in wild and semi wild campsites in a totally remote area and they all coped well, with only a few navigational errors. The students were under pressure to ensure that they met the 20 conditions that have to be adhered, assessed by staff. After 3 days and 2 nights under canvas, the boys all returned safely to the bunkhouse tired and rather smelly! In the evening, we headed out for a well-deserved meal of fish and chips.

All of the groups passed their expedition phase with 14 students wishing to pursue the Gold award next year!  After a good night sleep we all packed up and returned to LGS.

I’d like to say a big thanks you to the LGS and Freelance staff members for giving their time to support the students and my programme.


Next expedition: Gold Qualifying in North Wales 17-22 Oct 2016