Bronze Qualifying Expedition 1: 12-13 June 2016: – Rutland Water.
At this time of year we all dream of sunshine, sun cream and sun hats, alas the DofE teams that set off on a damp overcast Sunday morning were clad in full waterproofs for the duration of their expedition. Six teams bravely faced the prospect of a wet two days and promptly set off on their walk. The teams had already completed their practice expeditions held in May in and around the Leek area (Peak District) guess what, it rained then too!
The terrain they covered then was much harder to traverse with more ups and then some more ups! For those of us who know Rutland Water, it is relatively flat and doesn’t pose any major problems to the teams.
And so it began, the teams set off on their missions to obtain the coveted Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award badge and certificate, well the expedition phase at least.
The teams where split on to two routes travelling in a clock and anti-clockwise direction and due to the size of the lake and pathways, the boys had to add some extra distance during the planning phase earlier in the year to ensure they covered correct distance.
12-15 km per day would be covered whilst carrying all of their personal equipment, tents, and stoves and not to mention the amount of food and water that would be needed to ensure they kept their strength up on the trek. Whilst completing the expedition walk, the boys would need to meet up with their own safety supervisor and various checkpoints along the route but these are only to see how they are progressing.
All the teams safely made their way to the campsite at Lyndon Top on the South Shore of Rutland Water. The teams then spent the next few hours setting up camp and preparing their evening meals under the watchful eyes of the safety supervisors and myself. During these proceedings the Headmaster made a special guest appearance and chatted with the boys and staff about their day and they found the trek.
After the evening meal the safety staff chatted to the teams regarding about the following days activities and discussed any changes to their routes and what was to happen at the end of the trek and on the return to LGS.
On day two the boys would need all their strength and determination to finish the walk and challenge they set themselves all those months ago. It rained from the moment they woke, it rained all through breakfast and whilst they collapsed the campsite, the only other living thing that seemed to be enjoy the rain more was the ducks! That said, all the boys kept going in damp and very wet conditions. All teams made it to the finish well within the cut off time with relief clearly itched on their faces and after some administration of kit and equipment the teams were given the good news that they had been waiting for ‘YOU’VE PASSED’ Phew! And true to form the boys spent the next 30 minutes in the café ordering a rather large amount of food….the lady said it was the most amount of food she had to prepare in one day!!!
Having run many expeditions all over the world in some of the most remotest and beautiful places, I always get a great sense of achievement when I see the Bronze boys completing their expeditions, as this is the most basic of adventures, it brings out the best and sometimes the worst in them, in all kinds of weather, who needs sunshine on a rainy day when you can see the smiles on the faces of these true adventurers? Who needs sun cream?
I’d like to thank all of the school staff who gave up their time to support the DofE programme here at LGS and to our external staff who provide the technical skills and additional safety for the staff and students.
Mr Bingham (The Doc)