amazing, enjoyable and challenging experience!

Aizah 10U tells us about the Bronze D of E training weekend

As we were delighted to report whilst it was taking place, at the weekend 73 of our Year 10 students took part in Bronze D of E training in the Peak District over the 2-day period.

A really great opportunity for all, that earned our students commendations and praise from staff and the visiting public in the area alike.

And we are now proud to share Aizah's first-hand account and photographs of the experience:

To qualify for the Bronze D of E award, we must do at least 3 months of volunteering, a sport, and a skill, and then select one to carry out for 6 months. And we also have to take part in an expedition in which we need to go hiking in the countryside for 2 days and camp overnight. However, to do this, first we have to go on a practice expedition, where we learn the skills necessary to go on the actual expedition independently. At the weekend, we went on our practice expedition; it was an amazing experience, but there were lots of challenges that we had to go through, especially on day 2 when we were sent off to navigate a 6 hour walk!

The weekend was full of activities for us to complete. On day 1, our instructor showed us how to orientate with a map and many other things, including: how to pitch a tent, tips for how to pack the bag that we would be carrying with us throughout the actual expedition, and how to plan a route that we would be taking on our qualifying expedition.

We went on a hike on day one with our instructor for a few hours, where we learnt how to figure out where we are on a map, and how to use a compass to guide ourselves in the right direction. It was hard - not only because there weren't many proper paths, and we had to climb over lots of fences, but also because it was extremely hot outside, and we were lucky that we didn’t have to carry our heavy bags! When we got back, we learnt how to use a gas stove to cook our dinner, and then everyone rested and got to see the beautiful sunset before heading into our tents for the night.

In the morning, we got up bright and early, ate our breakfast, broke camp, and left for the hike that we needed to do without an instructor, and for which we needed to work together as a group to guide ourselves to each checkpoint.

This was the most challenging point of our weekend: we had to climb over lots of steep hills and through many forests for many miles, all while the sun was beating down on us, and while we were carrying very heavy backpacks. Eventually, after around 7 hours of walking, and then taking a few breaks in between, we managed to make it to the destination where we would be picked up.

It was the best accomplishment to finally reach our destination, as there had been so many struggles along the way, and the final stretch was very challenging as it was a lot of uphill steep climbing, and getting to the top was just an amazing feeling for me.

All in all, I enjoyed the expedition, but it’s safe to say that everyone was exhausted after it, and it was quite a challenging journey!

Report and photographs by Aizah 10U