After completing their practice expedition in May, last weekend the time came for the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award cohort to complete their assessed expedition. The expedition took the form of two days of self-guided walking and one night of self-sufficient camping. Arriving at the start points bright and early, the participants received their briefings, maps and compasses from the Venture Outdoor team, who would be assessing the expedition, and set off for their first day of walking.
Day One passed fairly smoothly – the groups had practised their navigation and hopefully ironed out any issues on the practice expedition and most groups managed to keep to their routes throughout the first day. Some groups did encounter some navigational issues but were able to use their skills to get themselves back on course. For the assessed expedition each group needed an aim, an activity or project to work on whilst on the expedition. Some of the aims included counting how many people and dogs they encountered on the walk, cataloguing wildflowers, photographing wildlife and even composing a team song as they walked.
Most groups made it to camp in Shipston-on-Stour by late afternoon, although there were a couple of groups who had a bit of a struggle pace-wise and came in a little later. All of the groups were onsite by 7.30pm and the business of putting up tents and cooking dinners began. Afterwards the young people relaxed, explored the campsite including the tyre swings, played football and chatted in their groups. We even had a birthday in the cohort, including a very carefully transported birthday cake and a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’!
Monday morning brought a mix of sunshine and clouds and with the weather forecast threatening rain the groups were keen to strike camp and set off on the second day of walking. As ever there were sore feet, aching backs and tired knees, but all of the participants were still keen to complete the second day – the call of a hot bath and a proper sleep in a bed can be hugely motivating. All of the groups put their heads down and focussed on getting the day done with the result that most of them arrived at their end points before the expected 3pm finish time.
The final part of the expedition was the de-brief by the Venture Outdoor staff whose role it was to make sure all the participants had met the twenty conditions set by the DofE to pass the expedition. All of the participants passed the expedition section, with some receiving very high praise from the Venture Outdoor staff.
Overall it was a great weekend, bringing to a close the expedition season for Myton this year, which has seen a record four expeditions going out with the Bronze and Silver cohort expeditions.
Many thanks, as ever, to Miss Seymour and Mr Whiting for their invaluable assistance on this and the other expeditions.
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