Early on the morning of 19 May, 21 Year 10 students set off in the school minibuses for Wiltshire to undertake Myton’s first Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s award practice expedition. Most of the young people did their Bronze award in Year 9, so had an idea of what was in store for them, but there was still some trepidation about the extra day of walking and extra night of camping involved in the Silver expedition.
After a quick service station stop and a much-needed fuel up at Greggs, we arrived in Wiltshire and the groups departed for their first day of walking. For the most part the weather was lovely, except at 2pm when the heavens opened and it bucketed down rain for the best part of two hours. By the time the groups started arriving at their first campsite, the rain had mostly gone but had left everyone quite soggy. Spirits were still high though as the young people set up camp and cooked themselves an evening meal.
After a chilly night it was a cold morning on camp as tents were packed away and rucksacks hoisted back onto already aching shoulders. Most of the groups had made good time the day before and they were keen to get underway and show the best of their teamworking and navigation skills. The second day was warm and sunny without the threat of rain which kept everyone cheerful. Our second campsite was Little Owls Farm and the young people were thrilled to find they were camping next to a field of friendly and inquisitive llamas.
Day three is always the toughest of a Silver expedition with everyone now suffering from sore backs and blistered feet, not to mention the weariness that comes from days of walking plus sleeping in a tent. However, the groups were up early and set off on their final day determined to get to the finish line in good time. All the groups were really motivated and the first group reached the finish point at the Avebury Standing Stones by 2pm. Once Mr Whiting arrived in the second minibus, all the groups were loaded up and we made it back to Warwick for a quite reasonable 5.30pm.
As ever, the young people were exemplary in their behaviour and attitudes and garnered much praise from the Venture Outdoor team. The phrase “such nice kids” was heard many times over the course of the weekend. Even though the expedition was tough, the young people really enjoyed their time in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside, enjoying panoramic views and encounters with local wildlife.