100 students (58 girls, 42 boys) from Beechen Cliff School for Boys and Hayesfield Girl’s School took part in their first experience of DofE expeditions on the 6 and 7 June 2013. This was the preparation for their assessment on the Mendips which will take place later this month.
DofE builds character in so many ways. Students have a lot of fun and yet they learn by doing and many have to cope with some failures along the way to success. Team work becomes essential as teams need to look after one another, and plan their cooking, tents and routes together.
The students are to be commended for a really positive start to their Duke of Edinburgh qualification. They navigated themselves over a 15 mile route and learnt about camp craft and teamwork. They will need to prepare well for assessment, working on their kit choice, navigation and fitness.
Activities over the 2 days included the expedition and camping alongside classroom sessions on best practice when in mountainous environments and an orienteering session to keep fine tuning that navigation.
It was as ever a superb team effort from the 12 staff at Beechen Cliff and Hayesfield: a very successful launch of the Bronze DofE programme to add to the vibrant and well established Silver and Gold programmes. Special mention should be given to Dave Brewer (ML, MLW) who masterminded an excellent set of routes, choice of campsite and classroom sessions. Thanks to the core teams at both schools for your hard work and long hours spent supporting the students on this trip.
The weather was clear and sunny on day 1, followed by a humid day with cloud and rain by the afternoon on day 2 - always pack a waterproof when walking in the UK!
The group stop to navigate from the map on the outskirts of Upton Cheyney. The weather on day 1 was fantastic. Good weather makes navigation easier but means suntan lotion, sunglasses and hats are a must!
Big rucksacks can present a problem at some gates, as Olivia discovers here!
Everest: Sixty fascinating facts - Telegraph -
First Duke of Edinburgh briefing for our Year 9 Bronze students. A chance to hear about reccommended expedition equipment and E-DofE.
Hayesfield and Beechen Cliff Schools took 99 year 10 students (58 Hayesfield girls, and 41 Beechen Cliff boys) to the Black Mountains in Wales for two days of expedition training, supported by a team of 20 staff led by John Young (IML) and 4 DofE Gold sixth formers. This involved camp craft, navigation training and self-guided walking. Year 10 were a real credit to their schools, showing many of the characteristics we look for in DofE aspirants.
The Black Mountains were the backdrop to a busy and exciting few days. On day 1 students set up camp at The Castle Inn at Pengenffordd. They were then taken on guided navigation training by teams of 2 staff. We looked at map work, route finding over steep ground, teamwork and leadership, compass bearings and micro-navigation (estimating distance with time and pacing). By the end of the day the students were able to work as a team, and had begun to navigate themselves independently across the mountains.
In the evening, the students did a super job of cooking hot meals on camp stoves and bedding down for a cold April night. They rose early on day 2. It was time to test those navigation skills on a long and challenging valley route. The groups worked independently of the staff, who manned checkpoints along the route. The weather closed in (again!) and cold winds, rain and low cloud made for dangerous conditions. This is when your resilience is really tested and it becomes vital to wear the right clothing to protect yourself from the weather.
Through a combination of admirable maturity from our year 10s and relentless work from our team of staff all made it back to base safely with a smile on their faces, muddy boots and plenty of stories to tell friends and family back home.
Our sixth form DofE Gold team were a great help this weekend.
Important pre-route briefing for navigators on day 2.
Trig point. From here, students navigated themselves back to base.
Navigation practice on day 1.
Duke of Edinburgh silver training. Setting up camp!