Silver DofE Reflections

After several months of waiting, the Duke of Edinburgh Silver group had finally finished their assessment expedition. Despite the group members facing a variety of difficulties and inconveniences like social distancing, walking in the cold rain and deep mud, they still managed to accomplish the assessment and received their silver certifications! And here is the short story of their expedition:

On the morning of 17th October, the Silver Duke of Edinburgh group ventured on their assessed expedition. There two groups of Form 5s and a group of 6.1s took part in an expedition that spanned over two nights and three days.

Our hike started in Montgomery, Wales and the day went fairly smoothly – a build up for the harder navigation and longer routes on days 2 and 3. Day 2 required a trek around Croyden Hill, a tricky route full of overgrown thorns and bushes that blocked some of the paths. After two days of tackling numerous steep hills whilst carrying heavy rucksacks (containing tents, food, water, clothing, and other kit), we mustered all our energy and ended the expedition on a high note.

We were fortunate to enjoy mostly great weather during the day, although it drizzled a bit from time to time. However, the temperatures reached close to zero on some nights. It was an interesting experience camping at school on the Hall Meadow, as normally we would have gone to a campsite. To boost our moods, our teachers organised a campfire, where we toasted marshmallows and drank hot chocolate.

We are thankful for all the teachers that have helped us and guided us, allowing us to complete our expedition.

DofE Silver Team

Our Duke of Edinburgh Practice Expedition

From Saturday 16th June to Sunday 17th June, Form 3 had their Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition. We had been preparing for almost half of the year and had planned our route cards as well as our meal menus and clothing. My group consisted of seven people, and I think we all had different skills that would help us for the expedition.

We set off on Saturday morning – first with the minibus, to get to our starting point. The weather was a little rainy and damp, but it wasn’t cold, proving we put on our coats. At the beginning of our route, I have to admit, we did get a little lost. However, with the help of the teacher accompanying us, we were soon back on track and got the hang of it. Making my way up the hills, I soon noticed how heavy the bag was and the effort one must put into moving only a few centimeters on the map (it’s a lot longer in reality!). The views were very beautiful though and we saw many types of plants and insects. I was impressed at how wonderfully my group cooperated and at how enthusiastic we were.

At lunch, I had a packed lunch, like everybody else. We had travelled about half way through our journey for the day, when our road started to get very tough; there was almost nothing but an uphill trek for quite a while. Nonetheless, we encouraged each other and worked as a team (working out where we were, and not getting lost). We reached the conclusion that, “Slow and steady wins the race” and stuck to it for the rest of our walk. Understandably from our ethos, we reached the campsite last. On the other hand, I think that it was worth it… We saw beautiful views of the Lawley and pushed ourselves.

When we got to the campsite, we set up our tents, unpacked food and cooked dinner: soup, followed by rice, vegetables, tomatoes and spam. Next, we packed up and changed into our pyjamas. Of course, we brought many snacks and ate them whilst telling horror stories. I think this was a fun activity for us all, since it was like a sleepover within nature. We slept very well and were quite comfortable. The only thing that bothered us during the night was a sheep, which, bumped into our tent several times!

The next morning we made breakfast: eggy bread, scrambled eggs, fried eggs (since we all value our breakfast, we brought eggs all the way from school), and pancakes and Nutella. Starting our second day journey, the weather was the same as the previous day. This time though, our journey was much more relaxed and flat, since the ground could not possibly go any higher (we were on top of the Lawley). We were surrounded by very rich fauna: wild ponies, sheep, and many different types of birds. Unfortunately, as we started to go downhill, I started to feel a sharp pain above my ankle, along the bone. As I couldn’t go any further, the rest of my team members were very kind and, in typical Concord fashion, even offered to carry my bag. However, I thought that it was better to call the teachers, and carrying two bags was too much for the back of a growing person. Help arrived within 10 minutes, and the others then continued. The teachers were exceptionally helpful and I put an ice pack on my ankle too… I have come to the conclusion that it was probably because I am going through a growing phase as well as playing a sport that uses my right leg significantly more than my left (fencing). From what I hear from the rest of my team, they had a really fun time and had a great rest of the journey.

I look forward to taking part in our official Duke of Edinburgh expedition next year.

Ecaterina – F3