It has been a real pleasure to be able to organise expedition training for Bronze and Gold D of E this half term. The last six months has seen a very frustrating series of attempts at providing expedition training thwarted not just by Covid cancellations but by extreme weather events too.
Having managed to squeeze a Bronze group through a day of training just after the end of lockdown in July, it was with a sense of relief that our second Bronze group completed a day of training in the Cotswolds in early October followed a week later by a third group. The thing that really stood out in all three Bronze groups was the sense of excitement and happiness as they were unleashed into the hills with map and compass and the freedom to walk with their friends. There was running and singing, laughing and chatting mixed in with achy feet and getting lost.
The Gold expedition teams completed a three day expedition training programme created within the current Covid restrictions. A day of navigation training and practice in the Cotswolds was followed by a navigation stress test day around the maze of tracks and trails of the Forest of Dean. Overnight rainy camping in the school grounds gave the teams suitable conditions to review their equipment choices while the third day saw a big walk in big hills with full packs. With The Black Mountains being ruled out by Welsh restrictions we headed to the Long Myndd in Shropshire for some steep climbs, long descents and amazing views. A hugely positive approach from all the Gold students gives us great confidence that they will all have a successful assessed expedition when the time comes.