Gold D of E Practice Expedition

Our Gold Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition began very early at 6 o’clock on Friday 26 May 2023. Too early in most people’s eyes! We stopped off at the service station for a yummy breakfast ranging from Gregg’s sausage rolls to katsu curry boxes. The road half way up sugar loaf mountain was rather narrow, twisty and steep but we made it to the car park in one piece. We met the fun and enthusiastic Josh and Emma from Dynamic Adventures who supervised us throughout the trip. The steep climb up sugar loaf mountain was a shock to the system with most not having experienced climbing up a mountain with a heavy backpack before, but the views from the top were worth it. We then proceeded to walk the valleys and hills of the Brecon Beacons developing our map skills. The Welsh landscape was beautiful with the green grass and wildflowers. We had a well-deserved lunch, where some of the more conscientious individuals whipped out revision cards. We then continued until we found a river which we explored and observed a stone skimming competition. After walking some more we came across a farm in which an adorable little calf who was very friendly, loved being stroked and posed for photos. After a tiring but rewarding day, we ended up at the Priory campsite next to the stunning ruins (where we had an impromptu photoshoot with Mrs Jones, who was desperate to catch the “last of the sunset”). We enjoyed an interesting dinner of gluten free pasta (which some people were not big fans of) as well as lemon cake.

Saturday began early (but maybe not as early as it should have as we slept through our alarm) but this did not deter us and we left soon after our breakfast of porridge and crepes. Our day began similarly to the day before which involved climbing up a big hill, which many of us were surprised didn’t qualify for a mountain. We adventured up the hill at a fast pace and with true determination we made it up to the top. We then later stopped for lunch where we saw paragliding and decided that it was something we would all love to do. In the afternoon we practised more map skills such as hand railing and leapfrogging.

That evening we got to the campsite which we shared with two Shetland ponies and a friendly family. The evening started off with putting up tents and a feast of dehydrated meals and ‘boil in a bag’ meals. That evening was filled with fun games and competitions in which Josh and Emma got involved as well. During the night, a 2am toilet trip turned into a small stargazing session, some people even claimed they saw the northern lights. The final day included climbing up to the ridge and more navigation skills to prepare us for the qualifying expedition. At the end of the walk we got some ice cream and started the journey home. We stopped at the service station where we all feasted on Burger King followed by more singing on the bus. Although we were all exhausted by end of trip, we were proud of what we had achieved and had a great time. We are all raring to go for the qualifying expedition.

Fleur, Lower Sixth

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