Two King’s Ely Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) Expeditions have taken place since the summer holidays started!

Eleven of our Sixth Form students headed to Snowdonia for their three-day Gold Expedition, and for their three-day Silver Expedition, five groups of Year 10 students went to Derbyshire.

Speaking about the Gold Expedition, Alex Scarborough, who is our Ely Scheme Apprentice and an Old Elean, said: “Students were greeted by very strong winds the moment that they arrived in Snowdonia. However, despite the conditions, the teams were in high spirits and were eager to set off. Despite a few little navigational mistakes, as the groups dusted off their map-reading cobwebs, the students all managed to reach their wild camping spot for the night in good timing. Wild camping meant that the students did not have access to clean running water, so they had to use a nearby lake to collect water before filtering it and then purifying it. As the sun came down in the evening, the view of Mount Tryfan from camp was incredible!

“Day two saw the plans change rapidly as a result of thunder and lightning being forecast for the whole day in the mountains of Snowdonia. This meant that the students’ routes were altered to bring them lower down into the valleys, but still to ensure that their routes were challenging. Once back at camp, students excelled in their camp-craft, showing how much they had learnt on their first night. The budding chefs cooked up their meals over Trangia stoves, and created numerous variations of boiled pasta and tomato sauce. All the students enjoyed the amenities of being back on a campsite rather than camping on the mountain, especially having running water and showers.

“Day three saw the Great British weather come through in full force, as it rained non-stop for the whole day. Despite this, the students marched on and continued on their way, even with some very wet breaks and lunch stops. The last day saw both teams demonstrate a high level of map-reading skill and group management, which will set them up well for their Gold DofE Assessment in the Brecon Beacons later this year. All the students did incredibly well and they conducted themselves to a very high standard.”

Speaking about the Silver DofE Expedition, James Houlston, our Director of Outdoor Education, said: “Before starting their Expedition, the students had the opportunity to work with a member of staff, refreshing their navigational skills in the Goyt Valley. This was a good introduction to the terrain that they were going to face during their three-day Expedition.

“During the Expedition phase, students all faced very challenging conditions, from blazing sunshine to torrential rain and thunder storms. Each night, the groups were relieved to get to the campsites, and were fortunate that the weather was kind to them when pitching tents and cooking their meals.

“I would like to thank Miss Mortimer, Mr Humphry, Mr Keene, and our outgoing Head Ely Scheme Pupil Instructor, Emily Williams, for their help, support, and encouragement throughout the trip.”

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