A GROUP of our Year 11 students have recently returned home from a five-day Hill Walking and Navigation Trip in Derbyshire.

Our Senior students, Pupil Instructors and staff enjoyed Barn Farm Camping in Birchover as their base.

James Houlston, our Director of Outdoor Education, said: “The aim of the Hill Walking and Navigation Course is to help students become more proficient in navigation skills, such as understanding contours on a map, pacing, bearings, compass work, aiming off, handrailing and leapfrogging. All of these skills, including evening talks where students were taught radio communications, first aid skills, countryside code and food requirements for expeditions, were to prepare the group for a solo two-day expedition.

“Throughout the training days and evening talks, the Year 11s were excellent in their conduct, leadership skills and encouragement of each other. Whilst the Year 11s were undertaking training, three of our Senior Pupil Instructors were also being trained as part of our Hill Walking Assistant Scheme. This gives them an insight into how expeditions are run and managed. Whilst away, they helped train the Year 11s, learnt about planning day walk routes, the aims for the day, as well as learning more about dynamic risk assessments.

“The two-and-a-half days of training culminated in a couple of hours in the picturesque village of Bakewell, where the students did food shopping for their forthcoming expedition and then we all enjoyed al fresco dining with fish and chips near the river. On the night before the expedition, pupils had to prepare by writing their route cards, as well as packing.

“On Tuesday morning, the expedition group started their 25-kilometre day, with 450-metres of ascent throughout the day. The group were excellent and stuck to their route card timings exceptionally well, arriving at the campsite just six minutes after their expected finish time which is impressive after eight hours of walking! Upon arrival at the campsite, the group pitched their tents and then cooked a delicious meal of pasta with green pesto, followed by rice pudding for dessert. After a good sleep, the group were up early ready for their final walk to the finish point at Riber Castle, just outside Matlock.

“I would like to thank all the pupils and staff who took part in this trip for a what was a very rewarding and enjoyable time.”

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