A GROUP of our Year 9 students headed to Derbyshire during the Easter break to put their hill walking and navigation skills to the test.

The trip saw 14 intrepid pupils exploring the Dark Peak area, which is famed for its desolate and exposed tracts of moorland top. For many of the students, this was their first introduction to hill walking, so they spent two days undergoing intensive training in preparation for their two-day expedition.

James Houlston, our Director of Outdoor Education, said: “The training programme saw students learning skills such as map interpretation, pacing, using compasses to take bearings and then walking on the bearings. In the evenings, pupils took part in lectures where they learnt about first aid skills required in the hills, emergency procedures and food required for their expeditions. On the evening before their expedition, the group had time out in Chapel-en-le-Frith to have a fish and chip meal, before undertaking their expedition food shopping, planning their routes and sorting their expedition packs.

“On Easter Sunday, the students set off in their groups where they covered 40 kilometres and climbed over 1,200 metres of ascent. The Year 9s proved to have excellent navigational skills and enjoyed summitting Kinder Scout and then Mam Tor before getting into camp on Sunday evening where Easter eggs were waiting for them! On the Monday, they completed the final 15 kilometres of their expedition with some very tired and weary legs.

“The Year 9s were excellent ambassadors for the school. I would like to thank them, our three Pupil Instructors who assisted, and the staff who helped to train the pupils and look after them during the five-day trip.”

Our Pupil Instructors on this trip were Nia Baird, Emily Williams and Alex Keene, who was working alongside his father and Old Elean, David Keene, as an Instructor.

The trip was organised through Ely Scheme – our popular outdoor education programme that captures the sense of adventure amongst students in Years 9-13. Our unique programme offers boundless opportunities for pupils to learn vital life skills, including our very own assault course and outdoor climbing wall!

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