28 Jun

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Our Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s groups overcame truly dreadful weather conditions to successfully complete their 4 day qualifying expedition earlier this month. Mr Taylor, our DofE manager, can tell us more about their fantastic achievement..

The Carneddau, North Wales ~ Gold Qualifying Expedition 11th – 14th June 2019

On Tuesday 11th June, two groups left New Bridge to begin their Gold expeditions. The weather hadn’t been good and it looked to get far worse. The journey began in the Carneddau mountain range. One group would walk from there to the camp whilst the other would explore the area with a circular walk and then drive to the campsite.

The weather started out quite reasonable but deteriorated as the day went on. This made the going less pleasant and a lot more difficult. Nonetheless, eventually both of the soggy, tired groups met at the campsite around 8 o’clock in the evening. A tumble drier provided a great relief, an opportunity to dry wet gear and the nearest thing to TV the campers would see for a while.

The wet night gave way to an even wetter day as the group left the mountain then followed the River Ogwen to the next campsite. To provide some cover for cooking, a gazebo was procured. This allowed the campers to crowd around a picnic table (rather like penguins on an ice flow) and get some cover. The river beside the site roared on, providing continuous white noise to send everyone to sleep.

The next day the river was bigger and the rain even harder..

video

So after a cosy breakfast of porridge under the makeshift breakfast bar, it was time to take the tents down (some were wet on the inside and the outside) and move on to the Menai Straits and the beginning of the coastal route to Penmanmaer. This should have been a pleasant, flat, straightforward coastal walk, along good paths with fine views across to Beaumaris and Anglesey. However, it wasn’t quite so. The rain which had now eased off somewhat, was providing some issues with localised flooding and swollen rivers, making areas of the route impassable and forcing the trekkers to retrace their steps and look for alternatives. Fortunately the support bus was available to lend a hand.

Another latish night on the campsite followed, where the rain managed to hold off until the evening meal was about to be prepared (soggy pasta again!).

A more settled night led to an even better day (hardly any rain!). The campers even experienced the odd glimpse of sunshine as they completed the last leg to Conwy and the finish at the smallest house in Wales.

Here’s what one of the groups had to say about the expedition..

video

The theme of the expedition was ‘water’ – perhaps if we change it to ‘sunshine’ next year, it may prove a little more pleasant!

A fine effort in difficult conditions, well done everyone!

Gavin Taylor
DofE Manager

Congratulations everyone on successful completing your Gold expedition!! Once again, we’re extremely grateful to our fantastic staff for supporting and encouraging our young people through all that rain and making the expedition possible…and they’ll be doing it all again next week!!

You can view all the pictures of the expedition in our Facebook album here and you can find out more about the DofE Award Scheme at New Bridge here and read about all our previous expeditions.