15 Jul

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Our Gold group arrived back at New Bridge on Thursday afternoon after successfully completing their challenging 4 day qualifying expedition in North Wales. Mr Taylor, our DofE manager, has written this report…

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The Gold group took on a demanding route starting from the top of the Great Orme Llandudno and finishing at Idwal near the Ogwen Visitor Centre..

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The route involved a variety of challenges as it snaked along the North Wales coastline then into and over the Welsh Carneddau mountain range before finally following the Ogwen River to finish near its source..

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As ever in Wales, the weather was changeable with many of the roads and paths long and steep..

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The area was shared with many other DofE expeditioners all putting in lots of effort to complete their groups own personal challenges but none involved anybody sat in a wheelchair. The wheelchair was a valued group member enabling a bit of sit down respite..

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or to carry packs from aching and tired shoulders for a little while..

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When the hills got too steep, Nathan would walk some of the way, at times clocking up a good few kilometres..

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Each day was another challenge, as well as the demands of the environment there was the distance, with the group clocking up 9, 11, 12 and 6 miles on consecutive days carrying all their own equipment..

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Although there were a few choice words muttered when another hill was encountered or when the group felt they had had enough. the word ‘quit’ was never mentioned. Everybody wanted to complete the week..

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At the end of the day they offered their thoughts on the challenge which usually reflected the effort or difficulty undergone but with a positive outlook towards the end goal..

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In an amazing display of motivation and group cohesion, the group had packed up camp and were ready to go at 7.30am on the last morning with Nathan offering to walk the first hill to make it easier on the others. It wasn’t quite a sprint finish with a few meaty hills, a wheelchair malfunction and energy sapping temperatures taking their toll..

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It was a group finish – the group’s aim was teamwork and if it had not been for everyone pulling together, problem solving, helping each other and working to their strengths it would not have been the resounding success it was..

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I am sure I can speak for all the staff involved in saying ‘Well done!’ to Nathan, Abu, Kingsley, Liam and Jack and ‘thank you,’ it was a privilege to be part of your experience..

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A huge thank you to Mr Hollinworth..

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and Mr Lawrence..

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We are so proud of our first ever group to take on the extremely challenging Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, they have really shown us what it is possible to achieve with hard work and determination. None of this would have been possible without the dedication and commitment of our incredible DofE staff team and we hope that Mr Taylor, Mr Lawrence and Mr Hollinworth get a well-deserved rest over the summer!

Well done, everyone, on your fantastic achievements!!!

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You can see more fantastic pictures in our Facebook album here and read about the other expeditions our young people have completed this year here.