27 Apr

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Our Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s students were the third group to successfully complete their practice expedition. Once again Mr Taylor, our DofE manager, accompanied our intrepid young people on their adventure..

Derwent Heritage Trail DofE Silver Practice Expedition 24/25 April 2018

Early on Tuesday Morning a group of 18 aspirant Silver New Bridge students took on the challenge of the Derwent Heritage Trail from Ladybower Reservoir to Grindleford. Each student travelled on foot, carrying equipment needed for a one night camp. The group was split into three smaller groups, each attempting a different section of the route to meet up at the campsite near Bamford..

The optimist might suggest the forecast for the weather didn’t look too good. The pessimist was best keeping his thoughts to himself! On beginning the trek the weather was a bit soggy but that didn’t seem to make a difference as groups set off intent on their respective goals. The groups’ routes followed water features linking up reservoirs and rivers. Travelling alongside lakes/riverbanks, through quiet country lanes and wading through fields of soggy sheep and confused looking newborn lambs. It was warmish but wet. Then it got wetter. We passed other DofE groups looking just as wet and weather worn as ourselves..

The groups remained positive and resolute as each splashed and sploshed closer to the campsite. The early group had done a fabulous job of setting up tents for the stragglers. The soggy walk was followed by a soggy tea as students cooked on camp stoves and replenished lost calories. An early night followed, as most thought it best to get into a dry bed, put on warm dry clothes and save their energy for the following day..

Next morning we were awoken by the extremely loud donkey whose alarm, it seemed, was set to 6 o’clock. A quick breakfast, a stowing of equipment and a readying for the day’s activities..

..were followed by a long frantic search for the mini bus keys (eventually found inside one of the folded up tents by an eagle eyed member of staff). There then ensued a break in the clouds, the threat of good weather and a mad rush to get going before our luck changed. Surprisingly it turned warm and sunny for the final stretch..

..and would you believe it … just as we got to the minibus the heavens opened (this time it missed us)..

This was a difficult and challenging journey due to the weather and conditions and all the groups did tremendously well and remained positive and focused. Probably not the best experience but, I bet, one of the most memorable. Should the qualifying expedition be approached in the same manner, I’m sure the students will be guaranteed success.

Gavin Taylor
DofE Manager

Well done everyone, we hope you’ve finally dried out and are looking forward to your 3 day qualifying expedition from 10th – 12th July!! We have lots more pictures of the expedition to share, please visit our Facebook page here to view the full album.

You can find out more about the DofE Award Scheme at New Bridge and read about previous expeditions here