Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Qualifying Expeditions 2016, a report by Ms Cole, Head of Outdoor Pursuits
Twenty-three girls successfully completed their Qualifying Venture at Gold and Silver level this July during the first week of the summer holidays. Eight months of hard work and training in numerous areas of the British Isles, from the Malvern Hills, Forest of Dean and Shropshire to the Brecon Beacons culminated in one final journey around the Peak District National Park.
The Silvers did a 3 day journey through the White Peak, Derbyshire, whilst the Golds went on a 4 day journey up and around the Wild Country area of The Dark Peak, Derbyshire, centred around Kinder Scout. The weather was truly awful! In my memory it is one of the top 2 worst weather conditions that MSJ girls have experienced. It was wet, then wet again and then it rained some more, this time with very strong winds!
These conditions made for a challenging experience for them all, but all finished in good heart and good spirits, deservedly proud of their achievements. The expedition section is regarded as one of the hardest parts of the D of E Award. Although short in duration, it looms large in each participant’s imagination. The physicality of it, the unpredictable weather, the large rucksacks, in which they have to carry everything that they need: food, bedding, shelter and clothes. The self-sufficiency of the journey, with no adult intervention or supervision. The route finding. The responsibility. It is a challenge - and rightly so!
So, to complete this journey is a truly significant achievement and fosters feelings of great satisfaction and pride. It is these challenges and the commitment of the other sections that makes the D of E Award so highly regarded around the world, by universities, businesses and the public at large. By completing their expedition this summer, these girls have made considerable progress towards their goal and deserve many congratulations.
Each group faced challenges, but coped well with them, showing great determination to finish their journeys. The Golds in particular have done extremely well, facing awful weather with heavy rain and strong winds on Day 3. They navigated themselves through tough country to get to their last campsites and a well-deserved supper. All of them showed immense strength of character and determination to complete their journey. Well done to them all on their success.
Gold Team: Lucy Blum, Coco Chernel, Eleri Clarke, Millie Cooper, Charlotte Li, Jadie Luo, Chloe Parker, Anna Shaw and Emily Walker
Silver Team: Galina Boskhamdzhieva, Yuki Ho Suet Chan, Nicola Connell, Cora Croft, Holly Harvey, Emily Hutsby, Maddy Laband, Emily Lewis, Lucy Nelson, Ksenia Pochechueva, Molly Rice, Masha Romanenko, Tilly Storrie and Corliss Tse.
Many thanks go to the staff who helped out on these trips: Mrs Allsopp, Mr Perkins, Mrs Cole, Mrs Ewence, Mr Jones and Mr Coney. Without their help and support, this expedition would not have possible.