31st January and 2nd February 2018
Writing: Shan Patel (Year 10)
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE) Bronze expedition is an event that requires practice, teamwork and training. Therefore a training day with our expedition providers was just what we needed.
Throughout the day Rachel and her team from Ocean Rock taught us essential skills we would need if we wished not to perish in the great outdoors. These included reading maps, route planning, packing expedition food and equipment, as well as putting up tents and lighting stoves. The day was split into three main sections, how not to get lost, how not to die of hunger, and how to put up tents. After splitting into our teams of five, who we would be with for 30 hours, we were ready to start.
If we were to pass our DofE Bronze, we needed to follow a route. It was a really fun challenge to come up with the fastest route through all the checkpoints. We had to consider factors such as landmarks to keep us on track, bearings and elevation changes, in order to be as efficient as possible.
It’s all well and good navigating to a campsite, however once we got there we would need shelter and something to eat. We went outside and in our groups practiced pitching our tents and using our cookers. In true British fashion the heavens opened and hail and snow fell from the sky. As the wind increased, the difficulty ramped up, and it took true teamwork to achieve our goal. Eventually we succeeded, and it was such a great feeling that a spectator could have been mistaken in thinking it was our real expedition.
'Oh no! We forgot the tent and our food fell out of our packs!' A phrase that with the help of Rachel would never be said on the expedition. Last but by no means least, we learnt how to pack successfully for an expedition. One of the most important things we learnt on the training day was that 'on a long journey even a straw weighs heavy'. In other words, the key to a successful expedition was to pack light. And after a masterclass from an expedition veteran we learned how to pack neatly, niftily, and methodically to prevent disaster.
And with all the necessary skills mastered, it was time to depart. Thanks must go to Ocean Rock and to Mr Sharp for a very insightful day.