On Thursday and Friday of this week, I was involved in the Bronze DofE Programme for SGHS and a mighty fine programme it is too. The group had already completed a route planning exercise and a session at the Adventure Rope Course and they were now entering into the expedition training phase which entailed the following elements:
- Kit check and rucksack packing;
- Tent pitching and tent etiquette;
- Ready Steady Cook competition;
- Practice Walk with full kit; and
- Full day walk to practicing the fundamental navigational skills.
Day 1 – Getting The Basics Right
The kit check and rucksack packing went very well and with a few hints and tips the rucksacks become more like expedition packs rather then resembling a Christmas Tree. Next came the tent pitching session and it soon became apparent that the girls in this team do a lot of camping as the tent was put up in record speed. Next came the ready steady cook competition and as with previous years, I was judging the ‘Yumminess’ of the food and my team wasn’t too disappointed when they found out that I had awarded them the lowest score (super noodles are not a meal on their own) but they were extremely pleased to find out that they had won the Ready Steady Cook competition. I was more pleased that they had decided to change their menu for the practice expedition to something with more flavour!!
The afternoon walk went well, apart from the team slipping into sub groups and spending so much time chatting that they forget to pay attention to their surroundings. However, after a quick debrief over an ice-cream these issues were addressed with the group promising to get this right for the day walk the next day.
Day 2 – Day Walk In Church Stretton
After a quick recap from the previous day we headed off to Caer Caradoc as one team and with lots of good navigational skills shown on the way. The steep ascent to Three Fingers Rock was taken in their stride where we took the first lunch stop of the day. At this point, the weather closed in and the group opted not to go to the summit as there was no view. With that decision made, they quickly found the descent path to Cwms Cottage and off we went. From Cwms Cottage, it was on to the Hope Boulder Hills where we had the second lunch stop. With the promise of an ice cream in Church Stretton, the team made short work of the descent to Helmeth Hill and the walk in to Church Stretton.
It was a lovely two days work and I would like to wish the team well in their practice and qualifying expeditions later in the year.