A group of 14 Lower Sixth girls set off for their Gold DofE Practice Expedition on Dartmoor

1 May 2019

After successfully completing the DofE Bronze Award, a group of 14 Lower Sixth girls are now working towards their DofE Gold Awards and at the beginning of the Easter holidays they headed to the beautiful Dartmoor National Park for their first Practice Expedition.

Lower Sixth girl, Arabella reports,

‘As the rest of the School returned home, we set off for Dartmoor and when we arrived, our first job was to pitch our tents followed by a mini-orientation exercise to get us into the right mindset, before settling down for an early night in our tents.

The next morning, after a very cold night, we set out early to begin the day’s walk to our next camp. Our route took us over the open areas of Dartmoor, far away from any towns or people and it was lovely to enjoy the beautiful landscapes. The large stepping stones in the rivers and streams were a particular highlight, as we all attempted to clamber over the gushing water without falling in. That night we spent wild camping by Chalk Ford with the stunning River Mardle flowing beside us.

The next day was a shorter walk but the large hills called for some enthusiastic singing and shouting as we pulled each other up the steep slopes. Once again, the open landscape proved a challenge for our navigation skills, however we all successfully arrived at our final campsite. At the bottom of the hill from the house where War Horse was filmed, our two groups camped together as we celebrated making it through to the final day of walking.

We planned an early 6am start the next morning and with the beautiful sunrise, it proved to be an amazing finish to what had been a tough but incredible few days. Finishing with a long lunch in the sun, we watched other DofE groups set off for their expeditions.

Our first DofE Gold Expedition certainly took us up a level from our previous Bronze Expeditions, but we all persevered and pulled together to get through the new challenge together and can feel proud of what we achieved.’

The group will continue to work towards their DofE Gold Award during the Summer Term to prepare for their four-night Assessed Expedition in July when they will be hiking and camping in the Brecon Beacons.

Find out more information about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme at Downe House

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