Saturday, 19 July 2014

Silver Duke of Edinburgh

Last weekend I had my final Silver Duke of Edinburgh expedition. What a mouthful! For those of you that don't know D of E is an award for young people that consists of taking part in a sport, skill and volunteering as well as a practice and examined expedition. My school offer D of E at Bronze, Silver and Gold level and I completed my Bronze award last year. The silver expedition lasts for three days and two nights. In your teams you have to carry everything you need.

For my expedition we went to the New Forest in Hampshire. It took a two hour minibus journey to get there and I actually slept through most of...

Prior to my snooze...

The New Forest is well known for it's wild ponies that we saw many of, as well as cows and some stunning dragonflies!

I Made a Friend!

On the first day everything went fairly smoothly and we didn't get lost at all. However we did have to cross a river that wasn't actually marked on the map! We all chose various routes and discovered some of the 'land' wasn't 'land' and you just sank into it! We walked roughly 10K on the first day, which may not sound too bad but just think of those rucksacks!!

The First Obstacle

As soon as we got to the campsite we began to put up our tent, before discovering one of the tent poles wasn't actually for our tent. Thankfully our examiner was able to make us a new pole out of other poles.

Our Very stable Tent

Once the tent was up it was time for dinner. You have to cook on trangias which is an alcohol fuelled portable stove, as you can imagine it's not the quickest way to cook pasta! Although it took a while the pasta carbonara alongside the Mattersons sausage (what a saviour!) tasted delicious after a day of walking. The pasta was followed by our own take on s'mores for pudding, and the evening ended with a good game of Uno before an interesting nights sleep!


Day two wasn't quite as successful as the first. We decided a two hour detour was a good way to start the morning and if it wasn't for an inconveniently placed barbed wire fence we would have been fine! I promise. Either way we had good fun until we ended up on another detour. At this point we were all really tired and we just wanted to get to the campsite. But you know, 15K didn't sound like enough of a challenge so we thought "Hey, lets give 20K a go!".

Detour Number 1

Detour Number 2

When we did finally get to camp, we set up, ate dinner and then our teachers said we could take a little trip to the beach! It was a short drive to Milford on Sea where Ellen and I claimed a rock to stand on. It was very cold and we got very wet but I always feel so calm by the sea. I loved standing in the waves after being on my feet all day. Looking out to sea with the beautiful sunset is definitely my favourite memory of the weekend.


Milford on Sea Sunset

Day three was another success. Although we questioned where we were a few times, due to forests being cut down and a several unclear paths, we didn't get lost. I was so happy when we reached the final checkpoint, and we celebrated by putting on our flip-flops!

We Finished!

My Cherished Primark Flip-Flops

One of the minibuses broke down while we were waiting for a couple of other groups to finish so the trip home was delayed by quite a bit! However we got home, I saw my gorgeous cat and I slept in my own bed! It was bliss.

If anyone is considering doing Duke of Edinburgh I would highly recommend it. I've learnt so much through all aspects of the award and as you can see the expedition is such good fun!

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