News BlogPosted on: 22/10/2019
Gold Dof E Practise Expedition
DofE gold expedition includes 4 days of hiking and 3 nights camping. Each day of walking is planned beforehand and we navigate the routes using the map, compass bearings and grid references. For this walk, we went to Brecon which was beautiful to look at but not so beautiful to walk in. In preparation for our expedition we went on a number of day walks with teachers, and practised our navigation and learnt new skills.
For our food for the 4 days, we had to come up with a plan of what we will be eating to prevent carrying heavy items. We decided that the best and lightest options were ration packs. These were loved by many and hated by some. We also cooked meals that actually tasted like real food such as pasta, rice and curry and wraps. The ration packs were used towards the end of the third and fourth day of the expedition in order to use up heavier items first.
We experienced very harsh walking conditions due to the weather. Within 10 minutes on the first day all our clothes were soaking wet regardless of the waterproofs we had on. This also presented us with problems when it stopped raining, as we were required to cross a river that was now overflowing. To overcome this we worked as a team to help each other across (aka Faris carried Minahil and Jess over) Jess had the great experience of falling in the river, although Jamie came in like a hero and saved the poor girl's life. She survived. While this was happening Minahil managed to fall on a sharp rock and hurt herself. This caused us to take a break, trying to shelter from the harsh, cold conditions. After this days walk we reached the campsite and cooked our food, put up our tent and went to sleep. Only to wake up and have to put on our soaking wet clothes which I promise was not a very nice feeling.
On the third day it was freezing cold and extremely foggy. We reached a point where the path were no where to be seen. This was a form of encouragement for us to take a lunch break. We were able to cook our food on the trangia stoves and use the heat to warm our hands up. During this lunch break, we all became very religious and asked god for some sunlight. Shockingly there was sunlight which was the most amazing thing we have ever experienced.
On the final day we climbed Pen y Fan, which is the highest peak is South Wales. It is 886 meters above sea level. During this walk our knees had given up on us due to the steep uphill climbs. Once we go to the top we felt very accomplished and proud of what we have done over the past 4 days. We then expected to go down and meet Mr Wagget at Storey Arms however, life is full of surprises and they aren’t always good. In short, we got lost... the fog covered multiple paths along the way down. However, we were able to find our path once the fog cleared up a little bit. Unfortunately the path was very steep and the downhill walk resulted in painful knees.
All jokes aside, this was probably the most amazing experience for every one of us. We enjoy looking back to this and thinking of the crazy things we did and achieved on that walk. We were able to build strong friendships with everyone and found JESS. Each time we found the walls hard and when the moods were down, we were able to look back to how far we had walked and say WE DID THAT!. We are hoping to do our final expedition in the summer in North Wales, this might require some fund raising. We are sure this will be just as amazing as the walk we have done aside from the pain that followed.
Special thanks to Mr Wagget for encouraging us, believing in us and putting up with us on these 4 days.