Duke of Edinburgh

Published on 23 September 2014

Duke of Edinburgh

Seven Vandyke students travelled to the Lake District National Park to complete their Duke of Edinburgh's Gold award expedition between the 27th - 31st August.  After a 400 mile journey in the minibus we arrived at Wasdale Head, our campsite for the first two nights. Although the camp site was set in a beautiful location, we found it hard to enjoy the scenery in strong winds and torrential rain. After meeting our assessor and enjoying a meal in the Wasdale Head Inn we turned in for the night, it was at this point that the horror soon began to unfold. We had the worst night of our lives and were able to enjoy a night in high winds and torrential rain!

Our first day of walking started early and unfortunately the rain had not eased off at all. Nevertheless, our adventure began at 9am and we began our ascent to the summit of Scaffel Pike. Our pace as a team dropped because of the appalling weather and the difficulty of the task we were undertaking. Day one was a very miserable day for many of us and we spent a lot of time wondering why we had chosen to do this! Our day perked up when we reached the summit of Scaffel Pike, we had just achieved something incredible and we began our descent feeling rather proud of ourselves. On the way down and the weather cleared up for us so we could pitch our tents and cook in the dry.

Day two began in a very similar way to day one – torrential rain and howling wind. Our pace as a team was fantastic and we covered ground very quickly which gave us a huge morale boost. We reached the camp site in good time and after pitching our tents in the dry we took refuge in the storm shelter at the camp site. This gave us the perfect opportunity to get everything dry before another challenging day of walking!

Day three was the most challenging day of our expedition for us as a team. We had difficulty in finding the footpaths and we had to adapt our route due to an injury. Adapting the route proved to be a fantastic decision because it gave us the opportunity to climb Cat Bells. Braitwaite Bridges campsite was true luxury and we were all able to enjoy a hot shower. Day three was my birthday so we celebrated this with cake and a camp fire! As Mr Workman so beautifully put it, “What better way to spend your birthday than in mud, rain and misery!”

The team rose at 5am on our final day. The entire team were motivated by the fact that we were going to be having a McDonalds on the way home and the thought that we didn't have to put our bedrooms up when we got home!

DofE promises a challenge and like every expedition, it certainly delivered a challenge for all of us. Weather, terrain and altitude were all huge challenges for us on this expedition, not to mention the constant worry of having wet sleeping bags. We had achieved something to be proud of, our DofE adventure was now over. With just a little bit more hard work to complete all the other sections, our DofE Gold awards will be finished and we'll get the honour of going to St James's Palace to collect them.

Once again, we would like to thank Mrs Green, Mr Workman and Miss Gibbs who dedicate huge amounts of their own time to give Vandyke students the opportunity to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme.  Expeditions like this take huge amounts of planning and organisation so we'd like to thank all three members of staff for their hard work and commitment to extra curricular activities at Vandyke.

Matt Nash