Silver and Gold DofE Expedition
The last weekend of the summer term 16 students undertook their three day Silver DofE walking expedition or four day Gold DofE practice expedition on Dartmoor. The weekend turned out to be one of the hottest weekends of the summer with temperatures in the mid to high twenties. Having run DofE expeditions in Northern Spain the staff were experienced in these conditions and ‘Spanish rules’ were quickly adopted. This involved students taking a two hour siesta around midday to avoid walking when the day was hottest. This also meant that students had to amend their first day’s route card timings during their siesta on day one. Thanks to the skills and adaptability of the teams this was not a problem and didn’t take long, still leaving them with plenty of their siesta time to rest. When the teams arrived in camp that evening they quickly set about setting up tents and amending their timings for the rest of the expedition before refreshing their hot and tired feet in the stream.
On day two the teams decided that they would start an hour earlier than planned so that they could have their siesta earlier. The siesta time was used differently by the teams with extra project work happening, sleeping or even firing up the stove for a cup of tea. However it was used, the teams all agreed that it was a good approach to expeditioning. The riverside campsite for night two was a particular highlight for the tired, hot and sweaty teams that enjoyed a refreshing dip.
The four students doing their Gold practice expedition had to endure a fourth day in the sun, with a wild camp for their final night. They had planned to camp alongside a leat for their water supply, but unfortunately the hot weather meant that this was almost dry. Once again, Dartmoor expeditions were looking a lot like Spanish expeditions as the leaders carried a large water container into camp for the team. The final day the Gold team decided that they had had enough of walking in the hot sun, deciding to get up early and be walking by 5am. This meant that they could get their eight hours in and have their expedition finished by lunchtime.
This was a very challenging expedition for all of the teams, with the heat making walking with heavy rucksacks even harder. Despite the challenges all of the students remained in high spirits and proved their resilience and adaptability. Well done.