Six of our students are currently on expedition in the Peak District as part of the silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. They have to carry all their equipment, supplies and provisions and will navigate for several miles daily before camping overnight and repeating the process.
The group successfully undertook a practice camp at the White Peak in preparation. Mr Hooper was one of the staff members who accompanied them. He said: ‘We have done the theory work. Now they have put it into practice in preparation for their assessment expedition, which is totally unassisted. The students have to walk for a minimum of six hours a day. We are only allowed to supply them with water. On the practice expedition we walked with them and built up their independence over the three days.
‘The initial problem they had was getting themselves organised as a group. Then they started working together and were making decisions and discussing things. Morale was very good. They are carrying an awful lot of weight and are well laden with 65 litre packs. There was no whingeing or whining, even from those who were having a few difficulties with their feet and general fitness. They all pulled together and got on with it.
‘By day three they were absolutely brilliant. They need to make sure they are concentrating all the time, looking for signs and clues and relating the terrain to where they are. It is very easy to keep walking along a track and totally lose where you are, you need to follow the map very closely.’
Sixth Former Umut Akpunar said: ‘It is a great challenge to go outside and explore new terrain with your friends. You get to see the outdoors and I think the best part was setting up our camp because you get to relax and restore your energy levels.’