85 5th year students trekked off in 14 groups across the South Downs, catching the train to Lewes, hiking for 3 days and then getting the train out from Arundel. For the most part this route is not navigationally challenging but the hike presented groups with plenty of hills and some long distances on breezy ridges, and hopefully gave some a taste of why people like to hike even when not earning an award for it! Weather was dry but chilly in the northerly wind especially if groups stopped in exposed places. Every group performed well, supporting each other and working increasingly independently as the hike progressed. Staff think this year group has been a special pleasure to work with, always polite and positive and spirited despite the challenges. Well done all.
85 Silver dofe students enjoyed a multi-activity day at Tilgate Park, Crawley for a team building challenge to hone up their skills of independence prior to the expedition next week. They enjoyed a day of canoeing, raft building, mountain biking and orienteering. Many thanks to Dynamic Adventures for running another successful day and to the supervising staff.
Over 100 students trekked off for their two day Bronze qualifying expedition 9-10 October in fine settled weather with misty damp autumn mornings. Most groups performed very well in expedition skills. Groups met the standards required in navigation and camp craft and, where they met difficulties they mostly fixed these independently. In particular, assessing staff were pleased with teams LEAVING NO TRACE at their camp. As is usual, navigation skills varied somewhat but we could see an effort to improve in groups lacking natural navigators. A willingness to improve and persevere with expedition skills is important for those going on to silver. Remember that DofE expeditions are not a race and that safe, considerate and purposeful travel across the countryside is the priority, not raw speed. Visiting every single check point is critical to safe travel, as is communication with your assessor if something goes wrong. Groups arrived at the end between 10am and 2pm, which is usual. It was heartening that many found the time to say thank you to their assessors and supervisors who had looked after them and camped out too. Well done all!