On Sunday 30 August twenty four LVI and UV girls along with staff travelled to the Lake District for our Gold Duke of Edinburgh (Dofe) practice expedition. We settled into the friendly youth hostel for a day in order to catch up with friends after summer and prepare before we set off. Not really knowing quite what we had signed up for we soon realised by the weight of our bags that this would not be like the Bronze Dofe. However, we were extremely lucky. With only one quick spurt of hail on the first evening when setting up camp and one rain shower on the second day we were able to appreciate the stunning views of the lakes.
Our hardest climb was on day two, with most groups climbing extra to reach the top of Great Dodd a mountain 860m high. Although tired and mostly hungry the sense of satisfaction and achievement was uplifting. Stuffed full of snacks and singing the endless repertoire of ABBA to keep our spirits high, my group (named The Five Peaks) carried on to the third camp. Dipping our toes in the river, an ice bath to soothe our feet, was just what we needed by the last night along with several portions of pasta! Still in happy spirits we knew now the trick to calm any dips in energy when scrambling up or down the steep craggy hill sides for which the Lakes are famous for, snacks.
Thanks to Mr Bishop, my group's teacher for the practice we managed to successfully navigate our way to camp every day, arriving in time to get a well-deserved rest. We walked in total around 70km over the four days, taking sheepies (selfies with sheep) and nicknaming ourselves after the surrounding geography, High Seat, Sheepfold and Mr Bishop's name which changed depending on our mood: Great Dodd, Dod or Dodd the Lesser. Arriving back at the youth hostel we able to have powerful showers and appreciate vegetables and nice food. The Gold Award is not for the faint hearted, but the amount of enjoyment and fun we had in the stunning Lakes was well worth carrying my weight in supplies on my back. The Lake District was hard training ground but now we are in good stead to pass our assessed expedition next year, so fingers crossed for the Yorkshire Dales!
D of E Officer