May 10, 2019

Duke of Edinburgh bronze expedition weekend

Before the Duke of Edinburgh bronze expedition at the weekend, all of the boys involved had spent a day in March using a compass and a map on a short loop near Belsay, working in small teams accompanied by a member of staff. This was a good precursor to the expedition weekend.

In cold weather, the boys and staff camped on Saturday night at Greencarts Campsite near Chesters. On Sunday, each team had to complete a different 13km route without a member of staff and weighed down with extra kit (such as tents and trangia cookers).

At the end of the weekend, the boys had learned many new skills including: how to relate the map to their surroundings, spot footpath signs, recognise hills and valleys from contours, use the compass points as they were walking and check the ‘four Ds’ before setting off on a new leg (direction, distance, duration and description).

One of the highlights was seeing Bravo, the last of the six teams, running towards the finish with one of the boys carrying two rucksacks. Their faces beamed from a job well done. Another highlight was witnessing the care and support that a member of team Echo received from his teammates on Sunday afternoon, when his asthma became debilitating.

Team Delta completed both days with ease and Foxtrot were the first to reach the finish on Sunday. Teams Alpha and Charlie learned the most important lesson of all: having got lost, they learned how to get ‘unlost’ and back on the right track.

One of the reasons why Duke of Edinburgh leaders do their job is seeing boys turning into young men by learning new things they thought they could not do. Well done to all the 26 boys who took part and many thanks to all of the leaders: Mr Drax, Mr Smith, Mr Thompson, Miss Vacher and Miss Vitty.