May 24, 2021

Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme training

23 boys in Year 10 and four staff enjoyed an action-packed training day a few miles north of Ponteland last Sunday. They learned how to use a map, how to read a route card, how to relate the route card to the ground and how to find their location after getting lost.

For many it was the first time and they soon realised that a lot of things change – new buildings, bigger fields with new boundary fences, missing woods, new woods.

Normally, new bronze participants build their map reading and campcraft skills on a two-day practice expedition but COVID-19 has removed that option. They have just five more weeks of class training in order to prepare for their final qualifying expedition along Hadrian’s Wall, where each participant will carry a full backpack 30km in remote hill country over two days under the watchful eye of two external assessors.

A lot more was packed into the day: they brewed a cup of tea using the Trangia gas cooker during lunch and then put up a three-man tent. Finally, they had to navigate around a short route in smaller groups without teachers and were given radios in case they got lost, which they loved. Those who did get lost soon worked out where they were. If any group is going to learn fast enough to succeed in the final expedition, all four DofE leaders agreed that these boys will.

Thanks to Silver Fox, Bear, Croft and Tarantino AKA Mr Drax, Mr Jackson, Miss Vitty and Mr Smith.