D of E: Students strike gold on challenging adventure

HENRIETTA JARVIS reflects on the huge rewards enjoyed by students on an adventurous four-day Duke of Edinburgh expedition, and urges those considering signing up for the DofE scheme to have a go

AT the beginning of the summer holidays a group of sixth form students travelled to Keswick for a challenging four-day expedition. We spent the first night in a youth hostel, where we were treated to our last night in a bed for the week.

The hostel was next to Derwentwater and we spent the evening by the lake on the beach. The first day of our expedition started with our last proper meal, a full English breakfast.

We then set off on our 76km expedition. We climbed to a viewpoint in Keswick where the views were fantastic, and we could see as far as Ireland! We also saw the famous Ashness Bridge where we were able to sit and have lunch in the sunshine.

Throughout the expedition we climbed several fells, hills and over a variety of terrains, however, perhaps the biggest challenge we faced was climbing to the top of Green Gable.

We attempted the 899m high mountain on the third day of our expedition, and throughout the challenging climb upwards, the thing everybody was looking forward to was lunch at the top, expecting a fantastic view, having had an amazing view the day before.

This, however, was not the case. The weather took a turn for the worse and at the top it was raining, cold and foggy, we had a pop-up shelter to keep is all warm in our shorts and t-shirts and the fog was so thick we had to walk in a line so that we didn’t lose anyone.

Another challenging experience was walking the Honister Pass over a slate mine. With our heavy rucksacks on, it made us even more unstable, and we all had to work as a team to ensure we made it across safely.

The reward at the end of this was to walk around the picturesque Buttermere, where there were even highland cows relaxing on the pebble beach.

Overall, it was a fantastic experience, we had lots of adventures and the reward after working as team to scale some of Britain’s tallest and most famous mountains was immense. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would highly recommend it to younger students who are considering participating in the gold level of the Duke of Edinburgh award.