L6 and U6 Students Complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Expedition
Monday 24th September 2018
Whilst the whole school broke up for a much deserved summer break our L6 and U6 DofE Gold participants headed north to complete either their practice or qualifying expeditions in the magnificent surroundings of the Lake District.
Qualifying Group U6
After leaving the coach at Braithwaite Bridge campsite, the girls’ qualifying group met with the Sam Sykes staff. After erecting their tents, the teams left for an acclimatisation walk and later a hard earned local ice-cream in Keswick.
Their qualifying expedition started the following morning with the girls leaving the campsite early, in an attempt to beat the late afternoon heat by getting into their campsite in good time. During the day they traveled around Derwent Water, with views of Skiddaw, and, via the Borrowdale Valley, they reached camp at Chapel Farm Campsite.
Another early start the next day and it was up and over Stake Pass (which was a good test of fitness), before descending down through Langdale to the very beautiful Tarn Foot Campsite.
Day three took the girls over Loughrigg, along Scandale and then over the pass to reach a wild camp near Freeze Beck on Boredale Hause. The final trek up to the wild camp was challenging, with great teamwork displayed to get everyone up there. The views were simply amazing!
Day four saw the girls complete their expedition, arriving at Pooley Bridge for their debrief and presentation with their assessors. All three teams very successfully met the 20 conditions of the expedition section, and the Sam Sykes staff were immensely impressed with how well they had coped with the hot weather conditions, remaining cheerful and determined throughout. Mrs Eagle, who shadowed and supported the qualifying group throughout their five days in Cumbria could not have been more proud of the girls.
Practice Expedition L6
The L6 practice groups waved goodbye to the U6 girls at Braithwaite Campsite and headed on a coach to Coniston Water with Mr Blunt and Miss Ginders. Coniston Water is a magnificent, 9km in length lake and was home to many water speed world record successes, and of course the iconic and tragic Blue Bird hydroplane crash. The girls’ home for the next two days was to be on the edge of Lake Coniston. The groups were refreshed about route cards, planning routes, camp craft and of course navigational skills using the local area which was dominated by The Old Man of Coniston.
On day 3 the groups walked north and successfully navigated their way to the Langdales and Bays Brown Farm campsite. Conditions were hot and many of the girls were exhausted from their efforts, but teamwork kicked in quickly. Tents went up and everybody appeared happy again when cooking began, and the groups were able to relax in the magnificent surroundings of The Great Langdale. It was definitely a well-earned rest.
Day four saw the girls head towards Easedale Tarn, gaining the high ground from Chapel Stile, or heading west towards and walking by Stickle Tarn. It was a glorious day and the girls’ wild camp destination, Easedale Tarn, looked magnificent as they arrived one by one in their separate groups. It was a wonderful evening camping high in the Cumbrian mountains and a whole new experience for the girls.
A really early start welcomed the girls the next morning and it was to everybody’s relief that the final 15km was downhill or relatively flat. Grasmere was comfortably reached, in good time, and then onto Ambleside and a strong finish on the banks of Lake Windermere.
Once everyone was back on the coach, after two separate pick-ups, it was quickly onto the motorway heading home southbound. The now ritual McDonalds service station stop was enjoyed by virtually all the girls. On arrival at Queen Anne’s School the traditional round of applause and cheering provided by the seated L6 girls was given to the departing U6 girls as they left the coach in what is their very last act as Queen Anne’s girls. It was an emotional and lovely moment – Mr Blunt had a tear in his eye!
Take a look at some of the great photos from the expedition below!