We began our journey with an early rise and an even earlier deadline to be in school by, but the entire bus was ready. All of us were prepared for rather horrific weather while climbing Mam Tor and immediately dressed ourselves in our waterproofs upon arrival at the beginning of our DofE training walk. My group of 7, the ‘orange group’, separated from the others to set off at 10am, making our way through masses of mud – amid the discovery of some of us not having waterproof walking boots – and miraculously making our way up the first hill of our walk without anyone falling back down! After reaching the top, we stopped for a break and were pleasantly surprised by the ridiculous rain coming to a halt – this luckily lasted for a total of two days. Upon climbing up some very steep uphills and undergoing many wishes of still being in bed, we reached the peak, and consequently our second checkpoint. Upon reaching checkpoint two all turmoil and regret was silenced – other than the regret of no one in the group bringing a camera – as the view from the top of the hill we were on was worth any aches we may have acquired on the uphill. The group all collectively sat down on an overhanging rock and enjoyed the sight – save Matty and Owen, the latter of which was trying to prevent Matty from climbing back down to collect the pot of gold from the end of the rainbow, which somehow was not a one-time occurrence!
For the rest of the day the moral of the group stayed high and didn’t particularly tend to waver, the occasional quarrel quickly died out and food stocks were high which was another factor in our happiness. Jokes were as frequent as the boys falling over and we saw the others, the ‘purple group’, at various points in the day but only stopped for minor chats as our groups were both going at good paces and neither wanted to lose that.
Our group arrived first at the campsite and the three individual tents, one for the three girls and two for the four boys, were set up quickly – when I say that three tents were set up quickly, I mean that the girls’ tent was set up fast, while the guys took their sweet time. By the time purples arrived the majority of the oranges were packing their rucksacks into their bivvy bags, in case it rained in the night so our bags would be dry, but all three groups managed to set up their trangia’s and have their meals; the meal for my groups first night was pasta bolognaise made by Matty, and his cooking was a delicacy when camping out and surviving on the odd Freddo and Fizzy Fish. In the night I personally didn’t get a huge amount of sleep, but the weather stayed pleasant so I’ll call it a win.
My internal alarm clock that wakes me up for school concluded that I was awakening at the ungodly hour of 4am ready for my second day, so lying in bed as silently as I could as to not wake up my tent-mates, I decided that the best and only real way that I could pass the time would be to listen in to the nature, in which I managed to hear a fox and an owl. The owl apparently excited Connor, a member of the purple group, enough to get out of bed at around 5:20, so I managed to get out of bed with the tent-mates I woke up, Marija and Rouah, and we spoke to the others who were awake until other people started getting up at around 6am. The groups all had varied breakfasts, from granola and powdered milk – what I had – to a rather peculiar breakfast of noodles, but we were all sustained plenty and after packing away our tents and our bags, both groups were ready to go.
Orange and purple separated immediately on this second day and so my group proceeded to follow down a main road for our first small section. On this road we ran into groups of scouts and got our first bit of comedy when they continuously asked us if they were going the wrong way, while their campsite was simply a 10-minute walk from ours and they were only following a main road – we were rather happy that Mr Cudworth had taught us some better navigation than that! When crossing over fields and field boundaries we ran into a group of cows that were covering the stile we needed to climb over, so I, not being particularly fearful of a farmland animal, began crossing through the cows and leading the remainder of my group through the herd, some of which are rather scared of said animals. Matty also happens to have a fear of chickens, unfortunately, when we got into a town, we had to walk through a group of chickens who had hopped their gate – again the chickens appeared more than once in our DofE experience.
Other than a rather large flood from the heavy rain the previous morning – which once again tested how waterproof some of our boots were – and Rouah and Tom accidentally touching an electrical fence, the rest of this second day also went without a hitch. This was also the day we saw the end to the second rainbow and had to once again convince Matty not to pursue a career as a treasure hunter. The final part of our route on this day was along Stanage Edge, which is beautiful enough on its own, however, Mr Cudworth wanted us to see Robin Hood’s Cave, a tourist attraction that wasn’t on either of the orange groups’ routes and so we were taken on a detour. The cave acted as a natural balcony and we could look out across where we had walked over the two days that had passed, we eat our dinner and then headed off to finish the remainder of our second day walk.
At the campsite, purple group had already beaten us there and we were quick – all of us this time – to set up our tents and trangia’s – we were all expecting heavy rain that night. After tea – my group all just brought pot noodles and quick pastas which definitely didn’t give the same sustenance as Matty’s meal the day before but they did their job – we all got everything ready for the third day; any meals for the morning before leaving, toiletries, waterproofs, anything that we thought that we’d need for that night and the following morning, and went to bed. The rain started a little later than expected but we were all comfortably in our tents so it didn’t affect us much, other than perhaps limiting sleep – I was so sleep deprived when I got home, honestly camping is not my strong point.
Waking up slightly later this morning, me and Rouah – we left Marija to sleep in – began getting ready for our last day of walking. Upon getting to our bivvy bags to pack our rucksacks, Rouah had noticed a hole in her bag, this hole went all the way through a side pocket in her rucksack and ripped up her last packet of crisps. We were both rightfully confused until we hear Connor complaining from his tent about how the rubbish bag, that was at the side of his tent, had holes in it. A rat had gotten into the campsite. Luckily for the rest of us, unfortunate for Rouah, the rat hadn’t targeted anything else in the night and we managed to finish our packing in peace, hoping that the rat hadn’t stuck around.
It was inevitable that our luck with the weather was not due to last and the majority of the third day was spent in either small showers or strong winds, occasionally both. The route however made up for it as the near entirety of our walk was spent walking along Stanage Edge. No matter how many times I looked out over the view, I never grew tired of it, it was stunning even in the rain and this ended up being another one of the many times I had regretted not taking my camera. Dinner was a lot less of a relaxing time on this day given the strong wind nearly blowing us off the cliff, so we decided to move on fast, most of us growing impossibly impatient to get back to the bus and drive back home. Luckily, our route was very short, lasting just over 5 hours and both groups were back at the bus fast, eager to take off our heavy bags and sit down for some much-needed relaxation.
On the bus journey home, all of us were surprisingly elated and loud. Not feeling the same excitement however due to my lack of sleep, I put in my earphones and watched at the rural countryside the 13 of us had spent the last three days in turned into the urban streets of Tottington. It’s not that hard to wish to be back out there. And you can imagine my surprise while unpacking my bag, when I find a rather colourful beetle and a large millipede, the critters are something I think that I could live without.
Although, I will never regret deciding to do Duke of Edinburgh, as it has proved to be an astounding experience, that has gained me friendships and skills that will never be forgotten. Thank you to all those who helped out or took part, especially our leader, Mr Cudworth. I will see you all again in our expedition in April.
Last weekend some of our students took part in their Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Award Training Expedition. We’ll have a full report of the weekend along with more photos here on our website later this week. The students were supported by some of our colleagues and ex-members of staff.
Programme organiser Mr J Cudworth said:
‘Fantastic Duke Of Edinburgh expedition over the last few days, the kids were amazing as always – we managed to dodge the weather! Thank you to Miss Chadderton & Mr Coogan for their help along with volunteers Abi Thompson and Martyn Wilson – DofE could not run without your kindness to give up your time to support these amazing young people!!’
Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th May 2019
Thirty four year 10 students enjoyed their bronze training expedition in the Yorkshire Dales, they were split into six groups, dropped off at Gargrave and navigated 20k carrying everything they needed for the weekend, camped overnight on Saturday evening at Threaplands Campsite and continued on their journey throughout Sunday.
Patience, teamwork, camp craft, navigation was something every student should be proud of and I congratulate all of you.
A special thank you to Mr M Wilson, Miss J Chadderton, Mr D Healey, Mrs A Thompson, Mrs S Hugo, without your help I simply could not offer this amazing opportunity to THS pupils.
Their final expedition is fast approaching on 6th & 7th June 2019
Mr J Cudworth – Duke of Edinburgh Co-ordinator
29th-31st March 2019 – Anglesey Coastal Path (North Wales)
Congratulations to seventeen of our year 11 students who completed their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award expedition on the north coast of Anglesey coastal path, each group walked a total distance of approximately 25 miles over 3 days, carrying everything they required for expedition.
Everybody managed to pass their expedition showing fantastic navigation, organisation, communication and group skills over the 3 days, on behalf of myself, our DofE assessor Jenny Mills, we were all extremely impressed with each and every one involved – Well done!
A special thank you to all staff involved, DofE could not run without your kindness to give up your time on a voluntary basis, Kate Harvey, Martyn Wilson, Mrs A Thompson – I cannot thank you enough!
Mr J Cudworth – Duke of Edinburgh Co-ordinator
Silver Award Final Expedition 2019, by Heather Taylor, Year 11
Due to traffic, we arrived in Anglesey, or Ynys Mon, an hour late, and so had to change the times for our checkpoints.
We set off along our route, crossing through a field with a very friendly goat. At the top, we found that the field boundary we were supposed to cross was not there, and the pathway had been destroyed. We rang Mr Cudworth as there was no way to continue on our original route, who told us to go up the road and head along a bridleway and meet up with our original route on the other side.
As we walked up the road, Paige remarked that it would all be plain sailing from that point on. On this bridleway, we passed by an abandoned house, which Raghad said looked like a serial killer could be hiding there, and some sorrel plants, which I got everyone to try; but around three quarters of the way along, we found the bridleway had been blocked by a skip, behind which lay a sea of brambles that even the most intrepid adventurer would have balked at. However, there was a gate into a field immediately right of this, so we went into the field to get around, supposing that there would be another stile or gate on the other side so we could continue parallel to the bridleway. When this proved not to be the case, we decided that we would try to go down and get through the school area nearby, as that would likely have roads and ways in and out of this field. To get there, we had to cross stream; both banks were very muddy, though the opposite side did not appear so, so when the first of us jumped across, they nearly fell in, their boot sinking deep into the mud.
After scrambling up the bank, we reached the school, but our way was barred by two thick walls of gorse and bramble bracketing another stream, but through which we could see the school. As there was no way out, we rang Mr Cudworth again, who, after we managed to get him to hear us over the wind, told us to go back to the beginning of the bridleway. As such, we had to cross the stream again from the steeper bank, which was much more difficult than it appeared. Paige slipped going down and we had to haul her out by her bag.
After a brief respite, we decided it would be easier to get down without our bags on, so I carried Paige’s bag across, then dumped both hers and mine at the top of the other bank, in the drier part of the field. Sadie came next, and soon everyone was on the other bank, putting their bags back on. We got lift to the Post Office Checkpoint then walked the rest of way, and reached the campsite first of the groups, despite the delay, and had managed to set up by the time that Pink got there. Harrison, of course, took the Michael about us having to get a lift, but he would regret doing so when his group had to do the same the next day. Once every group had got to the campsite and had tea, we went to beach, where some of the groups climbed on the rocks there, and others had a stroll along the beach.
When we all got back to the campsite, Abbey sang and played guitar, as had become tradition for DofE. Harrison and I also had a go on the guitar before Elizabeth, Rhiannon and Lily sang a song about everyone on DofE. After a little while longer of Abbey playing guitar and everyone chatting in a circle, we decided it was getting close to the shut-off time for noise on this particular campsite, so everyone went to bed.
We woke up to pheasants and seagulls making a racket outside the tent. I had slept in spurts due to the cold, which turned out to have been enough to freeze into polystyrene-like foam the bottle of oil-based fly repellent I had brought, but we all seemed relatively well-rested as we set off for our second day. Orange left first, followed closely by pink and blue group. The weather forecast had predicted that to be the coldest of the three days before we had set off for Anglesey, so we all bundled up for our walk. That day was the hottest for us of the three days, and at one of the checkpoints we had to apply sun-cream as we were all getting quite red.
Our day was relatively uneventful; we had no paths which we could not get through, though we had to climb over a couple of fences and gates along our public right of way, and no Alsatians chased us, unlike what happened to Pink group. We passed by a bee farm, which had been there since the …, and Raghad, after saying that she had never had a single blister in her life, ended up with five by the end of the day.
We were slightly behind our times for that day, but we decided that it would be better to get there late than break ourselves trying to make up time, a philosophy that we carried throughout the weekend. We got to the campsite second, and Orange group had already started to have tea by the time that we set our tents up. There was a small holiday house which we had been permitted to use the bathroom and kitchen of, which, compared to the previous campsite, which had no hot water and the only washing facility was a plastic bowl, seemed very fancy indeed, especially the toilet and shower, which were of hotel standard.
Ella and I made tea that day, and it felt like a large amount of time was spent just boiling pasta, though there was enough time to listen to Michael and the others play …. It became very dark quite quickly, and most of us noticed the sheer number and brightness of the stars overhead, though some people remained in the tents. Lily, Paige, Garlin, Tom and I sat on a bench with Paige’s and Garin’s sleeping bags over us, chatting, for a good while, whilst the others sat in their tents and chatted. I went to bed earlier than some of the others, and Paige, Garlin and Tom stayed sat out on the bench until midnight, when they went into their tents.
Inside our tent, Ella was the first to awaken on the third day, and tried to wake myself and Paige up, to the complaint of Paige, as it was only just past six. The others soon began to wake up, and, though Oliver agreed that it was half six, Bailey’s watch and the clock in the house both read half seven; thus, we woke up, and set about packing away. Pink and Blue group were the last to leave the campsite, and we set off on the final leg of our journey.
For us, this day was the longest: sixteen kilometres and a whopping 322 flights of stairs, according to the Fitbit that I had taken, a direct contrast to the general assumption that Anglesey is flat: it certainly is not on the coast.
We arrived at the carpark last out of the three groups, as Raghad was struggling, and Paige felt sick during the day, so we stopped a couple of times, but when we finally got there we were greeted by a large cheer before our gear was bundled up into the van, and we set off back to our normal lives.
Our Duke of Edinburgh expedition is something we will never forget and we would like to personally thank all the staff involved, especially Mr J Cudworth for organising our expedition.
23rd & 24th March 2019
Well done to 34 of our Year 10 Duke of Edinburgh participants who practiced their navigation on Saturday or Sunday. They covered a total distance of just under 8 miles and learned compass techniques and map-reading in preparation for their planned expeditions.
All our students did extremely well.
Mr J Cudworth – Duke of Edinburgh coordinator.
Special thank you to all voluntary staff who helped out over the weekend – Martyn Wilson, Mr Healey, Mrs Thompson – Miss Chadderton – Mrs Hugo – Miss Harvey.
Congratulations to eleven of our past pupils who have achieved their Silver Duke of Edinburgh award. Over the past twelve months they have undertaken voluntary work within the local community, development of a skill and improved their physical fitness, trained and worked together to navigate for both training and assessed final expeditions walking distances of over 45k!
The students involved trained in the Yorkshire Dales and completed their final expedition climbing the mountainous terrain of the Lake District.
Kaitlan, Kian, Joand Beker have decided to step up to the prestigious gold level and I’m exceptionally pleased and looking forward to guiding them along this challenging journey!
Again, I would personally like to thank Martyn Wilson and Kate Harvey who kindly give up their time and volunteer to run the Duke of Edinburgh award, I simply cannot thank you enough for everything you do, the time you give and your experience when out on the hill with remote supervision, navigation, generally looking after our students and encouraging them along their expeditions is priceless.
Many thanks and congratulations!
Mr Jon Cudworth – Dofe Coordinator.
Pictured L-R: Jo, Kian, Garfieh, Beker, Molly, Holly, Rachel, Kaitlan