[You can view more images and reports from this and other d’Overbroeck’s DofE expeditions here.]
The practice Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition was hard but enjoyable as well. Day 1 is always a shock to the system, but we all enjoyed the later part of the day after climbing a hill in the morning.
Day 2 was the hardest out of all the days, my group struggled with positivity as the day went on and, physically, we were all exhausted, so that it seemed impossible to carry on the expedition at all. However, once in camp with tents up and food in us, the day got a little easier, a good night’s sleep followed a less good one on the first night.
Day 3 was the most fun and enjoyable out of all the days – the sun shone, and it was warm but not too hot. Group morale was up and physically we all felt much better and fitter than in the first two days. One steep hill with an easier path to follow, lunch facing beautiful views all around us and a steady descent down the hill. More fields of sheep and a lovely walk through some woods on the next hill finished the day off. At the campsite we all chatted and laughed late into the afternoon, the momentum was at its highest as it was the final night after a lovely day and going home the next afternoon.
The final day (Day 4) was also enjoyable though tough at one stage. The sun remained out and beautiful scenery still helped with keeping positive. We walked with our assessor after the main part of the morning was done, through some pretty woods and fields before taking our time in climbing the steepest hill of all on the expedition. Not everyone found it enjoyable or manageable to walk up the hill though each step brought us closer to the end of the expedition and that was the only major obstacle we had to get over to finish in good spirits. Once at the top of the hill we came across another group (we often did throughout the 4 days) but we couldn’t walk with each other, so we stuck with our own groups and speed of walking and had a snack to boost energy. The view was staggering but soon covered by a cool band of cloud. The descent was steep but manageable and the final leg of the hill was among more lovely woods. Upon arriving at the final destination (a car park) we were told the expedition had ended early. The joy and relief and smiles broke out, not exhausted or physically finished but mentally happy and surprised at what we had achieved. We ate our final lunch as the last group joined us and heard the news, then said goodbyes to the assessors and finally we were on the coach going home.
Some parts of the expedition were type 2 fun: hard at the time but when you look back you smile and are pleased at what you did. I’m so glad I did it; it gave me confidence and changed me for the better. You must be strong and committed but with a good team of friends and the right kit you can get through it and be happy throughout. A nap on the coach home was very welcomed!
Isabel – Year 12