Duke of Edinburgh Gold assessed expedition Dartmoor 2023 | Highcliffe School

Duke of Edinburgh Gold assessed expedition Dartmoor 2023

After arriving at school and looking a little daunted, the students loaded the minibus with bulging rucksacks, tents, stoves and more snacks than they may have ever owned before! The journey to Dartmoor was slightly detoured due to road closures meaning a later start to the orientation walk. 3 hours to Dartmoor, navigating most of it via compasses and contour lines from the map led  the students over grassy knolls, dry lakes and along picturesque rivers with pretty waterfalls and plenty of wildlife. Having shortened the route slightly they successfully returned ready for dinner courtesy of a local eaterie and a hot shower, the last for a few days! 

The next morning started with a good breakfast, a tradition on DofE Gold for staff to cook the students their “last supper” in the form of bacon & eggs. It was then off onto Dartmoor, a long first day, seeing the staff at some points before they were met to make sure they found the wild campsite in the middle of the moor. Dinner being cooked as the sunset began in the bottom of a beautiful little river valley, fresh water aplenty and despite tired feet, spirits were high. Staff were camping just up the hill from the site, checking in first thing to make sure everyone had slept well and then left the team to navigate to various checkpoints and water supplies over the course of the day. The students had a great day, after modifying their route the night before to include some stunning woodland and waterfall scenery! Arriving earlier, dinner was a relaxed affair, cooked while lazing on the field awaiting the next instalment of camp food and supplementary snacks as pudding. A game of uno and a tidy up before rain started to fall and the team left for their sleeping bags. 

 After some heavy rain overnight, the students arose to a cloudy but dry start. Breakfast and clearing up lead to a clean getaway and with lightening loads the pace was high. Touching base with staff at various points on hilltops to check on fluid levels and general wellbeing of feet and shoulders, the students made their way over some very featureless stretches until finding their way to the final checkpoint where they could see the campsite just down the hill. 

Setting up camp quickly meant there was time to sit on the riverbank and dangle feet in the stream to cool off before their last dinner of the trip. Whilst the boil in the bag food is energy dense, it doesn’t quite hit the spot in the same way the KFC would in the service station on the way home. 

One final game of uno, one final sleeping bag sleep, one final early start and then just the walk via Belever Tor and Powder Mills to the minibus. With heads drooping on the way home the team had done brilliantly but physically they were glad it was over! Napping and eating was the order of the day before hugs and home for that first luxurious comfort that only home can bring. 

 A great week all-in-all. I feel very privileged to have been able to see the team succeed and need to give a huge thankyou to everyone in school that helped it happen. Mr Stevens and Mrs Faulkner-Smith for creating such a DofE culture in school, all the admin staff and teaching staff for covering us but most of all Mrs Tubbs who assessed the team and Mrs Warner who assisted with everything on the trip, for giving up 5 days of home comforts! 

    Owned by: ZHY | Last Published: 21/06/2023 12:29:08 | Next Update: N/A

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