On the day after term finished 10 students from Year 12 gathered at Euston Station to set off northwards on their Gold Qualifying Expedition to the Lake District. They had done their training expedition earlier in the year and now was the time to put all the things that had learnt in the Peak District to the test in the higher mountains of the Lake District.
The students and Mr England were met at Windermere station by Mr Symes and Mr Moore-Hurley who had driven the minibuses up early in the morning with the tents, stoves and all the other equipment that would be needed for the following days. We then relocated to Derwentwater where tents were pitched and the students started to refresh their knowledge for the coming days. The next day was a full recap on navigation skills undertaken on Latrigg just north of Keswick where the boys practiced pinpoint navigation, pacing and timing that would stand them in good stead over the following four days of expedition. A recap of emergency procedures and the groups were ready for what was to come.
The expedition proper started the next day with the warmest day so far but spirits were high as the two groups set off from Rosthwaite with Buttermere that day’s destination. The first checkpoint enroute was Castle Crag where the groups found Mr England already waiting for them and monitoring them from the air with his drone. Heading back alongside Derwentwater and up and over Hause Gate between Cat Bells and Maiden Moore the groups were regularly checked and re-supplied with water as needed in the hot conditions. A few steep ascents made for a challenging first day but everyone arrived safely into the first campsite.
The following day took the groups back east across Derwentwater to a campsite at Rakefoot Farm where we had to evict a pony from the field before pitching tents for the night. The trip continued the next day with lighter packs as food supplies were gradually being eaten over to Glenridding. This took the groups over Sticks Pass between Stybarrow Dodd and Raise on the Helvellyn Ridge. The views from the campsite made the long walk worth it. As the students progressed with their expedition they were also gathering photos and knowledge for their expedition ‘aim’ on which they will give presentation in September.
The final day took the students down to Brother’s Water and up Caudale Moor before dropping down to finish at the Kirkstone Pass. There the staff were ready to help oversee the drying of tents, cleaning of the stoves and return of all the kit. The students all did really well and managed challenging terrain, hot weather and the demands of five nights under canvas. The train home gave a chance for sharing of photos and some catching up of sleep before arriving back in London.
All the students can be very proud of their achievement in the expedition phase of their Gold Award and now will be working on the other sections, Skills, Volunteering, Physical and Residential. We hope to see many of them complete the full award in the coming year.