Perse students go for Duke of Edinburgh Gold with Wales expedition

Freya Stafford (Upper Sixth) gives her account of taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award qualifying expedition in the Brecon Beacons.

We arrived at the Outdoor Pursuits Centre for a last-minute kit check and allocation of the group kit that was necessary for the coming expedition. The bus journey up to the Brecon Beacons (the venue for our trip) was perfect to catch up with everyone about their summer holidays so far.

On arrival, we gathered in our groups to discuss the first route of the practice expedition with our group leader. The group leader stayed with us, fortunately, for the first leg of the route to ensure we didn’t immediately get lost as some of our map reading skills were a little rusty! After completing the route, we arrived at our first campsite and quickly put up our tents as it was about to rain.

The next day we woke up early, cooked a quick breakfast and packed up our tents in order to begin the second day of our practice expedition on time. This route was longer and steeper than our first day and therefore more challenging. By the time we had arrived at the second campsite, we were grateful that the next day was a rest day as some of us had acquired a few injuries.

The rest day, itself, consisted of planning routes and food shopping for the qualifying expedition. After deciding between our groups what food we wanted to eat, but more importantly wanted to carry, two members of each group went to the local supermarket to shop, whilst the rest of the group could shower and explore the campsite. Afterwards we planned our routes for the qualifying expedition. These were heavily influenced by what we had enjoyed, but also what we had found challenging on our practice expedition.

The following day saw the start of our qualifying expedition. Throughout the expedition we would walk around 17km a day. Choosing to stop for lunch, and to take photos for our investigations, these projects varied from ‘Welsh architecture’ to ‘landforms and land use.’

Each night we would stay at a different campsite and a highlight for many was the last night where we wild-camped. As we got to the end of the expedition, putting up the tents became easier and our bags felt lighter. However, the consensus was relief when we saw the minibuses on the final day as many of us had missed sleeping in a bed.


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