This is a story of 50 girls that started doing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award in Year 10, they found it hard but learnt from their experiences and decided to go for Silver. There were 22 of them going for Silver and they lost a few over the ensuing year it was harder but they learnt a lot more, new friendships were formed and many said never ever again. In 2012 there were 8 determined well trained fit girls who had planned and prepared for their Gold expedition in the Lake District.
We set off to the Lakes on the 1st of April. The sun was shining and the mood was bright, however there were clouds looming on the horizon (literally); the met office had forecast a change in the weather and the weeks of fabulous weather were about to dive into a low weather front and climatic changes were afoot!
After a night in the Keswick YHA the 2 teams of 4 were ready for their great adventure. Day 1 started cloudy with an increase in wind speed and some rain but all well within their capabilities. They camped on the shore of Buttermere lake and all was good, however the weather trough had dropped and there were heavy clouds, looming temperatures of zero degrees and winds reaching 105mph on the tops of the Mountains.
The weather meant the groups had to choose their foul weather route (and it was foul weather) so they stayed off the high points and walked up to 400 meters (the height of the sugar loaf) not the 1000 meters planned so the winds would only be 65miles per hour and in their faces for the day.
After the toughest day of their Duke of Edinburgh’s award they arrived safe although slightly wind battered at the campsite in Wasdale; one participant was heard to say “I thought I was going to die out there” but they took heart from the warm glow of pride from me at their achievement so far and got on with the tasks at hand! The wind kept up its fury and tents almost went flying across the campsite with a participant attached but these girls are tough and they made camp and got on with the cooking, eating and drying but alas very little sleeping as the wind rose and with it came the snow.
The next morning spirits had been slightly restored as the wind had dropped and the sun was breaking through although when they looked at their route there was a covering of snow on the mountain tops; undeterred they got on with it - this would be their highest climb to date and they would walk over some of the highest mountains in the lakes in order to get to their next campsite. So with the thought that tonight would be their last camp they set off up into the snow band.
The day turned out to be a difficult day for some, one team got through without too many issues although some found it tough whilst the second group made a small navigational error and walked down hill for 3k towards the wrong valley, this meant when they discovered the mistake they had to walk 3k back up the valley!
The last day saw the 2 teams wake in the Edale valley to a glorious sunny day. Both teams set off and made good time down the banks of lake Windemere to the ferry terminal and the completion of their Gold expedition. Both teams arrived on schedule, happy and hopeful and, after a debrief by their assessor, elated by their incredible achievement.
Both teams showed that good planning and the correct training, coupled with determination and the right attitude, means they will achieve their desired outcome.
Well done to; Team - Sophie, Jo, Emily and Ellie
Team - Ellie, Sarah, Lizzie and Laura