Silver Duke of Edinburgh Trial Expedition

Read on to find out how Yuvraj B. (5ths) and the rest of the Duke of Edinburgh team got on in their three day trial expedition through the Kent Downs.

Writes Yuvraj B. (5ths)

On Friday 29th March, we arrived at school for an early 7am start to set off on our trial Duke of Edinburgh Silver award expedition with Mr Shirley.

Day One

After arriving by minibus to the Kent Downs, we set off on our preliminary training with the help of John, a representative from an external company who were there to support and guide us on our hike. We began by going on a short walk, where we were tested our orienteering skills and crossed the roads in true DofE fashion - lining up and waiting for the people on the ends to approve that there were no cars coming, followed by the person in the middle announcing that it is safe to cross! 

By the time we reached the campsite and set up tents, we were tired and ravenous!  I had agreed to make a paneer dish, and as this was only my third time making this dish, I was delighted that it went down a treat with the group!  

By the time we got into our sleeping bags, we all fell asleep quickly. It had been a long day.

Day Two

It was another early morning start, but we were all raring to go (despite a slightly uncomfortable sleep!). Today was the first part of our planned practice expedition.

The views on our hike were incredible, and gave us a real connection to nature -  we were very fortunate with the dry spell! Being Easter weekend, it was very apt that we walked through a farm and came across some gambolling lambs.

For lunch, we stopped on top of a hill, which had beautiful views. We soon discovered that the key to progress was not to stop for too long, or it became much harder to get back into the walking. We promptly managed get lost, but with some good navigation skills, we found our way, and even stumbled upon some adders! 

It was a relief to reach the campsite for the evenin g after going through an endless number of fields throughout the day. By the time we arrived, we were exhausted and hungry. Our dinner of pesto pasta was incredibly well received. As we sat out in the evening breeze with full bellies, we were dazzled by an amazing array of stars.

Day Three

On the final day we rose nice and early to enjoy a quick breakfast of S'mores, which gave the right level of sugar rush to embark upon the final leg of the journey. The sweet promise of getting onto the coach was our inspiration and motivation for the day. By this point, we had ventured through numerous fields, and at this point, they were all starting to look the same to me. 

Towards the end, we were brutally challenged with an extremely steep hill. By the time we reached the top, we were exhausted. An executive decision was taken to pause for lunch and take in the views.

Now very close to the finish and with fuller bellies, we walked along the edge of a hill, looking out at a plethora of fields and farms. It was picture perfect.

Finally, we made it to the coach, relieved and happy. The three days were a challenge, but as a group, I think we worked well together to get through it. It was particularly great to get home to have a hot shower and a well-deserved home cooked meal!

I think it is fair to say that we are all looking forward to the real expedition now!

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