Duke of Edinburgh

For seventeen students and four volunteers it was an early start on Thursday morning, meeting at College for our Gold Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition. At Rainford Sixth Form, the Gold expedition focuses on canoeing, and prior to this practice expedition, preparation had taken place at Taylor Park and then the Leeds to Liverpool canal at Lathom.

The first day consisted of a long journey to Hereford where we arrived at the campsite to find that the water levels were too high for us to canoe. Instead, we eagerly set up camp before participating in a wide range of team building exercises and having our navigational skills assessed. The anticipation to start the expedition the next day was palpable.

On the Friday morning we were all pleased to wake up to find that the river level had dropped overnight, making it safe for us to paddle. We had a fantastic day, paddling approximately 30km in six hours. Although we were exhausted by the end of the day, we found a reward for our hard work in the beautiful scenery that surrounded us and the sense of achievement in what we had accomplished.

Saturday was the final day of our expedition; we woke up early for the day ahead, packed away all our belongings and cooked our final breakfast on the trangias. Team spirit motivated us to put our best into the final stretch and reach the finishing point.

This expedition was challenging due to the extreme British weather conditions, but it didn’t dampen our spirits and it was completely worthwhile. We all had such a fantastic time, and we were able to develop our teamwork skills, survival skills and experience new surroundings along the way.

A huge thanks to Pete for organising the Gold award, as well as Doug, Chris and Mike for volunteering with this expedition.  Thank you to the students for their team spirit and to Jonathan Halewood who initially introduced us to this enjoyable and life changing experience in lower school.

For me, taking part in Gold Duke of Edinburgh is a life changing experience where great memories and friends can be made.  It is an experience I will never forget and I am really looking forward to next year, when we complete the final expedition in Scandinavia!

By Hannah Rogers (Y12 student)