Matthew Burns

GOLD D OF E PRACTICE EXPEDITIONS

ON FOOT

Between Friday 18th and Monday 21st March, 17 hardy souls braved the wilds of the North Lakes to complete their Gold D of E Practice expedition. The requirement of four days walking and three nights camping meant that many miles were travelled, peaks conquered and guy-lines taughtened in that time.

The groups began with a spectacular visit to a frozen Red Tarn, in the shadow of a heavily corniced Helvellyn, enjoying soul-soaring views across the high country in glorious sunshine.

They handled maps and routes with skill, navigating with consistent accuracy from Angle Tarn to Howtown, across High Street and eventually all the way down to Haweswater, remaining both cheerful and philosophical throughout, despite quite unforgiving cold and the all too familiar crushing weight of laden packs.

Their catering and camp craft skills varied from dire and disorganised to effortless gourmet, and a great deal was learned by many, which is, after all, what a practice expedition is all about. A delightful, resilient and thoroughly capable cohort, They were a pleasure to be outside with; I am looking forward to their Assessment across the local three peaks in June.  

ON HORSEBACK

For the first time in our distinguished Gold D of E history, an intrepid group of girls have undertaken their practice expedition across the Howgills Fells on horseback.

Under the professional, watchful eye of Alison and her instructors at ‘Stonetrail’, five already accomplished riders learnt a whole new set of skills, navigating across trackless fells in a cohesive group with the weighty responsibility of the well-being and safety of their horses added to the task of taking care of themselves.

Conditions were thankfully dry, but the bitter biting winds presented a significant challenge both riding and camping.

The group were, however, clearly delighted to be reaping the benefits of their determination to make this happen, and relished the experience despite the physical hardship.

A journey of four days and three nights across the fells awaits them in the summer as they undertake their assessment in June.

Sedbergh School are proud to be offering Gold Expeditions on foot, on horseback and by sail this year, a truly unique and diverse variety of options. Who knows what additional modes of transport 2017 might bring?

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