The Great Outdoors

A Gold Practice DofE Expedition!

During the Easter holidays, a group of six Year 12 girls successfully completed their Gold Practice DofE Expedition in Snowdonia, North Wales.

Gold expeditions are particularly tough, as students have to carry everything for a 4-day walk of approximately 50 miles (80km) camping for 3 nights; their food alone took up a lot of space in their rucksacks.

The weather was fairly kind, on the whole, given the location and time of year, although it was often very cold, especially at night. However, they did experience glorious blue skies for most of Day 1 and enjoyed a rest at Aber Falls. By late afternoon they had arrived at their first wild camp, by the side of a tarn, in the mountains.

Wales 17 setting off Wales 17 Aber falls

Day 1 wild camp b Day 1 wild camp a

Days 2 and 3 brought rather damp weather, often with poor visibility, but they soldiered on, some with aching legs and feet, stopping to treat blisters before they became a problem. As Gold expeditions have to take place in Wild Country areas, they were often alone, with just the mountains and views for company.

View 1

View 2 View 3

The girls had the luxury of a basic campsite for Day 2, with taps and toilets, but they admitted to preferring Day 3’s wild camp, next to a dammed reservoir, which feeds an hydroelectric power station at the bottom of the mountain. The weather had warmed up by this stage and after their evening meal, they went for a walk along the valley, just for fun.

Day 3 wild camp

By 9am on Day 4, after an early start, they had completed a third of that day’s route, including a climb over from one valley into another; the end was in sight. By 3pm that afternoon they arrived back at base, exhausted but exhilarated by their achievements.

the end

They all did exceptionally well, taking each challenge in their stride; they should be very proud of themselves – well done everyone! They are all now looking forward to their final expedition during the Summer holidays, hopefully in warmer weather.