Duke of Edinburgh Gold Expedition to Dartmoor

We got away in good time on Sunday. Our assessors met us at the bunkhouse accommodation in Princetown and immediately put the pupils and staff at their ease.  The assessors could see that our pupils were well-trained and able. They did ask them some demanding questions whilst they were out on the hills though to see just how good they were.

After an early breakfast on Monday the groups set off on their four-day unsupported expedition into what was appalling weather - driving rain and high winds. Both Monday and Tuesday were very challenging for them and they had to navigate in thick fog for a lot of the time as well as staying dry.  This is about as challenging as DofE can get and they rose to the challenge.  One group did manage to get rather lost in the cloud but they did what they had been taught and worked their way off the high moor and asked a local farmer if they could camp in his field - he was very kind to them and allowed them to do so.  Thankfully the last two days saw much better weather and the groups moved well across difficult and wet terrain to reach the finish.  Some of the time they had to change their routes to avoid streams and rivers that were in flood - I was very pleased they acted safely and used the training we had given them effectively.

They finished in very good order on Thursday night and were all grateful for a hot shower, a meal, and roof over their heads once again.  The assessors were very pleased with all that they achieved and have passed all of them.

The pupils were the biggest group we have ever had, they were a pleasure to work with, and they really enjoyed their venture - whether they wish to ever return to Dartmoor is another matter…

All in all I am very proud of what they have achieved.

Anthony Francis-Jones