News From… Gold D of E Practice Expedition

Catherine Nicholas – Year 13 Gold D of E Participant

GSAL students tested by challenging weather during Gold D of E practice

At the start of half term the Year 12 Gold D of E participants embarked on our practice expedition in the Yorkshire Dales. On Day 1 we started with a refresher on map reading and timing which encouraged our group to work as a team. After travelling through some very boggy areas without becoming lost, we summited Pen-y-Ghent. We were learning to listen to each other and to make decisions collaboratively.

A sunny start to the expedition. (C) Mr C Dodd

However, the real challenge came on Day 2, with worsening weather. We walked several kilometres to the base of Park Fell, a steep hill leading to the ascent of Ingleborough. At this stage we were walking into the clouds and the visibility was poor. Navigation becomes more difficult when you can’t easily identify the features around you. We developed our problem solving skills while determining how to reach the summit. This was done using a combination of map reading and compass bearings. As a group we needed to stay calm and make sure we were keeping to the right path.

Navigation becomes more difficult when you can’t easily identify the features around you.

Catherine Nicholas
Descending from Ingleborough in the mist. (C) Mr C Dodd

Day 3 was slightly easier with no major climbs. Although quite tired we pulled together as a team to complete our expedition. Overall, I really enjoyed my D of E practice expedition and everyone managed to practise key transferrable skills in communication, teamwork and problem solving. Catherine Nicholas (Year 13)

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The Duke of Edinburgh’s award is the world’s leading youth achievement award, giving millions of 14 to 24-year-olds the opportunity to be the very best they can be. It is open to all students and is rightly seen as adding strength to a university application because it demonstrates desirable skills including commitment, teamwork and leadership. The expedition section presents participants with a number of cognitive challenges, including map reading and other problem solving. Mountain navigation tests the ability to analyse visual information and make decisions based on visual reasoning. Speak to Mr Scott in Outdoor Learning, or visit the D of E website for more. CPD

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