On the first weekend of half term, when many staff and students were enjoying the start of the holiday, thirty students and three staff were gearing up for a weekend of hiking around the Island as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.
Keeping to the current guidance, we had three Year 9 teams (The Syndicate, Exploring People and OAM); a Year 10 team (Wild Cats); and Year 11 team (Silver Wannabes). The intention of the expedition part of the DofE award is to give participants a chance to learn and use such skills as map reading, route planning, preparing and cooking a meal, first aid (to learn but hopefully not needed), time management and the country code. This is all done whilst learning to work well as a team, improving personal fitness and developing stamina.
Students started and ended each day at Carisbrooke College. Day one saw the explorers walk alongside the River Medina, down to Medham Farm, across to Parkhurst Forest for some well-deserved shade, and then completing back at the College. Whilst in the relative coolness of Parkhurst Forest, students took the opportunity to cook their hot meals with varying success! Lessons were learnt about the importance of a little oil for keeping food from sticking to the pot! Good luck in cleaning the Trangias! After their meals, many students then found the energy to play “man-hunt” whilst others played with a tennis ball that they had carried with them.
Day two started at the College, took in Carisbrooke Castle then along the shepherds trail to Little Gatcombe, crossing to Bowcombe and back to College via the Tennyson Trail. Students were relieved that day two was shorter than the first day. One team on day one “accidentally” walked an extra 7kms! Even with some ‘interesting’ navigation, all reached the end, and all students successfully passed their Bronze Award.
At the end of day two, students gave feedback about something that they enjoyed and something that they learnt. The most popular elements of the weekend that students enjoyed were the cooking, the views, being in nature and playing games with others. In addition to the skills learnt, students also reported that they had learnt a fun-fact about a team-mate; got to know others from their year group better and learnt to never give up and trust in themselves more.
Congratulations to all students involved and a huge thank you to Mr Norman and Mr Burnett!
– Ms Ryan