Two intrepid groups of VI Form students set off for Wales early Monday morning. For one group their aim was to revise and practice navigation skills in a wild country environment and then complete a 3 day final silver expedition. The other group embarked on their Gold practice expedition; a prerequisite for next year’s final test.
The weather was particularly kind to us during the day. We didn’t suffer too badly from intense heat, just the strong gusty winds on the exposed ridges could catch you out and awareness of intense UV levels was always a consideration. All groups were up early, some before the sun had risen, so that we avoided the heat of the day. Although during the night it was exceptionally cold in the valley and there was an assortment of thermals, wooly hats and rain jackets that were doubled up as pyjamas.
Day one exercise was to reach a high ridge accessed through a steep and windy waterfall gully. Then each team had to navigate to find a WW2 memorial site. The remains of a wellington bomber flown by a young Canadian crew are still scattered across the mountain here. The aircraft came down in July 1945, just before the end of the war. It was truly a poignant scene for us all at the memorial. The realisation that the aircrew who sadly perished were really not much older than our students. We paid our respects and moved on down the ridge.
The week continued with early morning starts up onto the hills and resulted in breathtaking views of the Brecon Beacons. On day four, everyone reached the summit of Pen Y Fan via the back door route and some even bagged other notable peaks on the way round.
The students’ culinary skills improved as the week progressed, as did their navigation and fitness. Congratulations to everyone on the team and thanks to the staff; Mr Saunders and Miss Windsor for their brilliant support.