Student Report: Duke of Edinburgh Gold Expedition 2012
Date posted:Wednesday 15th August 2012
It was a Sunday afternoon, the sun was out and 14 years 12s were waiting by the school mini-bus. All of us had ideas of what the weather would be like in North Wales (all of them featured rain) but nevertheless it wouldn't be a D of E trip if there wasn't any rain. We eventually arrived at Plas Y Brenin, 9 hours after we set off, and surprisingly it wasn't raining however we were met by swarms of midges which took a great interest in us all.
Our first couple of days were spent doing some "easy navigation" through some not so flat terrain, and miraculously no one got a blister. Whilst we were at the centre we were thought about cooking with mentholated sprits as well as emergency aid. The centre which we spent our first few days was a great place the staff we all really helpful and friendly. Being the only male student on the trip i did get some perks like a room all to myself, however i was then expected to carry the heaviest bag so it all balances out.
Wednesday morning we were all put back into the mini-bus and driven to our starting point with fantastic views of the coast and the valleys around us. thankfully the first day was our longest day, it was a good 20km to our first campsite but we were camping in a wild campsite which was something very few of us had ever done before, but staying in a wild campsite made going to the toilet some what difficult, luckily the centre had provided us with trowels.
Waking up Thursday morning was a wonderful experience, there was the stream on our side the sun was out and it still hadn't rained. Our lunch stop was sat on the side of a valley with mountains behind us and a huge reservoir in front of us where we spent an hour just sitting. Our second campsite was an actual campsite with running water, toilets and showers!! Unfortunately our nice weather was to come to an abrupt end Friday morning was met with rain, it had rained most of the night and was to rain the rest of the day. Thankfully the last day was our shortest. The constant rain meant that spirits were low and they sank even lower when we realised that we had gone wrong and had actually been walking in the opposite direction. when we eventually finished we all felt a great sense of achievement for what we had done, in total we had walked close to 50km. On our return to the centre it was a made rush to re-pack bags and take a well needed shower as we were all smelling pretty badly.
We all enjoyed our week in North Wales and are all looking forward to our return there next year, its a fantastic thing to do and i know everyone who went would recomend it. D of E Gold is not just something to stick on a personal statement but something which helps you realise your own limits and overcome them.
Michael Smith, Year 12
For pictures of the expedition, visit our online gallery