Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions

Headington pupils tested out their leadership, adventure and navigation skills as they took part in their Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions. Read a report below from Addy, L5, on her bronze expedition.

The D of E expedition was certainly an experience. To the naked eye, it may seem that it’s just walking and camping, but there is much more to it than that. You can learn some life lessons along the way.

When walking eight hours a day with the same six people, you’re bound to become fed up with them at some point. But you need to get past this and work together to make it to the end. This can prepare you for later in life where there will be people that you don’t get along with but you need to work with it.

For the Bronze D of E we started off in the carpark of Chedworth Roman Villas and, over the two days, made our way over to the centre of Bourton-on-Water. We set up our tents for the night at a rock-climbing centre right in between these two points, which meant we walked about 25 km throughout the two days not to mention with heavy backpacks on our backs.

Some people may ask, “why D of E?” and “what’s the point of walking that much?”, but D of E isn’t about the walking or the sleeping in a tent, but the experiences you gain from it and the life lessons you learn along the way.

Read a report from Emmy, U5, on her silver expedition:

Last weekend the U5 took part in their silver Duke of Edinburgh expedition. It took place in the New Forest and was two nights of camping and three days of walking.

We walked through the forest, along roads and down country lanes and by the end of it, it was safe to say everyone was shattered after having such an amazing weekend.

It started off by meeting at school at the early hour of 7.00 am. We departed Headington and headed south towards the New Forest. There was a small hiccup of the driver having to take a new route because of a blocked road that put us three hours behind schedule but everyone’s spirits were still high by the time we got there.

Coach 1 managed to get there on time and had started their walk by 10.00 am so coach 2 scrambled to have a quick lunch and then start walking.

We started walking with high spirits, entering the forest after about five minutes. We walked through the scenic forest, finally making our way to checkpoint 1 after a few navigational issues.

By the end of day 1 we realised we were very behind schedule and somehow heading to the local village pub to refill on water so we had to get driven over to camp, all determined that day 2 was going to be better!

Once at camp we were all very relieved to set up our tents, cook our dinner and quickly get to bed.

Day 2 started well with our group being the first to depart. We were all in high spirits as we walked down county roads and over marsh land in the blazing sun and to Mr Hawkes’ van to reach checkpoint 1. We headed down the road to the lunch spot and enjoyed a picturesque lunch with the swans.

We filled up on sugar for the long walk back and started the trek. This seemed to be the perfect fix as we ended up being the first group back, having redeemed ourselves from day 1.

We ended day 2 with a match of volleyball and football and a long chat, with everyone crammed into one tent.

Day 3 started a bit rushed but everyone celebrated the fact that we could see the finish line! The day was a rollercoaster journey with someone being bitten by red ants to getting ice cream at the end. We finally arrived and everyone was rejoicing. After a bit of chocolate and many hugs we boarded the bus and headed home to our Sunday night dinners.

Overall silver D of E was an experience that will never be forgotten and we all loved every minute of it!