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Bronze Award Expeditions

Practice & Qualifying Expeditions 2014

A requirement of the Expedition section of the Bronze Award is that students complete a Practice, then a later, Qualifying Expedition.  Each expedition involves students walking a route, they have planned, over two days with them camping Saturday night.  They have to be totally self-sufficient and carry all they will need in their ruck sacks.  These expeditions are challenging; the students not only have two consecutive days of walking, carry an expedition pack, successfully navigate and employ the map skills developed on the earlier day walks, show a good level of camp-craft as well as working together well as a team.

With around 100 Year 10 students participating in the Bronze Award we arranged three visits to the Vale of Clwyd in north Wales.  Early March saw our first visit to Wales with 41 students, the weather was terrible but despite the driving rain and hail, they all made it to the end.  Things were a little better with our return visits in May and a total of 91 students successfully completed the new 23 kilometre route.  I had changed the second day and actually shortened it in order to finish at Loggerheads car park (where there are toilets and a snack van) but the new route meant a little more of a climb uphill in places.

In May, June and July the students completed their second, assessed Qualifying Expedition to the Ribble Valley.  Here the groups had a slightly longer, 26 kilometre route to complete with the infamous ‘Big Hill’.  All students were continually assessed over these weekends; they may be walked with by the assessor for part of the route, observed at the campsite, they may even be asked to empty their rucksacks completely in order to check that they had all the required kit!

In May we were blessed with glorious weather over both days but this is not actually great for walking with a pack on your back.  We had four seasons in one day on the June expedition; driving rain in the morning, hot summer sunshine in the afternoon and thunder and lightning in the evening.  Many of the volunteers commented on how brilliant the students were on this second weekend.  In July the weather was kind again and each group seemed to be evenly matched in terms of their levels of fitness and navigation skills.  The students were an absolute credit to themselves and the school on this final weekend and it was so nice to hear so many of them thanking the volunteers before they we picked up by their parents on Sunday evening.

With few mistakes made navigating overall, 89 students successfully completed their final expedition and now only have their e-dofe work to complete in order to achieve their Award.

Without the support of staff and volunteers, who give up hours of their own free time at weekends to help with the students, we simply would not be able run these expeditions.  Thank you Mr Fletcher, Mrs Hillier, Miss Hodgetts, Mrs Hughes, Mr Prentice, Miss Watts, Mr Williams, Paul Agnew,  Colette Allerston, Hannah Barnes, Jenny Blundell, Helen Burton, Martin Foulkes, Ray Irving,  Martyn Liley, Paul Quilliam, Greg Roughley, Mike Rowbottom, Stephen Stout, Mike Symonds, Ian Thomas, Stephen Webster, Jess Best, Alasdair Robertson.
Bronze D of E in numbers:
  • 103 Year 10 students initially enrolled on the Bronze Award in September 2013.
  • 10 staff have been involved with giving up an hour a week to provide training to the 19 Bronze groups.  These after-school training sessions started in October and ran through until April.
  • 11 staff, 17 volunteers, 3 parent volunteers and 4 College students have been involved with the day walks and expeditions this year.
  • We had 4 visits to Appley Bridge with staff and volunteers walking a combined distance of 456 kilometres with the students.
  • All of the students who completed the initial training day walk covered 1236 kilometres!
  • On the second day walk to Rivington, staff and volunteers covered a combined distance of 476 kilometres with the students.
  • All of the students together covered a combined distance of 1358 kilometres on their second day walk.
  • Not taking into account any mistakes they may have made, but the combined distance covered by the students on their Practice Expeditions was 2093 kilometres!  On the final Qualifying weekends, students covered a combined distance of 2314 kilometres.
Mr Halewood
Bronze D of E Leader