This weekend I went on my silver Duke of Edinburgh expedition. We went to Brecon Beacon in South Wales, which was absolutely stunning. For those of you who don’t know, Duke of Edinburgh is an award scheme which has three levels: bronze, silver and gold. I applied for bronze at school, but wasn’t excepted. People dropped out of bronze, so I complained to the school. They allowed me to apply for the silver.
The silver expedition consists of 3 days of 16-17km walked each day with 2 nights of camping. All meals, clothes and camping equipment must be carried on our backs. The Brecon Beacon is a mountain range so this task was incredibly difficult. I had an amazing group of 6 others: 2 girls and 4 guys, who helped me so much and got me through the weekend.
We left school on Friday at midday and due to the fact that we had to travel the day before, we had to cook an extra meal and camp an extra night. Although this was annoying, there was far worse to come. The weather was beautiful and to our advantage, the rain stayed away.
Saturday morning, we went through our routes and got on our way. The first day of walking is always difficult due to the lack of exercise we had all done during exams. Flats and down hill walks were manageable, but the climbs were exhausting. Sunday however was easier. We had obtained pain from the day before, but we were in the swing of walking. Some of the many injuries I have acquired are: bruised hips and shoulders due to my rucksack, nettle stings, midge bites, cuts from overgrown thorn bushes and pulled muscles.
Sunday’s walk ended quickly, as we hadn’t got lost at all so far. We arrived at our camp site which was also a caravan site before half 3 in the afternoon, which we shared we another DofE group from school, a DofE group from another school and some caravanners. This is particularly early as not many groups return to camp before at least 5pm.
We relaxed for an hour, laid in the sun, then put up our tents, but it was still too early to make dinner. We decided to play piggie in the middle with a ball we found lying around. We made two teams of 3 and 4 piggies. It was so much fun, and we were all glad we played. But things started to get serious and we made the piggies put on bibs and the contact started. I got hit and punched by both girls and guys; I even pushed a guy in my DofE group in a thorn bush (He’s okay, just a few cuts; I apologised.)
With our last night of camping over, Monday arrived with the joys of going home. We had to walk 16km before we could get on our minibus back to London. Despite this, we still had to climb Sugar Loaf Mountain, 596m above sea level. We stuck as a group and got to the top of this mountain with sheer determination and thoughts of the Burger King on the way home. We arrived at the finishing point 3 hours early, and left for London at 5pm.
I am so proud of myself and my group, and am so grateful for them helping me through the weekend.
I also crossed a bridge on the way to and from Wales… The Second Severn Crossing on the M4. It is a great bridge and the views from it are divine.