November 2022 - January 2023
Writing: Nicholas Storey (Year 11)
Photography: Nicholas Storey (Year 11)
Editing: Nathan John (Year 12)
On the 4th of November 2022, my expedition team and I embarked on the last stage of our Silver DofE journey. We had each been individually chipping away at our three-month and six-month long skill, volunteering and physical sections up until that point. These sections allowed us to develop and hone key skills such as communication, leadership and organisation by, for example, volunteering with scout groups or committing to achieving higher grades on musical instruments. Our practice expedition had taken place many months beforehand in July but we were confident we would have no issues with our navigation and fitness for the actual expedition. In addition, at the last minute, an extra person from another school was added to our group which made us all a little apprehensive about the weekend. However, after the car journey to our starting location we had all become good friends.
Our expedition took place in the New Forest which is very beautiful during autumn. The forest floor housed an abundance of unusual fungi and the resident deer herds were an exciting sight too. However, with all the pretty colours that come with autumn, also comes the Great British weather never failing to impress, with each new day being met with cold, heavy rain - our final day being worst of all; ending in almost monsoon-like downpour in the final leg to the finish! The first night was very comfortable as we had been lucky enough to have a wooden cabin on our campsite which we could eat and relax in, avoiding the cold and wet before we slept in our tents outside. However, on the second night after trying to navigate a bogland in the pouring rain we arrived at a flooded campsite! The fields were not an option as they had become ponds so we all decided to set up our tents under the trees to the side, in the woods instead. The ground was very soft and muddy but we made do and although I hardly got any sleep that night it was certainly memorable for the cracking booms of thunder and consistent patter of rain.
The experience truly was a great one and it made Bronze seem like a walk in the park! Receiving our Silver certificates and badges in assembly was a proud moment and prompted me to look back on the whole journey with great memories from start to finish. Next up, DofE Gold!