Duke of Edinburgh Diaries – Going for Gold!

by | Aug 17, 2022 | Ackworth School

Harriet, Jasmine, Tom, Emily, and Harriet 

On Thursday 11th August, five Upper Sixth pupils headed to the Yorkshire Dales to complete their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Expedition; this consisted of 4 days walking and 3 nights camping. The group had to plan their routes and meals in advance and carry everything they needed for the entire trip.

“We set off from our starting point in Rylestone with maps and compass at the ready, as well as plenty of water and suncream to get us through the day with the hot temperatures. The first campsite was in Malham; the second day started with a 06:00 wakeup to be able to eat breakfast, pack the tents away and get ready before walking up the gruelling stairs to the top of Malham Cove and then continuing on towards the second campsite at Kettlewell.

During the expedition we met several other walkers and would often talk to them about where they had come from/where they were going. One person reminded us to keep looking behind (especially when walking up the hills) as we should appreciate the environment we were in instead of solely focusing on the challenge of the Award itself. We invited another walker to sit down with us during one of our rest breaks. It was fascinating listening to them talk about when they discovered their love for ‘the mountains’ just after they finished their own A Levels many years ago. They also told us about how they have never owned a phone and how much they embrace living life in the moment, similar to what we had to do during the expedition – it was incredible to learn so much about someone in such a short period of time.

The third day was our longest and toughest day. We had a difficult walk along the moorland but it was worth it to be able to see Mr Bailey’s friendly smile when we finally reached the campsite over 10 hours after setting off. The day was made even more difficult by ending at a forest campsite with no running water and limited facilities (very different compared to the previous 2 campsites). We cooked our food and put up our tents before sitting around the campfire and mentally preparing for the final day.

Sunday was our shortest day but still consisted of several steep hills – this was especially challenging with tired legs and limited sleep. We took shorter rest breaks and our pace increased allowing us to slowly tick off each kilometre. There was a great sense of relief when we saw the school minibus at our final checkpoint and even greater when we were told by our assessor that we had all passed!

The expedition allowed us to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone and allowed us to work well as a team as we knew how much it meant to each other to complete the award. We would highly recommending giving DofE a go as we have gained so much from completing it.

Thank you to Mr Bailey, Mr and Mrs Lunn and Mrs Burren for giving up their time during the summer to allow us to complete the expedition and extra thanks to Mr Bailey for carrying 12 litres of water up the hills to meet us at checkpoints and make sure we stayed hydrated.”

Harriet, Harriet, Emily, Tom and Jasmine