In the last week of the Easter holidays three groups, six being in my own, went to Nidderdale for our silver DofE practice expedition. We set off from Pickering in the morning and walked by the lake for most of the day. I found going uphill at the start of the day the hardest point of the expedition as my rucksack was the heaviest then. When we got to camp, we set up the tents and ate lots of good food. My feet were so sore from walking, it felt like I was walking on hot sand.
For the second day, we walked through many sheep fields with newborn lambs. Also, around the villages, there were dead moles hung up on fences and one of the locals told us that they were advertisements for mole catchers, at one point we saw 17 in one row.
We climbed up to the peaks of the hills and walked on top of them for most of the day. The scenery was amazing. At one point we walked too far and couldn’t find the right path down the hill, so we had to make up our own path, going through a marsh and jumping over a steam- but it was all part of the fun. Overall, I loved being with my friends and walking through pretty scenery all day.
Isabel Cawood (Fifth Year, Fothergill)
We were the last group to set off on Wednesday morning. Our route started on flat ground, so we were not going up any big hills right from the start. This allowed us to get used to the walk which was quite nice. The first parts of the walk were quite ordinary. It was a nice day, so we just followed the route and enjoyed the scenery. We walked up a couple of fields around a reservoir. We walked through and around a couple of farms during the day and saw fields filled with sheep and lambs. We even saw a couple of horses in the morning. The horses walked up to us which frightened a couple members of our group. For me this was the highlight of the day. Closer to the end of the walk we walked through a farm and saw rows of moles hung up on the fence. We later found out that the farmers do this to show how good they are at catching moles. The farmer helped us find the way and we had a nice walk to the camp. We set up our tents and after we cooked our meal for the night we went to bed.
Setting out the next morning was possibly the hardest part of the expedition. Although the weather was nice, our route started on an uphill and after a day of walking this was the last thing we wanted to do. Nevertheless, we set out and once we got to the top of the hill and took a small break the rest of the walk was quite nice. We walked along the top of mountains which meant that we got an excellent view of the valley and got to enjoy the view for most of the day. We couldn’t find the footpath that was shown on the map, so we decided to go through a field and over a river to join up with our route. After we got back on the footpath, we walked down the mountain just to cross a reservoir and walked straight back up another. At this point we were all tired, our feet were hurting, and we couldn’t wait to get back to the camp. So, after a short break at the top, we set off for the last stretch of the journey. It was fairly simple from here. We walked through a town and down a field and we were back at the camp. We threw down our bags and after another night of camping, we packed up our tents and got on the bus back to school.
Mikulas Klodner (Fifth Year, Penn)