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St Helen and St Katharine, Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1BE

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DofE Silver practice

Our weekend started and we were by ourselves which was a completely different experience to our DofE trips before as we were the only team on this expedition. We arrived to meet our instructor, Gareth and Mrs Wilson dropped us off at a location where we had to navigate our way to the first campsite. It was quite challenging in parts but we worked as a team and eventually got to where we would spend our first night.

We set up our tent and started to cook our dinner of pesto pasta which was very tasty. As we were cooking our dinner a hot air balloon was taking off from the same field which was very exciting. We played Frisbee but after a long week at school we were all tired so we got in our tents and had a good night’s sleep.

We all woke up at 5:30 which was not that nice! We had breakfast, packed our stuff and got going on the walk to the next campsite. The weather was really nice, hot and very enjoyable, it kept our morale high. We did get ourselves in a bit of a pickle so ended up walking 3km extra but we persevered and got ourselves to the checkpoint where we were meeting Gareth – only 40 minutes late. We carried on through the afternoon and found our way to the little country lane and entered what we thought was the entrance to the campsite but in fact was someone’s family barbecue so we retreated to the lane and found the entrance to the campsite not far away!

On Sunday morning we woke up later than the day before so we packed up, made breakfast and got going. We started our day with a few slip-ups because the paths that we had to follow were not clearly signposted so we used our compass to find our direction. The map reading was challenging and again we ended up walking an extra 2km as the path that we had planned was no longer there so we had to find an alternative route. As we approached lunchtime we found a very nice spot in the woods to have lunch so we set up a trangia and started to cook our pot noodles. Once we had eaten we set off to our last check point where we met Gareth. We weren’t going to see him before the end of our expedition so we couldn’t get ourselves lost!

On the way to the end of our route we crossed a race track, a farm and a golf course. As we approached the end Mrs Wilson and Gareth were stood waiting for us at our destination and end point of the DofE practice. We were shattered as it was a lot harder than we expected but it didn’t feel that much longer than Bronze. We packed all our stuff into the minibus and got going back to school. On the way home Nicole played some songs and the whole bus was singing and enjoying themselves, including Mrs Wilson! Overall we had a lovely time and really bonded with each other. It was a great weekend! 

Nicole, 10K

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