Bolingbroke students battle the elements in Silver D of E trek

Participants in Duke of Edinburgh silver award scheme trek

Bear Grylls himself would have been impressed by the resilience, determination and self-reliance displayed by a group of Bolingbroke students who last week spent three days trekking through the  South Downs in Sussex as part of their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The 35 year 10 and 11 pupils had to contend with wildly variable weather, from heavy rain, freezing hail and extremely cold nights – though the sun did occasionally make an appearance!

Students camping during their DofE silver award

Home for the night for the hardy bunch of DofE students

“This hardy and feisty group just piled on extra layers to cope with cold wines and low temperatures,” said maths teacher Sally Davidson who led the trip. “The mixed conditions made for a challenging experience for them all, but they finished in good heart and in good spirits.”

Regarded as the toughest part of the DofE Award, the expedition presents many challenges to participants, not least the sheer physicality of the trip and the unreliable British weather.

Each student had to lug their heavy rucksacks with them on the trek, containing everything they needed for the duration of their trip including all their food, bedding, shelter and clothing.

Each day involved walking around 15km, after which the students had to pitch their tents, and cook dinner.

One of the biggest challenges, said Ms Davidson, was keeping up morale in the face of a very wet and cold second day. “Knowing that after a long day they still had to pitch their tent in the pouring rain was tough,” she said. Realising that their waterproof coats didn’t actually live up to their name was another blow.

With no adults to intervene should anything go wrong, the students had to become highly self- sufficent and learn to work together as a team.

“These pupils deserve our congratuations on completing their practice expedition,” said Ms Davidson. “All the groups faced challenges but coped extremely well, showing great maturity, resolve and determination to finish their trek. Well done to them all on their success!”

The long and winding road.......only another 15km to go!

Summing up the trip, one student who shall remain nameless said: “Hot flannels are great! I am going to put them all over my body when I get home.”

In addition to successfully completing the expedition, pupils must also volunteer, practice a skill and take part in a physical activity for an hour a week for six months to attain the prestigious Silver Award.