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Congratulations to all thirty-one 61s who returned safely from their recent Gold Award Qualifying Expedition. Every one of the girls successfully passed this gruelling phase in the highest level of the scheme by completing a 5-day self sufficient trek across Exmoor National Park in July.
Working in teams, the girls planned their own routes and navigated through the scenic countryside, walking around 15km per day across windswept moors, through peaks and valleys and along rugged coastal paths. The girls had to be totally self sufficient and carried all their own equipment, tents, sleeping bags, food and clothing on their backs. There were also no mobile phones, no GPS, no shops, no Facebook (OMG!!). They had to set up camp each day, cook their own meals and get up on time - around 5am on the last day!
Although they enjoyed beautiful sunshine, the exceptional temperatures presented an additional challenge of coping with dehydration, along with the more common-place blisters and general fatigue associated with high levels of exercise and lack of sleep. As the days progressed, the girls had to keep each other motivated to carry on, and work through any pain, injury or exhaustion to complete, or fail, the expedition as a team.
Andrea Allen, Duke of Edinburgh coordinator said: “The girls did brilliantly! They pulled together to overcome the challenges they faced – sickness, injury and occasional disagreements, to make sure they succeeded as a team. There was a real sense of camaraderie on camp, and the girls sang and played games to keep their spirits up. The expedition is really tough going and they should be very proud of their achievement – I know I am!”
The Duke of Edinburgh Award was started in 1956 by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. It aims to give young people the chance to experience challenging and adventurous activities, acquire new skills and develop self-discipline and perseverance.