Silver Qualifier Expedition – July 2022

Another expedition weekend is over and another 37 children, who did an amazing job to navigate 3 days of walking, in some challenging conditions (both terrain and weather) have completed the expedition section of their DofE qualifications. 

We started out in a car park in Bentham, Lancashire where the groups arrived full of excitement and energy, eager to get out on the trails and start their expedition.  Day 1 was a gentle introduction to what was to come.  The weather held out and, despite the weather forecast, we had a warm but overcast day.  Perfect for hiking around the North Yorkshire Dales.  

The groups all arrived safely late in the afternoon into Dalesbridge Centre campsite near the lovely village of Austwick and quickly established camp.  Soon the campsite was buzzing with activity as groups cooked their meals and spent time catching up with each other on the day’s antics.  

And then it all changed… come 8pm, thankfully after most people had finished cooking and eating their tea, the clouds rolled in, the sky darkened, and the rain started to fall.  This led to a mass retreat from the groups who all disappeared into their tents and holed up for the night, while the rain continued to fall, hoping that Saturday would bring the sun back.

As the camp emerged on Saturday morning it appeared the kids’ wishes had been granted, despite the relentless rain through the night, Saturday morning was grey but dry and we all managed to have breakfast and decamp in relative calm.  That was where it all ended, and the moment the groups set out on day 2 of their expedition the heavens opened and it absolutely tipped it down!!!  And it continued to rain, and rain, and rain for the majority of the morning and into the early afternoon.  There’s nothing like a soggy, wet, sandwich on top of a hill in the Dales!

Thankfully, by the time the teams arrived into Craig Hill Farm campsite near Horton in Ribble, the rain had exhausted itself and the sky started to clear.  The groups were able to pitch in the warm afternoon sun which went on to provide fantastic late afternoon and evening weather.  This allowed the children to really enjoy the experience of camping on DofE, spending time socialising with friends, making new friends and inventing games to pass the time together in the camp field.  At one point we had a medley of primary school activity underway with wheelbarrow races, three legged races and bunny hop relays.  Absolutely brilliant to see the children inventing ways to pass them time on their own.

As is often the case, everyone rose early on day 3, keen to get going promptly and get underway towards the finish line.  The groups snaked south from the campsite, with routes either side of the River Ribble, but all heading towards the collection point in Settle.  The weather decided to do mashup of the last 2 days, with periods through the day of sun, rain & grey skies.  But this wasn’t enough to stop our groups, who all arrived in Settle on time and in high spirits.  (ok, the last point was a little exaggeration, as several of the groups were just glad it was over!).  

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