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There is more than one way to cross a field....

We all know how to cross a field. Locate the way out, maybe by a stile or gate, and then make your way to the exit. Although, this article isn’t about fields (as subtle as the titular pun is) but instead how Year 9 found their practice Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition. Read on to hear a couple of different perspectives about the weekend.

At 10am on Saturday 23 March, I was dropped off at Low Farm campsite in Folkingham, carrying my bag which contained enough food, clothes and kit for the weekend. I was really excited to start. We were all handed a DofE neck tube and, when everyone had arrived, we were appointed a leader to direct us for the weekend. It was going to be so fun!

On Saturday 23rd March at 10 in the morning, I dragged my 13kg rucksack out of the car, waved goodbye to my mum and plodded to where everyone was talking. I was absolutely dreading the hike. I did not want to spend my precious weekend lugging a baby elephant around the countryside and getting blisters on my feet. 

Our leader talked us through putting up a tent. It wasn’t as complicated as I thought, though it was difficult. Then we had some time to ‘move in’; set our sleeping bags up and take out some things that could stay in the tent. It was really snug inside.

We had to put up two tents. I cheered up a bit whilst doing it...! My group managed to do it alright, but the wind kept blowing the outer part and making everything more difficult. Then we put our things inside, and it was really cramped. We sat around a table with our leader and were told some basics about map reading and following a route. Then we had five minutes to get everything ready before we set off. My bag was so heavy and didn’t fit right. This was going to be awful.

I had to keep taking my bag off to put something in or take it out, but we eventually got going at around 11am. Our leader took us to the road and showed us how to cross it safely, DofE style.

Long story short, the hike was good. By the end of the day, we knew how to cross a field so as to not trample too much crop, what to do if we got lost, and what tomorrow would look like: we would start off at 9am and have a route planned by the leader, meeting him/her at checkpoints along the way. My bag fitted me really well and so my shoulders were only aching a little. My feet were sore but they always are when hiking.

The walk was horrible! My back and shoulders hurt and so did my feet. To make everything worse, we had to change our route and got slightly lost after there was no bridge across a ditch in our path. We got back to the campsite at 5ish and most of the other groups had been there for ages already. 

Next we made dinner. The majority of groups were making pasta and tomato sauce. We all had a Trangia camping stove, two per group, and were instructed and supervised by our leader. We had to attach the gas cannister to the stove and then light it. We tried using matches, but it didn’t work without us burning our fingers. Our leader got a lighter that we could use, and we got it working in the end. 

Dinner was really good. It was fun to set up the Trangia and cook with my friends. It got dark while we were still eating. But afterwards, whilst some of us were washing up, the sky opened and we had to scramble inside our tents. That was at 7pm. We left everything in a wet heap on our tent porch and scrambled inside. 

Nobody slept very well, but that is all part of the camping experience… after a breakfast of porridge and hot chocolate, we packed the tents away and went on our final hike, to home! (Or Osbournby) We had to navigate ourselves and get to each checkpoint on time at 4pm.

To summarise everything, the hike was roughly 15km. I lost my watch, got a few blisters but overall we didn’t get (very) lost. At 4pm we all slumped down on the grass outside the pub in Osbournby. We said goodbye to each other and went home, straight to a bubble bath and then bed. 

I’ll have to do it all again in May.

I can’t wait to do it all again in May!"

By Sophia 9A