Duke of Edinburgh - Preparing for the Silver assessment

Students from Ark 6th Form took part in a practice expedition to prepare for their Silver Duke of Edinburgh assessment. With heavy rucksacks, maps and route cards ready they set off to Bodiam to begin day one of three planned days. The practice element is required to assess their readiness and competency to attempt the assessed expedition later this month.

The first day was warm and clear. After briefing, the group set off with distances and times to meet; checkpoints were a welcome break from the slow and arduous climbs presented by the Wealden countryside, yet all remained buoyant in spirits. The day ended well with students demonstrating their skills in setting up tents for the evening and cooking on the gas trangiers. 

Day two was more of a guided affair for the first six miles or so, with the leader encouraging the group to develop their map reading and countryside awareness. Lunch by the lake in Bedgebury allowed for sore feet to recover before the final push for the campsite and an evening meal. The weather decided to upset the best laid plans with the participants having to set up tents in pouring rain and strong winds. A hot meal was most welcome, not so much the wet tents and a cold nights sleep.

The final day started with clear skies and sunshine. Breakfast eaten and tents away, the students set off for the last walking session, Cranbrook, Goudhurst and eventually Brenchley provided a dramatic and inspirational backdrop to the best days performance. 

The students, even though tired and nursing some sore feet, said that they had really enjoyed the practice and in some strange way were looking forward to the assessment weekend in two weeks. Their final preparations include writing up route cards, planning a balanced choice of food and ensuring they are fully rested for the challenge ahead.