Duke of Edinburgh Bronze practice weekend

Students from Year 10 and one Year 12 student have just successfully completed their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh practice weekend. Students had completed their expedition training, brought their equipment and had broken in their boots, all with the aim of surviving the practice weekend and hopefully passing their assessment weekend.

The weather this year was more favourable, no rain as in previous years, but warmer than anticipated conditions were always going to be a challenge. Having had the briefing on the weather and kit to bring, for many this had fallen on deaf ears as some had brought everything and by the weight of their rucksacks, this included the kitchen sink.

Day one was all about navigation, walking from Cranbrook out to Bedgebury and round a large loop with many places to get confused or misled. The day brought its challenges and all the groups at times found themselves geographically embarrassed, but the training kicked in and they all were able to relocate and find the check points. Spirits were high and the day went without any major events. Cooking for the first time, the evening meal is or can be a trial by ordeal. Luckily the advice had been taken and all were able to eat a substantial meal and live to tell the tale.

After a restful nights sleep in their tents, day two was set up to be more of a challenge in terms of distance to travel. Students got to practice their pacing skills as well as some first aid for sore feet and blisters. All the students seemed happy to reach their final check point at the end of the day. A little walk from Cranbrook to Bodiam castle carrying rucksacks in 25 degrees of heat was not their idea of fun.

Mr Burchell said "Upon debrief it was amazing how much the boys had used or remembered from the training, the map reading, pacing, country code, road crossing, first aid, cooking, putting up tents and working as a team. Now practice is over, the planning for the assessment weekend can begin. It seems an age away but the third weekend in June is not far off and much has still to be done. I have a feeling that the rucksacks will be a little lighter next time around." 

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