Eighteen Year 1 Long Road Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award students travelled by minibus to Hixon in Staffordshire to begin a three-day canoeing expedition along the River Trent. The three teams quickly organised their kit on arrival and entered the water with maps and route cards to hand. The river was fast moving, and they covered approximately 25km to reach the campsite near the village of Kings Bromley.
Day two started smoothly, and the weather conditions again were favourable for a perfect paddle. The teams decided to collect plastic litter along the route as a group aim for this journey. The next campsite was at Burton Canoe Club, where students could pitch tents and cook dinner next to the water’s edge. The final day presented different challenges, one being ‘weirs’: students had to navigate a safe passage through these tricky hazards. The teams finished at Castle Donington in high spirits with a confidence and expectation for the ‘assessed’ expedition in July along the River Wye.
A requirement of the expedition section of the award is for students to be competent with camp-craft skills, map reading, kit/equipment maintenance and a chosen mode of transport (canoeing skills in our case). Fortnightly sessions back at college with experienced DofE Leaders deliver training and support for the expeditions.
The Gold Award has five main sections; skill, physical, volunteering, residential and expedition. Students organise what they do for each section: for example they might learn to play the guitar, play for a local netball team, volunteer at a charity animal shelter and embark on a outward bound residential, as well as undertaking an expedition similar to the one described above.
Students can manage and successfully complete the Gold Award in parallel with any choice of subjects on either a Level 2 or 3 Programme.
Employers and universities highly regard this internationally recognised award.
To see more photos of this fabulous trip, go to Duke of Edinburgh Practice Long Road Facebook