Silver Duke of Edinburgh Expedition to Dorset
By Zoe D, Year 11
On Saturday 25th March, eight silver DofE groups met at school for a 6:30 departure ready to travel to Dorset for our three day expedition.
We arrived in Dorset at 10:30 where we were given our tents and trangia stoves and then we headed off to begin our first day of walking. After two hours of walking and having seen lots of lambs and sheep, our spirits were high until we reached a supposedly “locked” gate which resulted in great confusion until Mrs Critcher came to our rescue an hour later. We then walked up and along the ridge which was rather windy and a little drizzly but provided us with some great photo opportunities of the view!! Having lost over an hour in our 22km walk, we were all walking hard to reach the campsite before it got dark. We crossed through lots of fields, along bridleways, through farms and over roads to eventually make it to our camp just before dark. We were quick to set up our tents and had our dinner cooking in no time. After a lovely warm dinner, we retired to our tents exhausted after our first day of walking.
Waking up the next morning we were quick to pack our tents up and eat breakfast. We set off for our second day walking, which was a loop, going down along the coast and then circling back over the ridge to the campsite. Half the teams did this loop clockwise whilst the other half followed the route in the opposite direction. We started well and made quick progress through woodlands, heaths and fields reaching our first checkpoint in record time. After stopping for a chat with the teachers, a quick loo break and of course the recital of our rap, we headed off again.
Our next target was the viewpoint overlooking the sea which we aimed to reach in time for our lunch. We stopped and enjoyed the view across the sea entertaining ourselves with the movements of the boats, whilst we ate and shared our lunch and snacks. We then headed along the coastal path taking in the views as we went before our final climb back up and over the ridge towards the campsite. Making it back to the campsite, this time well before dark, we set up our tents and took the opportunity to use the sun and the breeze to dry out our soaking tents as best we could. As all groups made it back much earlier than the previous day, we all enjoyed our warm dinner, followed by hot chocolate, and headed off to bed.
For our final day, we had an early start to ensure we all made it to our final destination, Studland Bay. We woke up bright and early before sunrise, quickly had a bite to eat and packed our tents away in the dark before finally setting off just as the sun started to rise. Passing through familiar territory off the turning point of the campsite, we made good progress throughout the morning, stopping only occasionally to catch our breath or sip some water. Despite the rather dim morning, the sun started to come out as the day progressed, and with it our spirits were held high we made our way along the ridge towards the coast. When we got to the coast we enjoyed a spectacular view of Old Harry’s Rock where we stopped for a quick break and made our way towards the viewing point where we enjoyed the landscape and stopped for a few photos. After our break, we headed on for the final stretch along the coast and down to Knoll beach – our final meeting point. We had a great day and we then enjoyed a hot lunch at the cafe as well as a well earned rest.