DofE Qualifying Expedition Posted on: 8 Jun 2016

By Emily Bowles

On the morning of 21st May, we set off on our Duke of Edinburgh qualifying expedition. We met up at school, said our goodbyes and set off to the coast line of Alnwick.  Everyone was hopeful for good weather following the harsh conditions we endured for our practice expedition at Kielder.

After the obligatory toilet stop, we finally arrived. My group was walking from South to North and began walking from a golf course at Almouth.  We were handed our maps and compasses and that was it – complete independence.

Despite a confusing start, we managed fine. The weather was great and we remained as a team for the whole day. The scenery was great and we used a camera to capture images of wildlife and native plants.  We finally reached Dunstan and the campsite was only a kilometre or so away.  To our surprise, we were the first group to reach the site.

Everyone pitched their tents and had a laugh. There was a great atmosphere as everyone enjoyed themselves, ate and relaxed in preparation for the next day.

An early start to Sunday meant we could relax until we set off. The weather was colder but bearable apart from a few short showers.  We walked from Dunstan Campsite up to North Sunderland.  In the morning we had some detours which sent us up and down numerous steep sand dunes – exhausting!  We soon got the hang of the new route.

We were recognised by the local walkers for doing our D of E award as they walked past asking if we were completing our Gold, Silver or Bronze Award. After walking through a field of cows and horses, we finally reached the minibus and had a well-deserved rest as we waited for the other group to arrive.

Overall the Duke of Edinburgh expeditions (both the practice and the qualifier) have been a very rewarding experience.