Saint Aidan's News

Chipping Challenge!

When preparing for our Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition we had a training session at school one Saturday which covered multiple areas of the expedition including how to pack a bag effectively, how to pitch a tent and how to cook using a Trangia (Google it!).  After a successful day of training, I felt ready to face the expedition for real.

Our last bit of preparation was a practice expedition.  This went extremely well, the weather being perfect.  We set off with an instructor who showed us basic mapping skills whilst taking a walk around the Chorley countryside.  After a long day of walking all groups reassembled and started making a simple dinner of pasta and sauce – or Super Noodles!

A few weeks later came the day of the qualifying expedition.  Everyone gathered in Chipping to start the two-day adventure.  With smiles on our faces we set off passing fields, country roads and lots of sheep!  Many groups got temporarily lost, including mine, especially when we got to a big hill where the trees, blown over during a storm, had blocked the path.  Morale remained high thanks to our teachers passing us in minibuses and waving enthusiastically!  Back at the campsite, everyone reminisced about the day’s dramas.  Luckily, our choice of cuisine had improved to something substantial rather than the fast food we cram ourselves with when cramming the night before an exam!  We also indulged in games of Frisbee and catch before climbing into our sleeping bags with full stomachs and tired eyes.

Our slumber was broken by sunlight bursting through the tent at 5.00 am – I’m sure that our teachers were shocked to see a bunch of stroppy teenagers up before 10 o’clock.  We packed up and ate breakfast before setting off on the last leg of our expedition, following route-cards and sticking to footpaths.  My group focussed on the Countryside Code as our aim and used a puppet badger to enforce the rules!  It definitely kept us grinning.  Some groups raced each other and were back by lunchtime whilst others took their time.  We all got back by 3.00 pm, many of us collapsing on the floor with exhaustion.  After a group photo, we all met our parents and climbed into our cars – bootless!

Overall my Duke of Edinburgh Award Expedition was filled with laughs, smiles, memories and a sunburnt face and shoulders.  I would recommend for everyone to give it a go!

Amy Shuttleworth (15) Saint Aidan’s Church of England High School