On the morning of 24th June seven participants strolled off into the North Downs, armed only with a compass, a map and an optimistic enthusiasm. Blessed with glorious weather, they strolled through the Kent countryside admiring quaint villages and taking breaks in sunny meadows. Three hours in, we met them at the base of Trosley Country Park encouraging them up a steep ascent. The group, reassured by their successful navigation thus far continued on their amble, knowing their campsite was just 10 kilometers away. Unfortunately, during the afternoon they took several wrong turns, however, they regrouped, identified their mistakes and continued on the right path. We cheered them into the campsite about 6pm, 8 hours and 20km after they had set off.
After an hour of detangling tents and massaging sore feet the group cooked themselves a three course dinner. A starter of soup, followed by a choice of pasta with pesto, or pasta, rounded off with a copious choice of chocolate bars and sweets. They appeared to be enjoying their hard work, until a few sharp noses caught wind of our fish and chips! The group spent the rest of their evening attempting to light a campfire, which eventually; with some support, they got going. They were thrilled to find that a few bags of marshmallows had miraculously appeared enabling them to while away their evening trading stories and chewing on charred sugar. Fortunately, we were all tucked into our sleeping bags in time before the heavens opened and we were treated to a 5-hour onslaught of rain, thunder and lightning.
On the second morning, students crawled, sleepy eyed, out of their tents to find the field had been converted into more of a marsh overnight. They hopped and skipped through the puddles, clearing up and getting breakfast. By 9.30 they were good to set off again. Slightly slower than the day before we watched them walk into the horizon. At various points throughout the day we observed them working as a team to keep spirits high and ticking off the checkpoints. Before long they were ecstatically running down the hill to the finish line in Ranscombe Farm Country Park. Each member of the group was able to demonstrate resilience to keep going to the end and each person was challenged to step out of their comfort zone. The Copperhouse staff supporting the expedition where again extremely complementary of the attitude of our students and as staff we were pleased to see them supporting each other throughout the experience. Each member deserved to complete their expedition section and now is a few small steps from completing their bronze award.