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DofE Gold Qualifying Expedition 2015  

This year’s Gold DofE teams were finally released into the Dark Peaks on the 8th of October for their 4 day expedition, to witness the moors in all their enticing mystery.

We began our expedition with a late start, owing to traffic, but with sunny skies lifting away the morning mist the group was in high spirits as we entered the first of many expansive, damp, moors. We took in some amazing scenery, and where literally swallowed up by the landscape as we worked our way south into our first campsite at Crowden. Owing to our slightly late start, we arrived in the dark at our first campsite, but despite this the drills where still good and we were soon fed and in our sleeping bags, awaiting the next day.

Our day two began with a long slog over the trans-Pennine trail, but soon opened up into some serious navigation over rough open moorland, working with bearings to keep us on track. Fortunately, the team where experienced enough to deal with these challenges with a wry grin and press on, despite an incident in which both Jay and Sam became stuck knee deep in bog in one particularly long stretch of wet and muddy terrain.

It was not the best feeling in the world waking on the third day to the cold October air, but morale came with masses of porridge as we set off south to see some of the most impressive scenery in the entire peak district, namely the Kinder plateau. Everyone in the team worked hard, but Emily demonstrated fantastic depth of character by continuing to keep up with the group, even though she was missing a sizable flap of skin from the sole of her foot. We eventually ended the day at the foot of Kinder Scout, where we met the other groups and exchanged stories of the past two days as we erected our tents for the night.

The final day was begun in the dark as we prepared to break camp for a 0730 start to allow us to complete the distance in good time.  The team was still strong, even after three days of foot-pounding expedition, and the day’s walk ended with a symbolic and steep accent to the top of a significant hill. After four days of hard ascent and descent, we rounded off the expedition at the scenic Howden reservoir, over 80Km after we began.

It was certainly a satisfying end to what was for some of us four and a half years of DofE.  We had our ups and downs, literally and metaphorically, and now we have come out of the other side, with the skills and attitude that makes DofE such a valued qualification for employers now aligned to take us to wherever we want to go. It has been a considerable privilege to walk in the team that we are, and I am certain that we will remember with a smile all of the tiring, but curiously enjoyable, things we have achieved over those four days.

Greg Harrison

On behalf of Priory Group One (Billy Onians, Jay Elmez, Sam Hanby, Emily Dyer, Ollie Dunnett, Greg Harrison)