Duke of Edinburgh Expedition - Silver

18 May 2023


On Thursday 4 May, 89 year 9 students boarded a coach to the Bowlees Visitor Centre to start their 3 day Bronze practice and assessed expedition.

 When they arrived they were asked to go into their groups to meet their instructors and to be prepared for a kit check before going out on the first day of their expedition weekend. We were due to be on 2 campsites but due to one of the campsites not ordering in portaloos we all ended up staying on the same campsite for the weekend. When the students arrived at the campsite they were all very tired and wanted to put their tents up and get themselves sorted ready for cooking their tea.

The temperature dropped quickly and the wind started to pick up but this didn’t dampen the spirits of the students and they were happy playing football and generally having a good time. It was in tents for 9pm and lights out by 10pm but the first night is always the worst and we did manage to get to bed around 11pm.

On Friday morning, 5 May, the students were up and ready to start cooking breakfast between 7 and 7:30am and by 9am most of the groups had left the campsite to start their 2nd days walking which was the start of their assessed expedition. This was an opportunity for the staff to go on a walk themselves up to High Force waterfall and some lunch before walking back to the campsite ready for the students to arrive back between 5 and 5:30pm. Everyone was back at the campsite by 5:45pm and tents were erected and tea cooked before the students enjoyed having some down time before they went in their tents.

 Saturday 6 May was the last day but because the DofE 20 conditions say you have to be out walking for a set time, all the students had to be up early and leave the campsite by 8:30am at the latest. The students arrived back at Bowlees Visitor Center between 1:30 and 2pm ready for their debrief and handed back all the equipment they had used belonging to Sam Sykes Ltd over the weekend. By 2:30pm the students were sitting outside the coffee shop buying ice cream chips and drinks before the coaches came and picked us up at 3pm. When the first coach arrived we were told the 2nd coach had broken down and that it would be another hour before they could get a coach to pick the 2nd group up. After the first coach had left the remaining students were still positive and looking forward to getting home eventually for a takeaway and a bath/shower. From the comments made by the students the Chinese takeaways in the area would be very busy tonight! Everyone was back at school and picked up by their parents by 5:45 

The weather was predicted to be thunderstorms and heavy showers over the 3 days  but the only time it rained was on Thursday during the night. The rest of the time it was dry and very warm.

The students who took part in the Bronze DofE weekend were successful in completing the expedition part of their Bronze DofE award and we are looking forward to reading the assessors reports when we get them for the assessors.


Ponteland High School