On Friday 22nd July seven cadets from 1224 Wharfedale squadron embarked on a bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s expedition at Newton-upon-Rawcliffe.
Five of us set off on Friday night with CI Dowling and the other two were set to arrive later on with CI Watson, we arrived at the camp site in the early evening, after setting up our tent we got started on dinner which didn’t go down too well as we had the wrong gas canisters for the stoves and half the ingredients were packed in a bag which had not yet arrived! So not a great start to the weekend!
On the Saturday morning we awoke bright and early at 6am to eat breakfast, pack away our tents and get ready for the long trek ahead of us. We departed from the campsite at around 9:20am with CI Dowling, CI Watson and two other members of staff that were on the BELA course. We set off heading north on a loop that would eventually (18km later!) bring us back to the campsite. For the first half of the route it was fairly flat terrain but during the second half it was very hilly, (which is painful when you have blisters!).
After taking a few wrong turnings and being corrected we arrived back at the campsite with blisters and aching shoulders. After putting up the tents we prepared dinner which would be noodles and frankfurters, it doesn’t sound very appetising but after a day of walking it was like an oasis in the desert. We got an early night on the Saturday as most of us were too tired to do anything but sleep!
Once again we awoke on the Sunday ready to take on today’s (slightly shorter) walk. This time we would be walking all on our own without the guidance of the staff, we reached the first checkpoint earlier than the set time and carried on walking field upon field upon field until we reached a sign that read; WARNING, M.O.D. APPROVED RIFLE RANGE IN USE SUNDAYS 09:00-17:00. So they had to stop operating as we walked down the range, we had fifteen minutes before our next checkpoint so we decided to watch the shooting for a while (We still managed to arrive early at our second checkpoint). It was between our second and third checkpoint that we walked through the wrong field and almost got lost, and for that reason we arrived at our third checkpoint a little later than expected. We ploughed on though and arrived back at the campsite half an hour late but we were still the first group back.
We left the campsite at around 4:15 and journeyed home stopping off for a well-deserved McDonalds on the way. It was an interesting expedition of which lessons were learned and one that I would certainly do again. But the moral of this story is NEVER WEAR ASSAULT BOOTS FOR D of E!!!!!