New Horizons in the New Forest
Last Sunday around 60 boys from the 3rd Form donned heavy rucksacks, study boots and waterproofs and embarked on their first outdoor expedition as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.
The two-day hike with a night under canvas took place in the flat but boggy terrain of the New Forest, which offered the delights of wild pony spotting, woodland walks and midge-dodging.
As this was the first expedition of the two required to gain the bronze award, the boys all had lots to learn. Outdoor expeditions not only test physical endurance and map-reading skills, but also foster an appreciation of the countryside and the considerations participants should take when cooking for themselves outdoors and sleeping under canvas.
The boys all completed their hikes safely. D of E expeditions are always eventful however, and this one saw unusually marshy terrain leaving many boys covered in brown sludge, as well as one boy developing one of the largest blisters ever treated by CLS D of E staff.
Much was learned about navigation, prioritising what to pack, campcraft and staying comfortable in tents. By far the most essential lesson though was the importance of teamwork and mutual respect for each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
An outdoor expedition is a test of skill and endurance for sure, but the long-term appreciation of adventurous team endeavour and the value of our countryside is the key outcome to be celebrated.
Much was learned about navigation, prioritising what to pack & campcraft.