Gold qualifying expeditions August 2016

  • Location: Mid-Wales
  • Time: 13-17 August
  • Groups: 6
  • Transport: coach, minibus, foot
  • Weather: dry throughout, warm at the end
  • Total distance: 50 miles
  • Max elevation: 752m

6 groups completed their Gold dofe qualifying expedition in Mid Wales in mid august in outstanding dry sunny weather.  Staff agreed that they were a delight to organise and supervise and we were really pleased with how they performed and especially with their cheerful and spirited approach to the whole venture.  What a pleasure, thanks all.

Your assessors, John and Peter, were also happy with your technical performance and attitude and were delighted to pass all of you for whom this counted as qualifying.  Don’t forget to complete the rest of your dofe now that you have done so well in the expedition section.  You completed a verbal presentation at debrief so there is no need to do a write-up.


Silver qualifying expedition October 2015 South Downs

85 5th year students trekked off in 14 groups across the South Downs, catching the train to Lewes, hiking for 3 days and then getting the train out from Arundel.  For the most part this route is not navigationally challenging but the hike presented groups with plenty of hills and some long distances on breezy ridges, and hopefully gave some a taste of why people like to hike even when not earning an award for it!  Weather was dry but chilly in the northerly wind especially if groups stopped in exposed places.  Every group performed well, supporting each other and working increasingly independently as the hike progressed.  Staff think this year group has been a special pleasure to work with, always polite and positive and spirited despite the challenges.  Well done all.

Bronze DofE October Qualifying expeditions

90 students set off on their Bronze qualifying walking expedition 11-12 October. Despite a calm, cool and sunny start, a MetOffice and RGSweather alert for heavy rain and strong winds quickly bore fruit with 30-40mph winds and heavy rain from lunchtime on-wards on the first day. This expedition was one of the stormiest local expeditions for some time but staff were most impressed with the fortitude and spirit shown by students in more difficult circumstances than usual.  

Some groups understandably struggled with navigating and keeping their kit dry in the conditions but all battled through to the end and camped overnight in stormy woods in wet gear with gusts blowing through trees all night.
Saturday dawned bright and calm and gave groups a cool sunny finish to their expedition on Reigate Hill.
Most groups kept their site impressively clean despite the weather but a few groups could improve their camp craft with more attention to keeping all areas of camp tidy at all times, particularly keeping important kit like sleeping bags dry in foul weather and not losing important items in the dark.  Navigation was generally good given the rough weather.

Well done to all on surviving some rough weather… a good training experience for Silver and Gold 😉

A successful Bronze qualifying canoe expedition also took place and I’ll post news of this soon.

Mid-Wales Gold Qualifying Success August 2013

17-21 August 2013
Probably the BEST Gold qualifying EVER! 9 groups of some 60 RGS students completed their GOLD award qualifying expedition to Mid Wales. From the outset they were organised, efficient, navigated well, left no trace at camp and, above all, were just a fabulous bunch to supervise, back up, assess and assist. Staff, external leaders, assessors, local farmers, land owners and shop keepers at the end (thanks Cwm Trannon Community Shop in Trefeglwys) all agreed that these were a superb group of students who did the school proud.
After an initial soaking on Day 1 / Night 1 we enjoyed dry and bright weather in the hills. The ground was unusually dry after the heat wave in July. Midges were almost non-existent despite some high humidity and low winds, quite extraordinary.
The groups made the most of these unusually good conditions and many seemed to simply enjoy their last ever DofE expedition. Well done … we’ll miss you!

Staff who have or are gaining experience in mountains, who are willing to rough-it wild camping and at the same time dedicate their efforts to supervising students in remote mountainous terrain and make critical safety decisions are crucial for the safe operation of these trips.  The crew we had this year were outstanding so a huge and sincere thanks to all of them!

Mid Wales RGS staff 2013

Silver DofE Practice June 2013

81 students completed their Silver training expedition June 30- July 2. In 3 days they walked over 30 miles in beautifully dry weather over the North Downs and Surrey Hills. Navigation was easy on Day1, following the North Downs Way, but proved more tricky for several groups on the route over Blackheath and the Surrey Hills on Day 2. Group speeds varied with some arriving at camp in the early afternoon, whilst others took their time and arrived 6 hours later!  No real problem in summertime but please remember that sticking closely to ETAs is important to qualify and it is not a race…  accurate navigation is the goal; if your group is going to be late to a checkpoint then call your supervisor and rearrange things.

This group was one of the most affable and spirited Silver training group of recent years. Well done and keep it up!

Silver practice expedition

4th years:

Meet RYKAS Cafe, nr Dorking on A24: Sunday 9 or 10am depending on your start time.

Check with staff before departure: be ready for full traffic lights check before departure.

Groups finish Tuesday (from 11pm-ish) North Holmwood village, south of Dorking off A24.

Parent pick ups from this location.

Bring all usual kit but especially prepare for sun and warm weather Sunday: sun cream and sun hat required.

Visit training pages for more advice

UV levels

Bronze DofE practice expedition May 5-6 2013

120 Bronze students and Award Leaders set off from RGS on Sunday for their training expeditions. Groups were impressively well organised this year and staff were pleased with their especially positive and cheerful approach to the hike. They trekked to various local campsites up to 15km away, and completed their hike on Day 2 with a 10km hike ending at Reigate Hill. Groups had some navigational hiccups but learned from their mistakes. Campcraft was generally good, though some needed to get slicker with their tent building. Bronze groups usually have a steep learning curve regarding “leaving-no-trace” at camp, especially cleaning away after cooking, but staff were impressed with the cooperative way students picked up the idea of keeping their site tidy and organised. The great weather helped but it was still noticeable how this Bronze hike went especially well. Staff were very happy with you all, well done groups!

I look forward to hearing about the Bronze, Silver and Gold canoe training which also happened this weekend: please send in a report and photos if u have any.

South Wales Gold training October 2012

Latest news from Dan Yr Ogof: sleet and snow to valley level: we made the right decision!!  50 students did their Gold dofe training expedition in South Wales, Black Mountain area – which is in the remote far west of the Brecon Beacons and not to be confused with the lower and easier Black Mountains which are to the far east of the national park.  The weather was initially good and most groups got to grips with basic mountain navigation as taught by experienced mountain leader  staff.   The trekking days were inclement and many students had their first taste of poor mountain weather conditions: well done for surviving!  Whilst many coped well, some students found themselves wet and cold and with no spare dry kit, except for spare items delivered by staff.  The final day saw temperatures dropping further, wind chill of -6C and snow falling on the mountains with a brisk northerly wind forecast to increase during the day.  Whilst the weather was not particularly bad for well equipped and prepared individuals, I took the difficult decision to bail out and come home early because the state of some students would have pushed the potential risk of hypothermia to an unacceptable level.  A point to note for assessment: it is important for students to eat plenty for breakfast to avoid endangering themselves and others.  Whilst we thoroughly instruct and prepare students for these expeditions, it is often only when we reach the mountains that they discover the importance of their training and the pre-expedition meetings.  The large dofe groups we organise for DofE, certainly bigger than those fielded by most schools,  require careful management on mountain expeditions.  My top quality staff and experienced voluntary adult expedition leaders take on an enormous responsibility looking after students in frequently arduous conditions.  If you would like to assist as an adult instructor on our expeditions then please get in touch: in particular if you have significant mountain experience and / or a mountain leader certificate or are simply enthusiastic and willing to prioritise helping students in all conditions then please email me and join the team!