Mud was the order of the day when 85 year 9 – 10 students visited the area around Anglezarke reservoirs to complete the first practice walk of the DofE season. After some heavy rain in the last week, many of the tracks and fields has become somewhat boggy to the extent that shoes were lost and students stranded past their ankles in deep and squelchy sludge.
For those that had not chosen to heed the wise advice of wearing boots, trainers became an obstacle in themselves. Flat grips gave poor traction and poor lacing meant the mud often won.
Despite these trials the day was an overwhelming success. All of the 85 students who attended got round the 15km route in approximately the right timescale. Along the way they encountered and enjoyed open fields, animals including sheep and pigs as well as the various mounds of their waste!
For entertainment sticks were adopted and named with their journeys (and deaths) documented through posed photos. There was also a hill rolling competition and some singing of show tunes.
All of this is in preparation to take on the much bigger challenge of the two day and one night practice expeditions taking place at Waddow Hall in Lancashire over the next two months. These walks will be shorter but students will be carrying their 65l rucksack weighing approximately a third of their bodyweight and supplying them with a tent, sleeping mat, stove, clothes and food. If you want it, you have to carry it!
Key lessons learned:
• Get some decent grippy and waterproof boots
• Sort out a group you can live with
• Expect the ground to throw up a few surprises
• Pack wisely – get the bag and practice packing and carrying it – don’t let your Mum or Dad pack your bag – they won’t be carrying it!
• Pay attention to the map – errors cost you more time when you could be sat at the campsite!