Cadets attempting their Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburghs expeditions in August attended a final training and practise weekend on 23 – 25 July. This weekend saw the cadets wild camping on the Friday and Satururday nights in the glorious landscape of the Lake District.
The first day saw the cadets navigating from the end of Wast Water in Wasdale to the popular wild camping area of Styhead Tarn at a height of over 400m above sea level. The cadets carried all they needed to survive (including tents, food, and stoves) in their rucksacks, giving a significant and relistic practise of the 3 and 4 day expeditions ahead. This also meant their culinary skills where challenged to make tasty meals from the issued ration packs.
On the Saturday a high level route was followed, with all groups ascending Great Gable (at just under 900m high) in benign conditions (a little light cloud) and then onto the twin Peaks of Kirk Fell. Whilst at Black Sail Pass the next objective of Pillar could be seen, but as soon as the groups started the weather changed dramatically and we were soon in fierce winds, thick cloud and rain, which didnt lift for the next 12 hours. Eventually the weather dictated a descent into Mossdale and a lower level wild camp that programmed.
This was just what the Instructional Staff had ordered to test admin and team skills in adverse weather conditions, a challenge to which the cadets rose. On the Sunday the teams then navigated back to the MT and returned to London, with the obligatory stop off for some welcome fast food!