Academy students strike Gold in the Lake District

Scouting for Gold.
Scouting for Gold.

Fourteen Ripley St Thomas CE Academy students have completed their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award expedition in the Lake District.

The group trekked through the Buttermere valley, climbed up Scarth Gap and crossed the Black Sail Pass in very challenging conditions.

Despite the foul weather, sickness, blisters and 4am starts, all 14 students passed and are expecting to collect their awards from Buckingham Palace in 2014.

For the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, students are set the task of fulfilling nine to 18 months of physical, skill and volunteer activities.

In addition they have to participate in a four night residential and two four day/three night 60km hiking and camping expeditions.

Their first expedition was a four day practice trek around the Littledale countryside in the Trough of Bowland, scaling up Grit Fell and Clougha Pike.

With help from Chris Hale and the other staff they managed to survive, learning valuable lessons for their final expedition when they had to be self-reliant.

After brushing up on their compass bearing and map reading skills it was finally time for the long awaited assessed expedition.

Two groups of Year 13s travelled north to Torpenhow to have the ‘last supper’ and a final kit check, before a last dry night’s sleep.

The next morning, they said their farewells to Chris and the team and set off walking.

By the morning of day two, their rucksacks felt like they had doubled in weight, as they had absorbed so much rain water!

A soggy yet scenic 15km long trek led us to their second rather rocky campsite in the Buttermere Valley.

Day three was mountain day. A vertical climb up Scarth Gap, between Haystacks and Buttermere Fell was just the warm up.

The real test was the second scramble up to Black Sail Pass, which they slid down the other side of!

Night three was spent in a much more comfortable National Trust campsite, where they were spoilt by having hot showers and electric hand dryers!

The pupils spent most of day four wading through flooded rivers between tarns before descending to the finish line at Dalegarth Station.