All posts by Mandy Hickman

Azul Wasi

We’re back from Azul Wazi! The owner of the home, Alcides, visited us on Monday night to brief us and despite him not speaking a word of English and Erin thinking he was a bus driver, we got lots of useful info.

We’ve had a brilliant time – the boys all greeted us with hugs as we left the bus and after setting up our tents, we were quickly playing a game of football with the kids. Needless to say they beat us! In the afternoon we started our work building a security fence, making up concrete in big piles and carrying it down the hill in a chain gang. We definitely built up our upper body strength while we were there! In the evening we played football again as it got dark then cooked dinner by our tents.

On Wednesday some of us separated rocks for the wall and mixed concrete. At lunch Alcides bought us lovely sweet bread and cheese (although we couldn’t finish it all).

  • We were all very sad to leave. The boys were really welcoming and we’ve become quite close to them. We contemplated taking Percy home with us! After lunch we had a final meeting where we gave them our gifts and they presented us with little bags and purses. After a final game of football we said our goodbyes and returned tired and happy to Cusco, where we are resting before Puerto Maldonado.

Cusco

Continue reading Cusco

Not long now!

11 hours!

Gold Practice Letter from Venture -Out

Tel: 07980 306869 | Email: kevin@venture-out.co.uk | Web: www.venture-out.co.uk
Dear Parent / Guardian

Your child is due to attend their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Training Expedition on 7th to 9th July. I’m contacting you to confirm the arrangements. If they no can longer attend please let the school know ASAP as this has an impact on the viability of their group.

I will be coordinating the event and will remain in the area all the time to support the staff. Their trainer for the 3 days will be Caroline Coombes who trained them on their last event. I’ll be on-duty overnight on the campsites and should be your ‘First contact’ if you need to get in touch with your child. I’d remind you that there is often patchy signal in the area that we will be working, and I may not get a message from you for hours. You can leave a message and I’ll return it when I pick it up. You should also not be asking your young people to be ringing you to keep them updated. Assume ‘No news is good news’.

During this training expedition, their trainer will stay with them most of the first two days, training their navigation, group skills and campcraft to a higher level and risk assessing them. On most days, they will be out for at least 8 hours and be walking at least 18km and ascending about 400m. Only on the first day will they not have to carry the group kit (tents, cookers, fuel). Please ensure they have understood that this training is to be harder than the Silver training they attended and that their fitness, equipment and food need to be good.

Please ensure they are bringing a watch – not just a clock on their phone. They need a wrist watch to help them time their walking and is an essential part of navigating and not getting lost.

Drop-off and pick up point
They will meet me and their trainer, and walk from here in a circular route for 3 days to end up back here. They will stay at 2 different campsites on their walk.

Stainforth Village Car Park
The Hollies, Stainforth, Settle BD24 9QD
Click here for map

Friday morning drop off time: 9:30am
Sunday afternoon pick up: 5:00pm.
They may be later or earlier, please understand that they may get lost or be slower on their last day as they will not be walking with the trainer that day. (Remote supervision)

Getting lost – we have had problems recently with parents getting lost on the way to the drop off / pick up because they were using Google Maps and not a dedicated SatNav or SatNav app. Google Maps can struggle in the countryside as it relies on you receiving a 4G signal to update the map position. Please take precautions to download that area. Please also be aware that postcodes are not an accurate place finder in the countryside, they can take you to a 1km area but not necessarily to the exact point (houses and farms are a lot more spread out in the countryside). You must check the map before you set off and print it out.

Campsites
These are the campsites we are using in case you need to pick up a child.

1st night – Goredale Hall Campsite
Gordale House, Malham, Skipton BD23 4DL

2nd Night – Littondale Park, Hawkswick, Skipton BD23 5PX

Mobile phones
The Duke of Edinburgh Organisation recommend that we do not allow participants to have mobile phones whilst on expedition (day or night). There are a number of reasons for this:
The participants are encouraged to ‘un-plug’ from the outside world and focus on becoming part of their team by socialising and supporting each other.
Mobile phones don’t stand up well to rain, mud, being crushed in pockets. They run out of charge and there are no charging facilities on campsites.
There is patchy coverage in the countryside, and batteries die and so if you are waiting on a phone call from your young person and don’t receive it or you are trying to ring them to check on them, and they don’t call back – you get anxious for no reason.
For these reasons, we have always run and supervised expeditions in such a way that mobile reception is not required for supervision or safety:

Sometimes it is necessary for me to contact home if a young person takes ill or has forgotten equipment. I have all the emergency contact details that you provided the school with and can contact parents if I need to. You can contact me directly on the number above – please only do this if it is an emergency, and remember, I too will have patchy reception and so may not get straight back to you.

Thanks for your support.

Kevin Beattie
Programme Manager

Bronze Final expedition

Please see information below from Kevin at Venture-out

Dear Parent / Guardian

Your child is due to attend their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Qualifying Expedition on 17th & 18th June, Sat and Sunday. I’m contacting you to confirm the arrangements. If they no can longer attend please let the school know ASAP as this has an impact on the viability of their group.

I will be coordinating the event and will remain in the area all the time to support the staff. I’ll be on-duty overnight on the campsite and should be your ‘First contact’ if you need to get in touch with your child. I’d remind you that there is often patchy signal in the area that we will be working. You can leave a message and I’ll return it when I pick it up. You should also not be asking your young people to be ringing you to keep them updated.  Assume  ‘No news is good news’.

On the Qualifier, they be out for 6 hours, walking for at least 3.5 of these, whilst carrying their own stuff, plus the group kit (tents, cookers, fuel), roughly 13kg bags for many of them. There will be no trainer with them this time, but they will meet staff at regular points along their route (every 30-45 minutes). This is called ‘Remote supervision’ and is a requirement of the Award. Be reassured that staff are always nearby, groups are given an emergency phone with our numbers to ring if there is an incident or they are seriously lost. And my company has invested in phones that have a GPS beacon on them for locating the rare really, really lost group.

 

On the training weekend, each group had a trainer for the 2 days who will have done a learning review with them on the last day – and all students will have gone away with a list of things that they needed to do differently on the Qualifier, maybe better equipment, food, fitness or navigation. Please ask them what their individual needs were and support them in improving these areas. Please ensure they are bringing a watch – not just a clock on their phone. They need a wrist watch to help them time their walking and is an essential part of navigating and not getting lost. We have found that young people often don’t want to ask their parents to buy new/replacement stuff for them as they want to impress them with their independence and prove that they can do this. (and that they didn’t get their first choice of kit wrong).

 

Photos of the Training event are available on our Facebook page and I’ll post photos of the Qualifier here too on Sat and Sunday evenings. (click here)

 

 

Saturday morning drop off: 9:00am prompt.

Charlesworth Village Green, 35 Marple Rd., Charlesworth, Glossop. SK13 5DA  (click here for map)

They will meet their assessment team, be given their group equipment and maps and set off walking to the campsite.

 

Sunday afternoon pick up: 4:00pm.

Buxworth Basin, Brookside, Buxworth, High Peak SK23 7NE   (click here for map)

There is limited parking here and there is a pub car park. If you park here please go in and buy and ice cream or a coffee to keep the landlord happy.  Thanks

Your child’s group may be late so please be patient and remember that if you are early you will have to wait until they are dismissed by their Assessor at the end of their debrief.

 

Campsites

These are the campsites we are using in case you need to pick up a child. It is the same one that they stayed at for the training weekend but they will be walking into to it on Sat.

Linnet Clough Scout Camp

Gibb Ln, Mellor, Stockport SK6 5NB

Campsite has showers. No phone reception as this is a narrow valley.

 

Mobile phones

The Duke of Edinburgh Organisation recommend that we do not allow participants to have mobile phones whilst on expedition (day or night). There are a number of reasons for this:

The participants are encouraged to ‘un-plug’ from the outside world and focus on becoming part of their team by socialising and supporting each other.

Mobile phones don’t stand up well to rain, mud, being crushed in pockets. They run out of charge and there are no charging facilities on campsites.

There is patchy coverage in the countryside, and batteries die and so if you are waiting on a phone call from your young person and don’t receive it or you are trying to ring them to check on them, and they don’t call back – you get anxious for no reason.

For these reasons, we have always run and supervised expeditions in such a way that mobile reception is not required for supervision or safety:

Sometimes it is necessary for me to contact home if a young person takes ill or has forgotten equipment. I have all the emergency contact details that you provided the school with and can contact parents if I need to. You can contact me directly on the number above – please only do this if it is an emergency, and remember, I too will have patchy reception and so may not get straight back to you.

Thanks for your support.

Kevin Beattie      07980 306869

Programme Manager

 

Change of Dates.

The travel company has just been in touch with a change of dates for our Easter trip. We will now be leaving on the 1st of April (flight time currently 11:20 am subject to change, meeting at Manchester at about 8am) and coming back at about noon on the 11th of April. We will now be travelling from Manchester and will not have a coach trip after our long flight home.  I am sorry if anyone has made plans for the Easter weekend.  This change means that not only do we not have a coach trip on either side of our flights, but also it is a little cheaper. I was about to ask for extra payments due to the increase in costs and exchange rate but now will probably not have to do this.
Pupils will have to be dropped off and picked up from Manchester airport rather than at school.

Silver Practice Expedition

Please see the information below from Kevin at Venture-Out.

Dear Parent / Guardian

Your child is due to attend their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Training Expedition on 9th June to 11th Friday to Sunday. I’m contacting you to confirm the arrangements. If they no can longer attend please let the school know ASAP as this has an impact on the viability of their group.

I will be coordinating the event and will remain in the area all the time to support the staff. I’ll be on-duty overnight on the campsites and should be your ‘First contact’ if you need to get in touch with your child. I’d remind you that there is often patchy signal in the area that we will be working, (possibly no signal on the first campsite and none on the second one). You can leave a message and I’ll return it when I pick it up. You should also not be asking your young people to be ringing you to keep them updated. Assume ‘No news is good news’. (07980306869)

During the training expedition, each group will be assigned their own trainer who will stay with them most of the first two days, training their navigation, group skills and campcraft to a higher level and risk assessing them. As this is a training course, the focus will be on training input and not necessarily on doing big distances each day with full kit. But on most days, they will be out for at least 7 hours and be walking at least 12km and ascending about 400m. Only on the first day will they not have to carry the group kit (tents, cookers, fuel). Please ensure they have understood that this training is to be harder than Bronze Qualifier and that their fitness, equipment and food need to be good.

Please ensure they are bringing a watch – not just a clock on their phone. They need a wrist watch to help them time their walking and is an essential part of navigating and not getting lost. Please also check that the equipment that they had from Bronze is still appropriate, they may have grown out of a few things. We have found that young people often don’t want to ask their parents to buy new/replacement stuff for them as they want to impress them with their independence and prove that they can do this. (and that they didn’t get their first choice of kit wrong)

Friday morning drop off: 9:30am prompt.
Tesco Superstore, Bridgemont, Whaley Bridge, High Peak SK23 7PB (click here for map)
They will meet their trainer, and walk from here towards Buxton.

Sunday afternoon pick up: 4:00pm.
Errowood Hall Car Park (at Errwood Reservoir). Buxton SK17 6SX (click here for map)
They may be later than this so please be patient and remember that if you are early you will have to wait until they are dismissed by their trainer at the end of their debrief.

Google Maps Alert – we have had problems recently with parents getting lost on the way to the drop off / pick up because they were using Google Maps and not a dedicated SatNav or SatNav app. Google Maps can struggle in the countryside as it relies on you receiving a 4G signal to update the map position. Please take precautions to download that area.

Campsites
These are the campsites we are using in case you need to pick up a child.

1st night – Cold Spring Farm
64 Manchester Rd, Buxton SK17 6SS
(click here for map)
Campsite has showers

2nd Night – Gradbach Scout Campsite
Peter Watson Camp Site, Old Hall Farm, Peak District National Park, Quarnford SK17 0SU
(Click here for map)
Campsite has showers. No phone reception as this is a narrow valley.

Mobile phones
The Duke of Edinburgh Organisation recommend that we do not allow participants to have mobile phones whilst on expedition (day or night). There are a number of reasons for this:
The participants are encouraged to ‘un-plug’ from the outside world and focus on becoming part of their team by socialising and supporting each other.
Mobile phones don’t stand up well to rain, mud, being crushed in pockets. They run out of charge and there are no charging facilities on campsites.
There is patchy coverage in the countryside, and batteries die and so if you are waiting on a phone call from your young person and don’t receive it or you are trying to ring them to check on them, and they don’t call back – you get anxious for no reason.
For these reasons, we have always run and supervised expeditions in such a way that mobile reception is not required for supervision or safety:

Sometimes it is necessary for me to contact home if a young person takes ill or has forgotten equipment. I have all the emergency contact details that you provided the school with and can contact parents if I need to. You can contact me directly on the number above – please only do this if it is an emergency, and remember, I too will have patchy reception and so may not get straight back to you.

Thanks for your support.

Kevin Beattie
Programme Manager

Bronze Practice Expedition

Well done to all of those who took part on Saturday. The weather was varying and I know the heat on Sunday would have made for some uncomfortableness, especially with a pack on! You must remember to wear hats, use sun cream, and drink water. Don’t be scared of taking off and putting on layers throughout your walk and a long sleeved shirt is really useful when the sun is out.
Kevin Beatty from Venture-Out has given me a link for some photos he took over the two days.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Venture.Out.co.uk/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1527897927261069
In your groups it would be useful to think about how your cooking worked and whether you need to change ideas for food. Also think about what your leader spoke to you about over the weekend.
All bronze groups should have an idea about their project and you should enter your group names and aims and objectives of your project and expeditions onto your expedition part of your eDofE account.
Well done!

IMPORTANT:Bronze Practice Exped Information

For Bronze Participants, please see the letter below from Kevin at Venture Out.

Hi
Your child is due to attend their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Training Expeditions on 6th & 7th May. By now they should have gathered all the equipment and food they need. I’m contacting you to confirm the arrangements.

Venue for weekend:
Linnet Clough Scout Camp
Gibb Ln, Mellor, Stockport SK6 5NB
Sat morning drop off: 9:00am prompt.
Sunday afternoon pick up: 4:30pm

This is a large campsite but the lane to it is narrow and the car park small. We encourage all parents to offer car share to minimize traffic and congestion. Please also remember that Google Maps may not work in the countryside due to poor network connection.

The groups will have a trainer assigned to them who will be with them at all times from breakfast to evening. Training them in camping, cooking, navigation, walking and emergency scenarios, in preparation for their assessed expedition.

Mobile phones
The Duke of Edinburgh Organisation recommend that we do not allow participants to have mobile phones whilst on expedition (day or night). The reasons for this:
The participants are encouraged to ‘un-plug’ from the outside world and focus on becoming part of their team by socialising and supporting each other.
Mobile phones don’t stand up well to rain, mud, being crushed in pockets. They run out of charge and there are no charging facilities on campsites.
There is patchy coverage in the countryside, and batteries die and so if you are waiting on a phone call from your young person and don’t receive it or you are trying to ring them to check on them, and they don’t call back – you get anxious for no reason.
For these reasons, we have always run and supervised expeditions in such a way that mobile reception is not required for supervision or safety:
The group are given an emergency phone with the supervisors’ numbers and have been taught what to do as a group in an emergency. We assume that they won’t be able to use it and so our supervisors trail the groups and meet up with them every hour to check in on them.
Sometimes it is necessary for me to contact home if a young person takes ill or has forgotten equipment. I have all the emergency contact details that you provided the school with and can contact parents if I need to. You can contact me directly on 07980 306869 – please only do this if it is an emergency, and remember, I too will have patchy reception and so may not get straight back to you.

If they need to take photos, then they should come with a camera, or maybe their phone but with the SIM card removed.
Thanks for your understanding and support.

Kevin Beattie
Programme Manager

Information needed!

Please would everyone ensure that payments are up to date,  all pupils should bring in a signed copy of the code of conduct as well as a photocopy of their passport.  This should go in an envelope with the pupils name on for attention of Miss Hickman.  This can be handed in at reception or to me directly.

Code of conduct sheets can be found in:

Pupil Read-DofE-Skiing-Code of conduct