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.

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.
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!

DofE training day at school

DofE Training Day at AGGS, February 2017
DofE Training Day at AGGS, February 2017

Over 140 pupils attended the three DofE training days run at school by Venture Out. This is an important aspect of the training for the expedition strand and the groups looked at first aid, map reading, and nutrition, amongst other things. It was a long day but the trainers were impressed by the pupil’s attitude and knowledge.

Well done to all taking part and just a reminder that the bronze practice expedition is this weekend. Details have been given to the pupils and are on this blog. The blog is the place to go for any information and has details of all expedition dates and equipment needed, details of locations for the expeditions will be put on the blog as soon as I have the information from Venture Out.