After a week when the weather flicked between warm sunshine and cold snow, the Spring season began with twenty-four students walking a ten-mile, circular walk on the North York Moors in preparation for their summer expedition as part of their Gold Duke of Edinburgh award. The weather was favourable as the Sun shone brilliantly and all but the last traces of this week’s snow hid in the shadowy corners of the landscape.
The students practised their navigational skills and pitted their fitness against the hills and moors of the NYM National Park, beginning from an Ancient Scheduled monument – an earthwork not unlike an untidy ploughed field a couple of miles from the quaint village of Snainton – and affording magnificent views and instilling an appreciation of the landscape; one of the tenets of the Duke of Edinburgh philosophy.
The students eager to re-connect with the countryside stomped their trusty boots up and down hills, navigated forests and conquered fatigue (at least until the welcome of a seat in the minibus!). They walked, made friends, and collectively discussed the location of their routes.
Flagging spirits were lifted when lunchbreak was called in a grassy field where two groups met; an anticlockwise meeting a clockwise group. Laughter was heard as stories of their respective walks were shared.
“Oh, so cute!” accompanied several other comments when the students came across a field scattered with ewes and their lambs; many were twins, some were triplets. A slight dip in the landscape hid from view the tiniest lamb until we were almost upon it. With startled bleating, it quickly rose to its feet and followed us for a few moments until its mother’s baa-ing coaxed it back.
A former Wyke student, called Ben, completed his Gold Duke of Edinburgh award some six years ago (one from our first cohort) and enjoyed his experience so much that he has since progressed to become a DofE Assessor. Ben has returned from time to time to accompany our students on their walks and expeditions, offering advice and help; a legacy of the course at the college.
The next practice walk is at the end of April when the students will practise and hone their skills further for their summer practice expedition. Their very own Gold edging nearer and nearer…