D of E Students visit Peak District

14th November 2016

The Silver and Gold award students have been busy, spending a day out in the Peak District on Saturday November 12th. Here is a write up from one of our community volunteers:

On Saturday morning, Mr Meyer, the new Silver and Gold groups and most of the regular volunteers gathered together for a day’s walk, and it was great to see to see such healthy numbers (36 students).
Some of the Gold group realised how much they would miss the company of the previous year’s Gold group – they are suddenly the seniors! After the register and confirming who was in which walking group, we set off to Black Hill in the Peak District near Holmfirth (
http://www.peakdistrictinformation.com/features/blackhill.php ). Another group of walkers reported to us that the second stream on our planned route was not easy to cross but we decided to make our own decision about whether it was safe. After some exploration and discussion between the Health and Safety monitors in each group, and seeing an intrepid dog fall into the stream, we found a place where it was indeed safe to cross and we learned about boxing – counting our steps in a particular direction as we left the planned route, crossing the stream, and then counting our total steps in the other direction (whether next to the stream or further up the hill) on the other side to regain the path. It worked!

We were fortunate that the rain cleared up just as we arrived, and Mr Meyer saw the top of Black Hill in the sunshine for the first time in his four visits there. It was pretty, but a few people agreed that it’s not as beautiful as the Yorkshire Dales, where the Assessed expedition took place in the summer – that was spectacular.

We found a sheltered place for lunch: in November, it inevitably soon becomes cold once you stop walking. After a brief break we did some exercises about 6-figure grid references, bearings and distances, learning that to maintain a consistent estimate of distance travelled, it is a good idea to have different people counting steps to correct for differences in stride length. For the last mile or two, we realised where most of last night’s heavy rain had ended up. After plodging through the clarts, we were so filthy that we had to be hosed down before we were allowed into the house. Possibly the floors of the minibuses needed a similar treatment.

This day was a good opportunity to meet the new participants, practise navigation skills, blow away the cobwebs, enjoy the beauty of our country, and test our fitness and our equipment. This time no-one’s boots self-destructed – most expeditions see the demise of a least one pair. It’s still quite a long wait until the next expedition, which will be camping in quite a different part of the world. I’m sure we are all very much looking forward to the camaraderie and laughter we will have and the lifelong memories we will make in that lovely part of Yorkshire.

Special thanks to Mr Meyer for his time and organisation, and his tireless enthusiasm for DofE.