A recap of 2019’s Duke of Edinburgh practice trip
The Duke of Edinburgh practice trip was an adventure
written by Alisa Pokhadun
I was lucky to take part in the DofE practice expedition with the EF Academy Oxford team. We had six amazing people in our team and the expeditions lasted for three days. The aim of this expedition was to get some experience before the main trip. They taught us how to do things like put tents up in the rain and how to cook food without any special equipment. What I really liked on this trip is the fact that you actually could feel that you were a real adventurer.
The first day was the hardest for all the participants because it was the longest route during the expedition. It had a lot of hills and we were all carrying really heavy backpacks with all of our stuff in them. But all of this hardship was worth it. What can be better than traveling with your friends with a lot of music, food and amazing scenery of Great Britain?
I am still so excited about this expedition because I’d never done anything like this. It was just an amazing trip with my friends as we walked through indescribable landscapes. After this trip, I feel that I’ve become more proficient and skilled. I’ve gotten to know my classmates much better and now when we see each other every day we can still share our emotions from this event.
While I’m here, I want to say thanks to our teacher Barbara and supervisor Marc, who helped and supported us every step of the way!
A journal of the last day of our practice expedition: Day 3
written by Aleksandr Mednikov
5:30 AM. Fresh start.
This morning was a bit better than the previous one. From our experience last night, we knew how harsh the night could be, so we were prepared this time. Waking up to clouds at dawn was a bit unpleasant, but we faced it with dignity and were prepared and dedicated to finish the trip in a good state of mind (even if components of our bodies felt like they were nearly broken).
7:30 AM. Moving out.
After a light breakfast, we were ready to go before the rain started. Even though we had to wake up at 5 am, we did our best to keep our morale high and cover as much ground as possible before the rain started.
9:00 AM. First time on our own.
Our coach left us after checking our skills and making sure that we were prepared for the real expedition. So, my friend Wells and I took the lead from that point on, and with only one insignificant mishap we reached our destination. Our coach had been waiting for us there and congratulated us at the first checkpoint. After a little break, we continued our journey.
11:30 AM. An unexpected obstacle.
After a short lunch in the forest where we were able to enjoy some of the most beautiful landscapes we have ever seen, we moved on just before the rain started. We were prepared for this and carried on our journey; however, the thing we were not prepared for was a little injury that our leader, Wells, suffered. He stepped on a spike and it pierced through his shoe. Because we couldn’t take it out under the abominable rain, I broke the spikier bit of it and covered the rest with plaster which allowed our leader to carry on his journey.
12:00 PM. Lost in a forest.
After Wells injury, I partly took over navigation part of our journey and took a wrong turn by mistake, leading us the wrong way. However, I was able to realize the mistake and could take us back a few hundred meters, taking a right turn. After that, Wells took back the navigation role for the last few kilometers of our journey.
13:00 PM. Finish line.
Finally, we reached the end of our journey. Alex (we had 3 different Alex’s in the team. Aleks, Alex and Alex S) saved our morale and tried to boost it to the highest level with a bright smile and cheerful words. Seeing a smile on her face was just like a light at the end of the dark tunnel. These kinds of moments united us like nothing in the world could at that moment. We knew that we were lucky to have each other and even though this journey was nearly over, we were happy that we did it together as a team. Finally, we reached the final checkpoint where we were very grateful to see our supervisor, Barbara, waiting for us. It was an amazing end to an amazing journey.
About the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award: The DofE is the world’s leading youth achievement award. There are three levels which, when successfully completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold award. Each level has a volunteering, physical, skills and expedition requirement, which get progressively more demanding. There is also a residential requirement for the Gold DofE.