1220 (March) Squadron recently conducted a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition in the Lake District. Three 1220 cadets were joined by two members of 73 (Huntingdon) Squadron to make the team of five.
When leaving Cambridgeshire the weather was wet and miserable. After several hours of driving the team turned off the M6 and the weather became completely different with blue skies and brilliant sunshine. This is rather unusual but it lifted the spirits of the team who then began to look forward to what the next few days would bring them.
The evening before the expedition was spent completing final preparations, organising food and tents that would be shared between them and making final checks of the planned route. A Duke of Edinburgh’s Award assessor from the Lake District panel also visited them to meet them and ensure they complied with the rules of the scheme.
The four day expedition started near Ambleside and took them over Loughrigg, towards the Langdales.They then changing direction to descend the Easedale valley and then ascended to Grisedale Tarn where they spent their first night. This is a popular site for wild camping and there were a few other tents already pitched when they arrived. Nevertheless, they found a decent spot and settled down to cook their evening meal.
When waking the next day they found that there was a weather inversion and that they were above the clouds, with only blue sky above them. It was a beautiful view to start what was their favourite day. From Grisedale Tarn they ascended the Hellvelyn Ridge and walked all the way to Sticks Pass before then turning towards Ullswater for the lower level route to their campsite.
Day three took them over the old coach road into Thirlmere and it was yet another glorious day for walking. They made good time this day which meant they could spend time at the campsite nursing blisters. They also ate as much of their food as possible as they only had one more day of walking to complete.
On their final day they walked north, skirted underneath Blencathra and finished with a small up and down into Mungrisdale. Again they made good time but they were pleased to see the supervising staff waiting for them at the end with cake and a drink. Amazingly, they completed a four day, fifty mile route through the Lake District without needing to use the waterproofs they were carrying.
Cpl Joe Williams (16) said “I really enjoyed my expedition. We had some amazing views and were really lucky with the conditions. We carried extra water as we drank more than usual but that was much better than having to wear waterproofs if it rained. I think we also made some good food choices as we ate something different each night which meant we enjoyed the food more.”