On the 21st and the 22nd of January, 135 pupils prepared for their DofE bronze expedition, involving 2 days and 1 night trekking around Guildford.

            As we arrived, we were given the task of planning a route, guiding us from Shalford Station to Besley Copse, taking us through Blackheath Common, past the War memorial and Fairley Green using an OS map,a compass and a marker. We split into 2 groups, each with their own map, with one team plotting a route from Shalford Station to Besley Copse and the other team calculating the journey back. We also calculate the time needed to get there, using the estimate of 10 minutes for a kilometre, as well as adding on time to consider the elevation using contour lines and for any breaks. Watching useful clips, we learnt how to calculate how far we were travelling by countering paces and looking at natural landmarks around us for guidance, with our instructor, John, recounting the story of a team who had gotten lost by incorrectly counting their steps. This also taught us the important lesson of temawork and the importance of working together by not relying solely on one person, instead rotating duties throughout the team We were forbidden from using roads due to the danger they posess.

               On the second day, we were told of what equipment was needed and what to bring in our rucksack with our instructor telling us the story of a child whose mother who packed 12 litres of bottled water in her child's rucksack and had discloated his shoulder carrying it. Food was also an important topic of discussion, as we were taught how to cook food on the stove and not to bring a whole cooked chicken as a child on the past once had. Mothers may have good intentions but we must also learn to be independant and come to informed decisions.

             Overall, from this weekend, I truly realised the importance of the DofE programme and the necessary values it instilled in us such as teamwork and independence. Speaking to my fellow teammate, Boyan Xiang, he told me that "I can't wait for the expedition". We all left as changed and improved people, with a new perspective on life and with a single aim: to complete our Bronze expedition!