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My Gold DofE Expedition

Cat vs the Turtleheads

Tony Haynes

The gold expedition started for me on a cold and wet morning at RAF Halton in the Wing Training Centre. This was the first test of both our dedication and cold weather kit!  Around 13 people turned up to the initial meeting where it was said by one of the oracles from the HBWATG that ďat least half of you wonít be on the expeditionĒ. How right they were. The final team size was 4 consisting of myself, Colin, Nick and Cat.

The next step was for the instruction on the gold DofE syllabus to start.  We had various lectures on things such as map reading, first aid, camp craft and emergency procedures.  The first few lectures covered the basic theory requirements and then after that it was time to test it all out on the first practice.

The practices covered all extremes of weather, below freezing (donít leave a wet trangia outside your tent!), extreme heat and pouring rain. The purposes of these were two fold. To allow us a chance to gel as a team and also to brush up and test all the theory learned in the class room. These practises were really good fun and gives you a good chance to test and refine your kit. (I was carrying less weight on the expedition than I was on the first practise)

Our actual expedition took place in the Snowdonia national park in Wales. Our route took us over Cadair Idris on the second day, the site of many a nightmare and fond memories for our instructors. We travelled up on a coach with another group of cadets who were bound for the summer expedition. The Sunday was used to familiarise ourselves and have a laugh when Colin got himself stuck in ďfat mans crack,Ē donít ask. The expedition started on the Monday and the first day went well and morale was high, with lots of jokes and posed moments.

The second day and Cadair brought with it low morale, difficult walking and thirst when our water ran out about 2 hours before the end.  I have never been happier to see a small stream!  The Third and fourth day were not without interest with sliding down hills through woods, coming up with our team name (DONíT ASK!!), river crossings running the last quarter of a mile to see Steve beaming at us and the knowledge that we had done it.  Our gold DofE expedition, it was great, an experience that will live with me for a long time.

Take the challenge and have a go for yourself, get in contact with HBWATG.

      Web site by: Flt Lt Geoff Bowles RAFVR(T), ML(S), SPA                                                            This page last updated on 22 November 2003