Silver DofE Canoeing Expedition, Aug 2012

Throughout the past year, we have been attending Duke of Edinburgh training meetings for canoeing expeditions. It was through this we developed the necessary skills to complete three days in the wilderness on the River Wye and paddle a total of 90 kilometres. We decided to canoe rather than walk the expedition to have a contrast to our normal method of travel and enrich our skills.  

On the 30th of March our team of six planned to attend a training weekend at Longridge camp site, however a couple of weeks prior our team was struck with disaster. One of our team members, David had broke his arm badly and had to have surgery to put metal plates in. Not only that but another team member, Omar, had broken his collar bone a few days after David! Faced with the tragedy the the remaining team members attended the weekend with Omar and David turning up for parts of the training they could still fulfil. Following the training days one of the team members realised that they would not be able to attend the final expedition, but the rest of five team members pressed on.

Near the end of July our team had its official practice expedition on Basingstoke Canal, unfortunately due to the fact that we only had five team members we had to have three men in a two man canoe. Undaunted, we persisted and made it to our camp site in good time. We continued the next day finishing the practice expedition.

On the 25th of August we set off to Bilbins camp site near Ross-on-Wye. On the first of the few days prior to our expedition we had a day of white water training on the Symonds Yat rapids, a day walking in the Brecon Beacons and a day climbing at the Llangorse Climbing Centre.

On the 29th August we set off from Hereford Rowing Club on our expedition. The first day started off with a sullen mood as the rain was pouring down all morning, however in the afternoon as the weather brightened up, so did our moods. We arrived at the camp site a little early and set up camp leaving our tents to dry for a while making the most of the good weather. Later we went to bed early exhausted by our days work.

On the next day the rain of the first morning had caused the water level to rise. Just as we were setting off a man from a canoeing company decided to pull us of the water, warning us that his company were taking people who had rented canoes from them off the water. After contacting our assessor to talk to him about the situation, we chatted to our assessor explaining that we were confident in our abilities and so we decided to carry on our expedition. The increased speed of river and the nice weather encouraged us to continue on so that despite the delay we once again managed to arrive a little early. We set up camp quickly and proceeded to relax for the rest of the evening playing card games.

Finally on our last day we set of down the river after quiet a late start due a good lie-in. We powered along the river finishing our expedition at around 4p.m, we loaded the canoes up and one of the leaders kindly bought us cake and drink at a café and we headed back to Biblins.

By David, Xander, Theo, Omar and Alex.

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