For our Silver and Gold DofE expeditions twenty two of us canoed for a week along the picturesque River Severn, carrying everything we needed to live for four days.
Over the course of our expedition we felt that our teams went through challenges that made us stronger and stronger, and as a result our teamwork and leadership skills have improved massively. We spent two days training and three (or four, for Gold) days expeditioning. Read on to see how everyone found the adventure.
“The day before we left for DofE I was absolutely bricking it. From planning the logistics of meals to how we would work with two extra Explorers everything seemed really overwhelming. However, I have never been sadder that a camp was over and despite two barrels of soaking kit, sleeping in a poo-filled sheep field, fishing HUGE spiders out of sinks and near-constant back pain I honestly enjoyed this week more than any summer holiday. Our meals all went pretty seamlessly, we managed to get on the river at nearly the right time each day and I felt so much closer with everyone on my team. Thank you to Marlon for organising us and to my teammates for just being amazing, thank you. I’m so proud of myself.”
“My expedition was better than anything I could have imagined. Beforehand I was thinking “This is my qualifying expedition – this is important” and “I’ve just got to get through this” but as soon as I met up with everyone there it was just day after day of excitement and fun! I arrived on the Sunday and got straight in with our training where we were ferry gliding across rapids and honestly the capsize was the best part! Very refreshing!”
“Our team were really making the most of having time outdoors on the River Severn together.”
“The first day of the expedition was meant to start early, but after a few people slept through their alarm we were already half an hour late. Despite this, we quickly got the tents down and began trying to launch the canoes. The bank was extremely steep, muddy, and slippery resulting in many falls. On the bright side, the water at the bottom of the slope was very shallow, ensuring that we did not get too wet this early in the day. After this we set off, enjoying the fast current and gentle meanders until we reached Buildwas.”
“The campsite at Buildwas was lovely. There was a large, sandy beach with a large shallow area where we could wash and clean equipment. After some delicious pasta and a very long walk to find the tap, we went to sleep. Wild camping each night was really enjoyable; being able camp with so much freedom without another human in sight, and only your teammates and sheep for company, while looking forward to the next day of paddling.”
“When we arrived at camp each night after a long day of paddling we all had to make one last push to finish the day. Unloading the boats and then moving them to a safe location for the night is always difficult because you’re quite tired from the day but is necessary. Once we unloaded the boats each evening and moved everything to a suitable position we usually rested for 15 minutes before putting up tents, cooking dinner and sorting out kit. We spent time thinking about how the day had been and planned for later. Later in the evening we’d enjoy a nice meal before a few of us would wash up and then we’d be finished for the day.”
“Our second night on expedition was by far the best as we had a lot of time to relax and reflect too and how we’ve done (under our stunning tarp) and we all agreed that this expedition was really smooth and honestly couldn’t have been much better.”
“In summary, although we had some challenging ups and downs (one of which was literally being face down in the river at one point) our DofE week was an exciting and fun way to spend time together and appreciate the beautiful scenery of the river Severn. My favourite part of this expedition and experience was laughing and joking around with my team mates and being surrounded by nature and animals – which is easy when you are camping in a sheep field each night! It’s not particularly glamorous I suppose, but it was a superb antidote to life in London, and it was also very satisfying to work as a team to accomplish a common goal.”
By Oscar, Phoebe, Mia, Molly, James and Amy