Duke of Edinburgh – Bronze Practice Adventurous Journey

Duke of Edinburgh – Bronze Practice Adventurous Journey

In preparation for their assessed Bronze Adventurous Journey, Year 9 and 10 Duke of Edinburgh students set out on Friday 9th February on their practice expedition to the Kiulu Valley.

A 16km hike through beautiful countryside along the Kiulu River (including a number of thrilling rope bridge crossings!) lay in store, followed by an overnight stay at ‘Zip Borneo – The Adventure Centre’, with a final 8km leg of walking to come on Saturday.  All in all a challenging test of students’ navigation and teamwork skills – made all the harder by the weight of the bags on their backs!

The first day saw a number of blisters, heavy bags and scorching heat take their toll, as the groups spread out on their journey, all coming through checkpoints at different times, but Duke of Edinburgh expeditions are not designed to be a race; rather a test of walking at a steady pace from A to B using critical navigational decisions on the route. None of the groups disappointed with this, with all eventually coming into camp in decent time and good spirits.

Nothing is more welcome after a long hike than a nice bit of food and a cosy bed, and to this end, all teams produced ‘nutritious’ (carbs and carbs!) meals to aid their recovery and prepare them for another hot day on Saturday, and pitched sturdy tents for their night of sleep next to the Kiulu River. When it came to lights-out, the site was silent, save a few snores; a sure sign of a day of hard walking!

On Saturday morning, as part of their purpose work, all students were invited to take part in activities such as Zip-Lining across the river, Wall Climbing, Abseiling and High Ropes; a lovely way to start the second day!  Once this was completed, however, there remained one final task: walk another 8km in the sweltering heat…

Day Two’s walk saw students work far more efficiently and effectively in their teams, and all groups were seen to have read their maps and route-cards far more thoroughly, the result being that all groups got to the finish point in Tamparuli either ahead of or bang on schedule! A job well done!

Duke of Edinburgh Adventurous Journeys serve to educate students in common sense navigation and mindful exploration of the environment, along with campcraft skills which will stand all participants in great stead not only on their CV, but also in future life and travels.  Every skill learnt here is invaluable.

A huge well done to all students involved, and also enormous thanks to the teachers who have worked hard with the groups since the beginning of the school year, and who gave up their weekend to walk with and assist the students on their adventure: Ms Tully, Mrs Colbeck, Mr Crewdson, Mr Withers, Mr Walker (for providing invaluable support in his truck at checkpoints/water stops) and finally to Duke of Edinburgh leader Ms McNutt for arranging and organising such a fantastic experience for the students.

Next-up – the real thing.  Bronze Adventurous Journey! Bring it on!