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Silver practice expedition, Forest of Dean, April 2015

The Silver practice took place the first weekend back after Easter, and involved 161 students from Year 11. They enjoyed fabulous weather in the Forest of Dean, but tough navigation in the dense woodland. After a hands-on training walk with a member of staff, they set off into the forest alone on Days 2 and 3, with the hope of seeing their supervisor occasionally through the day for a water top up and some moral support. All students did brilliantly, learning new navigation techniques and picking up top tips from staff on campcraft as well. I am confident that we will not see on the Qualifying Silver expeditions anyone bringing along a mallet, or strapping an unprotected sleeping bag to the outside of their rucksack!

For some students, the most memorable part of their three days in the Forest of Dean will be toasting marshmallows on the camp fire. For others, it will be the perilous bridge over the River Wye. Some will remember fondly exploring the depths of the long and dark cave, whilst others will cherish the memory of the stunning view from the Symonds Yat viewpoint. But all will remember the contrast between the freezing cold nights and the warmth of the support from their friends and their supervisors.