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DofE Expectations V Reality

Posted on March 28th, 2018
Terra Nova tents and DofE

There is no doubt the Duke of Edinburgh’s award can inspire, encourage and give enormous confidence to young people. One of the real challenges of the award is the expedition so we asked someone who has recently completed their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to pass on their experiences!


Expectation #1 – You’re only going for short stroll in the countryside with your best mates.

Reality #1 – Your best mates will become the most annoying people ever as you all struggle together trying to climb the greener version of Mount Everest.


Expectation #2 – The weather will be really sunny and warm, so we can all cook tea, then sit in a circle and chat.

Reality #2 – It will be really windy making it feel freezing, the rain will be persistent and if you’re really unlucky it will hail just as you are tucking into your lunch in an open field.


Expectation #3 – Map reading will be so easy, so we won’t get lost.

Reality #3 – You all have no idea where you are going as you struggle to try and orientate the map in what you hope is north. Walking in any direction praying you’re going the right way.


Expectation #4 – You will look like a celebrity taking a stroll in the countryside.

Reality #4 – You catch a glimpse of  yourself in the mirror in the campsite toilets and are surprised it hasn’t smashed as you discover that you really can’t pull off the red-faced scarecrow look.


Expectation #5 – Your perfectly fitting walking boots will feel like you’re walking on clouds as you walk over the flat green fields.

Reality #5 – Your walking boots rub every inch of your feet, leaving you with one massive blister all over your foot as you trudge up the mountain that is obviously called Hellvelyn for a reason.


Expectation #6 – Your rucksack will feel as light as a feather.

Reality #6 – Your rucksack weighs about 100kg and it takes two people to lift it onto your back. But its okay because your rucksack it is packed full of sweets and chocolate ready for you to live off when you are waiting to be rescued from the top of that hill in rain and fog.


Expectation #7 – You will never regret choosing to do DofE.

Reality #7 – You come to question why you decided to sign up for DofE as you are sat in your holey waterproof in the hail trying to cook your pasta for tea. In the end, you give up and pretend that you enjoy the extra crunch of the partly cooked pasta.


Expectation #8 – My roll mat will provide me with a comfortable nights sleep.

Reality #8 – Your roll mat adds as much comfort as a thin piece of paper as you seem to have pitched your tent on the only rocky area on the campsite.


Expectation #9 – We will only be walking on lovely dry, flat fields or trail paths.

Reality #9 – You struggle to work out where the path actually is as you try and jump from rock to rock across what seems to be a never ending bog.


Expectation #10 – The signposts will always point in a clear direction and be easy to see.

Reality #10 – You scan the forest for some sort of a sign post for Sheldon, only to find that the sign is pointing upwards towards the sky, so you hopelessly look at the map for some sort of inspiration on which direction to go in.


Expectation #11 – You will have so many breaks.

Reality #11 – You check your watch as you see you are only 2 hours late to the checkpoint and ditch the break in the hope of making it to the campsite some time before night fall.


However, the reality of DofE is that whilst you might hate it at the time, looking back there are so many funny memories from the expedition. Your group becomes some of your best friends as you learn to work together. You all enjoyed the Bronze award expedition so much that you sign up to complete the Silver DofE award together ready to repeat the experience and question why you thought it was a good idea all over again..


Catgories: Adventures, Top Tips & Guides

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