Being self-sufficient means carrying all your food, making all the decisions and ensuring that you and your team are looking after themselves. While the Outdoor Education team kept a distant eye on them, the group were operating largely independently or teachers, parents and the outside world.
This experience of independence and self-reliance is the cornerstone of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition experience and fits nicely alongside the Outdoor Education program at St David’s College. The expeditions only work if everyone pulls together as a team, and this conditions this year ensured that everyone was well challenged. The weather was a classic mix of sunshine and storms, with the group surviving one night that saw other campers packing up and abandoning the site during a gale in the middle of the night!
Ian Martin who was assessing the team, commented: “These kinds of expedition are always a rewarding experience and it’s been great to see the team develop and improve over time.
"Not having a parent or teacher on hand to ask advice from is a powerful experience for them. Some of the decisions went well and others provided good (and often hilarious), ‘learning experiences’ which they are unlikely to forget for a very long time”.
Many thanks to John Tatam of the Outdoor Education Department for quietly assisting in the background – organising the group with the planning and logistics of the expedition and ensuring safety cover via some remote mountain top supervision!
Loutfy El Gohary said: "I'm from Egypt so trekking isn't really a thing there, but I absolutely had a blast and the eight of us taking part were like a family by the end.
"It was wet and cold and I fell into a waterfall but I'll never forget it, walking with my friends in the mountains was an amazing experience and I'd do it again as long as I'd could do it with those guys."
"Oliver and Scott were making Gordon Ramsay type dinners with the food they had, they'd even bought garlic!
"Jack would be eating noodles with Will in the corner of the camp, cooking on his Jet Boil and Charlie and I had a lot of very dry pasta, luckily stopped for burgers on the way home and it was one of the best meals we'd ever had."
Loufty added: "I'd like to thanks Mr Martin and Mr Tatam, it's experiences like this I would never have had if I'd stayed at my school in London."