More than 20 College students undertook the qualifying expedition for their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at the end of September. Over the four-day expedition in the Snowdonia National Park area, all 22 candidates were assessed on their various purposes, camp craft, journeying, orientation and navigation skills by a National Assessor, who was extremely impressed with their skills and conduct throughout their qualifying expedition.

The candidates journeyed over 70km carrying all of their own kit and sufficient food to last the whole expedition in a challenge that truly stretches all that undertake their Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award, testing both mental and physical limits.

The Snowdonia Mountain Railway runs through the picturesque but challenging hiking paths

College students have been embarking on their Gold Award and planning for their Gold Practice and Qualifying expeditions for the past 12 months, attending sessions each Thursday evening in their own time after the College day. The routes that they planned covered various terrains in the National Park area and each was demanding - as were the changing climate and weather conditions!

Oliver Hilton gives the experience his seal of approval

The College’s D of E coordinator, Steve Hafford, said: “I’m extremely proud of the candidates achievements of successfully completing their qualifying expedition, and of the members of staff involved, without whom the candidates would not be able to undertake such adventures. Once the candidates’ aches, pains and blisters have subsided, they’ll be able to complete their other sections of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold Award which include Skill & Physical, Volunteering and Residential sections. You can keep up with the team’s new DofE blog or you can follow them on Twitter @BSFCDofE.”

The first evening's campsite

The Duke of Edinburgh Award has been offered to students at Birkenhead Sixth Form College for over 20 years within the Clubs & Societies programme. It is run by experienced National Assessors and Expedition Leaders from the College’s teaching staff . The team guides candidates through the preparation and development of the necessary skills to complete both the practice and qualifying expeditions and give help and guidance for the other sections of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award.