Thirteen Year 11 Students embarked on their Silver Practice Expedition over the weekend. The two teams set off at half hour intervals from Ardingly Reservoir before heading into the beautiful, autumnal Ashdown Forest. The teams were able to practice navigating through dense forest and open, hilly heathland. This really tested the teams, as many had not experienced such challenging geographical surroundings to navigate in. Having covered roughly 11 kilometres in half a day, the teams arrived to set up camp at dusk, before cooking the meals they had planned, bought and carried with them.
Day two presented the teams with another day of navigation, map reading and developing their ability to communicate effectively and work as part of a team. The teams were working fantastically well and, after some initial navigational stumbles, were able to follow the pre-prescribed day two (19 kilometres) route with both physical and mental ease. The teams once again arrived in the rather picturesque campsite as dusk fell, only this time it was accompanied by an increasing barrage of rain and wind. Night fell and teams battled the elements to get their dinners cooked and tents up; the night's sleep was somewhat interrupted by the persistent rain and barrage of acorns that were raining down from the great oak trees that towered over the campsite!
The teams rose early on day three to re-fuel and strike camp; the teams set out in improving conditions although the overnight rain had made the tracks and footpaths puddled and difficult to walk on. Only a few minor navigational errors occurred on the final day, but nothing that the groups couldn't figure out by retracing their steps and using their map reading and navigational skills to rectify the situations.
The weekend was a huge success; once again, the students that took part in the practice expedition were a credit to themselves and to Hove Park School. The teams will now focus on their volunteering in the community, skill development and participation in sports over the winter months before attempting the assessed expedition in the New Forest in early spring. We must also thank Robinson, Ms Tatton and Ms Ireland.
Mr Bartlett and Mr Hunting.