Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Rucksack Woes and Merry Music—Duke of Edinburgh Award Chronicles

A look back across Roseberry Common just before I reached the Topping. Below me, a Duke of Edinburgh group from a fine Durham school, all geared up for their Bronze expedition. And if you cast your gaze towards the top of Little Roseberry, you’d spot not one, not two, but a grand total of five more groups! Quite a gathering, I must say.

Now, before I conquered that summit, I sauntered past a couple more groups and, would you believe it, I even caught sight of another group making their way down to Aireyholme lane. A 90º navigational error? Oh, but wait, there’s more! In the photo, there’s yet another group approaching the col, apparently having taken a contour around Roseberry. So, if my calculations are correct, that makes it ten groups in all. Quite the bustling affair, isn’t it? I daresay they must all hail from the same school.

The first three groups I encountered were walking together, bopping along to some tunes blaring from a radio. What a merry bunch they were! However, I couldn’t help but notice a few missteps. Some of these lads and lasses had ill-fitting rucksacks, hanging low off their shoulders like a pair of ill-mannered trousers, posing a risk of back injuries, you see. And if that weren’t enough, I spotted a few instances of tents being carried like oversized holdalls. I even spied a young lady with her sleeping bag strapped to the outside of her rucksack! Goodness me, with the threat of rain in the air, she might just end up with a rather damp and uncomfortable night.

Now, as a former supervisor and assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, I suppose my interest in the Award remains strong. But I must confess, today’s observations left me feeling rather disheartened. You see, these groups ought to have been dispatched at least fifteen minutes apart to avoid bunching up, especially when they’re treading the same path initially. It’s also rather clear that some of their training has been lacking, I’m afraid. They needed proper lessons on packing and adjusting those rucksacks, and let’s not forget the importance of the Countryside Code, which, of course, includes refraining from making a ruckus and causing distress to rural communities. A touch of decorum and respect, that’s what’s needed!







3 responses to “Rucksack Woes and Merry Music—Duke of Edinburgh Award Chronicles”

  1. Robert MacNamara avatar
    Robert MacNamara

    At my college they offered ” Mountain and Cold Weather ” training . It covered all of the essentials including rescue procedure for hikers caught in the mountains .
    Did you notice that the remains were found this week for the actor Julian Sands ? I believe it was in the area of Mt. Baldy in California .

    1. Fhithich avatar

      Good to hear that.

      I had heard about Julian Sands, but didn’t take that much notice, as I don’t know any of his films.

  2. Tony Greenwood avatar

    You are right about the DofE training. As a trainer just now, the emphasis is getting them through the expedition. There is not even a training expedition required now and assement is perfunctory. As they pay so much, they do need to pass!
    Its not surprising they struggle with rucksacs and country code. The aim now is to get them around without getting lost for ever.

    No excuse in the trainer/supervisor letting them go not noticing sloppy straps and sleeping bags on the outside.

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