The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award

The IA Duke of Edinburgh Programme at Haileybury continues to go from strength to strength and this month saw 48 students plus 12 staff head to the north shore of Lake Kapchagay

for what was the pupils' first practice expedition - a 2-day, overnight expedition involving walking approximately 16 km per day, broken up by camping on a Saturday night. Students had to be entirely self-sufficient, working as a group to carry all of their equipment required (tents, camping mats, sleeping bags, cookers, pans, first aid kits) plus food for the two days, having planned a menu as a group and then purchasing their food. The weekend was an excellent start to what is part of only 1 of the 4 strands required for The Award (the other 3 being a regular commitment to Physical, Skills and Volunteering sections over a prolonged period).

The weekend was fine and reasonably warm during the day, although there was a cool breeze and students, having planned their routes, navigated and walked well on the first day, making good progress and feeling upbeat. The night saw temperatures drop to around freezing and any thoughts of a supervised swim in the lake, either that night or the next morning, seemed to disappear! Sunday saw the groups pack up and leave camp in good time to (mostly) rendezvous at the agreed end point, before travelling in minibuses back to school.

The excitement was palpable on the way out although the return journey, by contrast, saw most of the students asleep on the bus! Overall the weekend was a huge success, students benefited greatly from the experience and gained confidence from their ability to navigate successfully, pitch and sleep in tents and cook for themselves even though some of them were a little cold overnight.

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