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DofE Gold expedition to the North York Moors

DofE Gold expedition to the North York Moors

Read about Adam's adventure in the North Yorkshire Moors, as he and is fellow adventures complete their DofE Gold Qualifying Expedition. 

The DofE gold expedition is a four days and three nights hiking in a remote part of the country specifically the North York Moors. We have to be self-sufficient for the whole time meaning we have to carry: sleeping bag, roll mat, tents, cooking equipment, clothing and food which is high energy snacks and ration packs to cook in the evening. We also carry water, torches, matches, phone, first aid kit, pen knife and wet weather gear (most essential). Carrying all this equipment we then hike for a minimum of 8 hours a day, on a pre-planned route using map and compass, whilst examining the different states of footpath/bridleway. At the end of each day we arrive at a set campsite, put up our tents, feed ourselves and usually go to bed to do the whole thing again next day.

Our adventure started mid-day Friday 01 September when myself, Harry, Andrew, Beth and Greg met up with the leaders (Irene, James and Adam) at Stanhope Hall in Horncastle, loaded all our gear into the minibus and set off for Rosedale Abbey which was the leaders base camp and our starting and finishing point. This was a long and hot journey. On arrival we put up our tents and met the assessor – a very nice lady called Margret – who checked we were ready for the expedition. After this the leaders took us out for our last supper.

Next day we woke up at 6 o’clock to a fairly bright and pleasant day. We packed up our tents and were out of the campsite at about half past 7. This day was the most pleasant day of the whole week as the sun was out for most of it and we were all in high spirits. Most of the footpaths were very clear as we walked through farmers’ fields and heather moorland until we reached a forest that was being used as a plantation so it didn’t look quite like what was on the map and the track we were meant to follow quickly disappeared. However we managed to navigate our way through it and find the footpath again. From here it was a long straight limestone track to the campsite of Peat Rigg Outdoor Training Centre arriving at about 5 o’clock. This campsite was very nice and quiet as we were the only ones there apart from some pigs and chickens. 

We woke on the second day of walking at 6 to leave again at half 7. This day was slightly overcast but was still fairly warm. This days walking went reasonable well, there wasn’t any major diversions off the route and we managed to stick to timing pretty well. We walked through woods and moorland where we often saw grouse nesting amongst the heather. The campsite of Brow House Farm in Goathland where we shared our campsite with the local farmers sheep.

On the third day we woke again at 6 packed up and left by 7:30. We followed the rail trail out of Goathland but overshot our footpath we needed by about 100m but we quickly found the path. The first half of the day was quite nice weather but a bit overcast as we were at the bottom of a valley filled with trees but as soon as we came out of that valley it became very windy, foggy and cold. Towards the end of the day it started to constantly drizzle which didn’t stop until the end of the last day. The footpaths on this day was veryvariable and at one point we had to fight our way through 6 foot tall ferns that had completely overgrown the path. This day’s campsite was also pretty much empty apart from us and there was no farm animals invading our site - just the farmers cat.

On the final day we got up at half 5 to leave at 7 so we could finish sooner. The weather was horrid on this day with the constant drizzling from the day before made worse as we got on top of a hill that was covered in clouds. Getting up this hill wasn’t easy as the footpath had again been covered over by 6 foot high ferns again. On top of this hill we completely overshot the turn we were meant to take as it wasn’t obvious on the hill where the turn was and we ended up following the coast to coast trail until we met a road which helped us work out where we were and quickly get back on track (we also met Margaret - with mars bars - who had been waiting for us on the path we missed) from here it was quite a nice easy walk along the base of the hill to Rosedale abbey where we arrived at skipping in singing - we had finished. Here we had a quick debrief from Margaret and then got changed and boarded the bus to return home getting to Horncastle.

Overall it was a good week with high and lows (literally) but we were all happy to complete it. I would like to thank: Harry, Greg, Beth and Andrew for being such a great team and making the expedition a memorable experience, Margaret, Rick and Muppet the Dog for giving up the weekend and start of the week to spend time with us to get us through the expedition and finally Irene, James and Adam for giving up their time to take us on the expedition and providing us with encouragement to get us through it! 

By Adam Nugent (Sid)
Scout Network Member