Ruth Ferguson

My Duke of Edinburgh Gold Expedition in the Peak District

My Duke of Edinburgh Gold Expedition in the Peak District

Last month, I was fortunate enough to carry out the expedition section of my Gold Duke of Edinburgh award with funding I had received from the Neil McKenzie trust. I was a little worried about whether I’d be able to get to the starting point of the expedition, given the uncertainty around Whaley Bridge dam at that time! However, happily I was still able to make it to Hathersage, our meeting place.

The first couple of days were spent doing a practice hike and going over safety and first aid, route planning, navigation skills, preparing the equipment for the expedition, as well as getting to know the other team members. In groups of 7, we planned a circular route from Hathersage and decided upon our expedition aim. Our route was based around Hope Valley and the Valley of Edale. We split up the group kit (including tent and pegs, first aid kit, Trangia and fuel).

During the expedition, we stayed in tents at different camping sites, one of which was right beside a field of bullocks! Each night we cooked a meal on the Trangia – it’s funny how delicious rehydrated pasta is after a long day’s hiking! The weather over the few days was extremely mixed; with rain, sun, hail and fog. Conditions changed rapidly and on a couple of days we had to alter our route as it was not safe to go up on the higher ground for long, due to orange weather warnings. The scenery was really beautiful, and it was lovely to disconnect from the internet etc for a few days and just enjoy the basic facilities and amazing scenery, and spend time getting to know the others. Carrying everything you need on your back also makes you realise how little you actually need to get by, and how much ‘stuff’ we accumulate over time!

Ruth Ferguson1

At the end, we delivered an oral presentation outlining our expedition aim, which involved compiling a list of ‘Top tips’ for completing an expedition, under different topics such as cooking, camping and first aid. I can’t wait to get out in the outdoors again and I’m over the moon to have finally completed my Gold Duke of Edinburgh award. Thanks again to the Neil McKenzie trust for the support!