This Weekend 5 Cadets and 1 member of Staff were completing their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Practice Expedition up in Yorkshire.
The Weekend started off on Friday early evening where all the Nottingham Cadets met at 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron Air Training Corps, ready to leave on their minibus at 1730. However the minibus was yet to be delivered and so the wait begun. After a long wait and a KFC run the minibus did arrive, only it now meant the Cadets would be arriving at 0030 at their camp site. The Cadets arrived and were met by a few of the Leicester Cadets who had waited up for their arrival, it was then a team effort to get the tents set up as quickly and quietly as possible before heading off to bed for the early start in the morning.
The Long Eaton Air Cadets were split up into two different teams; Civilian Instructor, Mr Tolson, Cadet Warrant Officer Rebecca Parr, Cadet Warrant Officer Damien Simpson and Cadet Flight Sergeant Charlie Wilson were all in team two along with 2 Cadets from 2418 (Sherwood) Squadron, and Cadet Flight Sergeant Nathan Moffatt and Cadet Corporal Ethan Bates were in team three, with a mixture of Squadrons from the wing.
The Saturday started off with usual Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) morning activities of packing away kit and cooking breakfast before a brief from Squadron Leader Roberts to the Nottingham Cadets who had missed out on it the night before. Team two were then off closely followed by team three.
The Saturday was beautiful warm sunny weather and the both teams were well ahead of time, which allowed team two to have lots of rest stops having a chance to look around the areas they were walking in such as having a look at a rundown tank, as well as time to talk to some of the locals who were also out enjoying the glorious weather where we were advised to check out the waterfall. The teams met the staff many times whilst walking to ensure we were all okay and sticking to our route cards, but it was the last time we met them on our walk where they informed us we would be climbing down the waterfall the guy had previously told us about. It was a scramble down towards the waterfall, where all cadets took care not to fall, when they reached the waterfall they removed their bag which would be lowered by rope before being guided down the wall.
Team two were first there and were very quickly down the wall and were they off just round the corner to the campsite where they quickly set up tents and got their food on the go. Team two had managed to be completely set up, and have eaten and washed up before any other team joined them. However once the other teams arrived they were also soon set up, and everyone enjoyed the rest of the evening, well until the flies came out.
Sunday and the sound of rain, always something you dread the sound of on DofE, the teams packed their kit away with in the tent and then braved their way outside to cook breakfast. The teams were a little slower at packing their kit away today but still made it off on time, and were soon ahead of time again. As a result of the weather there were a lot fewer people about and the navigation was a little more challenging due to the foggy conditions which prevented us seeing just how close team Leicester really were, it also meant rest breaks were short and all the teams arrived at their lunch breaks early. After lunch the weather improved and the teams enjoyed their last stretch of the expedition following a river through fields of buttercups, it was then not long before we saw the two minibuses and the signal of the end point.
Overall all the Cadets enjoyed the weekend, and it allowed them to see how they will need to work together in order to complete their Gold final expedition later in the year. Mr Tolson said “It was a fantastic weekend! Throughout the walk we experience fantastic sights and amazing locations! It was truly fascinating to walk along a valley and come to a waterfall in the Yorkshire Dales! As much as my feet hurt I am well and truly de-stressed”