Bronze Assessment d.1

16°C bright and breezy.

White peak area: 92 girls on Assessment for Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.
We dropped them off at Ilam Hall just before noon. Their plan was to walk to Alstonefields for the night’s camp. They were given checkpoints that their routes had to pass through, but it was for the girls to plan and plot routes. The DofE mapping software can create an OS map printout and routecard with timings and leg distance calculated automatically. There were quite a few who handed in staff copies last minute. Others, I made them fix up impossible routes. Some had plotted paths that were parish boundaries not footpaths. One group mixed up their checkpoints and plotted a zig-zag route that totalled 19km. Our kids are very slow walkers anyway so wouldn’t make camp before dark on that route.


Master routecard that was used to start participants’ mapping. They had one of these 3 routes and plotted their own waypoints between the above checkpoints.

By noon, most groups had started fanning out on their chosen routes and us staff split up into small teams for remote supervision and assessing. I’m the only one who is qualified to go it alone which is what I did. After reading the kids’ routecards on the coach, I picked a route that crossed as many kids’ as possible. I kept on the move for the whole day on foot for flexibility.
The first group I met needed some help and then later some intervention. From 100m behind, I soon felt unhappy about their approach to a herd of cattle, cows and calves. The rule is ‘never between cow and calf’. Their approach wasn’t good, they may have crossed between cow & calf.
Anyway, after sorting then out, I set off on a parallel route and soon gained a kilometer. Good time for a lunch of sandwiches. They were baps with chilly-cheese and salad (in case you wanted to know).
Then the group mentioned above were spotted in a field attempting to cross the wall on the wrong side. Another intervention was necessary. I asked them about where they intended to go and which way the route should take them. They pointed about 180° from the correct way. After some some discussion and a few stern words, they set off east and I took the opportunity to repeat the 100m pacing exercise. They had all forgotten their stride counts, guessing from 10 to 100 for 100m. Oh dear, not encouraging.

Found this north of Thorpe Cloud beyond the shooting range. Though it looks like a railway tunnel, it’s smaller and contains nothing but rock. Above is an opening. I remain puzzled.
The next group I found were cheerful but considerably off track. At least they were heading the right way. Off they went north and I turned West to get to the gorge of Dovedale. A group down there were asking for staff to meet at a checkpoint at Ilam Rock. They wanted water. I had some, but concerned that they only got 2km at 5pm.I sent them off in the direction of their next checkpoint and went north to get more water; the idea was the catch them before the checkpoint.
Assessors agreed that they didn’t need to hit the checkpoint so I set off to catch them. They were rather relieved to hear this second change of plan.
Carl was there with a minibus which meant the end of my walk.

A mixed day for them. I clocked up 17km walking and got to groups that nobody in a minibus could have reached. Excellent for me and better for them too.

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