DofE 9: White Peak.

Sunshine and showers. 5-19°C.

9.0: I thought I was driving home when the phone rang on the M6. “Are you available for a Silver Qualifier” in the White Peak? I pulled into Sandbach services to check. It would work as long as the carpet fitter could change date. I took the job. Another instructor pulled out which put pressure on the AAP. Since I wasn’t very far away, I got there early. The client was familiar, a girls’ school from Oxfordshire.

A quiet side valley by Taddington Dale.

9.1: Wet and windy. Despite the weather, the gorge was rich with garlic in full bloom. Taddington Dale: Is this what paradise would look like? My group struggled with a confusion of paths and barbed wire while I waited at the second checkpoint. In the drizzle, they were getting a bit down and wanted a shortcut. I led them to a mill so they could get photos for their aim. Camp at Mandale Farm.

This was another pastoral job but the cohort included some interesting characters. N* didn’t really fit in with the others but got on well with adults, especially men. We all clicked immediately and had tremendous fun swapping stories with verbal jousting.

9.2: Mandale to Hulme End. Much better weather, rising temperatures and humidity.

This herd were just curious. I expect my groups would be nervous since they blocked the stile. The cattle responded to gentle encouragement to move aside.

9.3: Hulme End to Ilam, an easy route down the Dove, the group are motoring, each checkpoint saw them arrive early. By now, the bond was tied. We talked about family, partners and home they thanked me for “being nice to N*”. She was apparently, not universally liked by teachers. Activities like expeditions were her forte. I shalln’t forget this group.

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