DofE 16. New Forest.

Bright and sunny, tops will be 25°C

Long drive after a full day’s teaching. The satnav chose a good route and there were no holdups. Still, I didn’t arrive untill 23.30.

16.1: we some instructors would have two groups today, the others- one each. There are different ways we could decide, double up the smaller groups, match the routes. In the end, it was a complicated (and not very interesting) combination that we chose.

I got my info packs and flicked through- two groups of girls. Their routes looked okay and their bags not too heavy this time. Yet again, they didn’t bring enough water. One of them, O* had a leaking platypus which she knew was leaking on practice 2 weeks ago!

Quite a stretch of the route was in woodland along cycle routes. That suits me too because I can do plenty of walking to checkpoints rather than waiting with the car. Their route finding was fine and timing, reasonable.

The last section really troubled me. The public footpath was closed with barbed wire. The only alternative a was a narrow road without verges but with blind bends. I walked each group, one at a time along here. That path was visible behind the hedge and would have been trouble free, why is it closed?


16.2: A problem has appeared. One of our assessors is absent. His groups did not see him at all yesterday after the start. That would take some working out by sharing out the workload. If something went wrong, the consequences would be serious for him and the rest of us.

Note, sleepy horses standing in the road can make you late.

Both of my groups seemed to be in a darker mood today. The smaller group was especially tense. You know that feeling when you walk into a room after an argument, the one where you can sense something indeterminate? It’s that feeling on each checkpoint.

Gareth pointed out that they were well out of their ‘comfort zone’. These girls were all tall, leggy, elegant and beautiful; like models they were. But the surly exasperated tone in their voices caught my attention.

16.3: the kids are much more upbeat today. The fine weather continues and one group is quite cheerful, probably because they know it’s the last day. The other group remain prickly. Oh dear.

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