Last Friday 23rd, our intrepid Year 10’s set off on their first D of E camping experience. The objective of the weekend in Sierra Espuña was to learn navigation and map reading skills, as well as to be self-sufficient over a 2 day period, with pupils carrying and preparing their food and drinks independently.
The coach dropped us off in the village of Gebas at 1.30pm, and with heavy rucksacks on our backs we set off past barking dogs and scent filled fields along the 7km track to the campsite in El Berro. The wooded areas providing some much appreciated shade, with stops every so often to rehydrate, remove layers of clothes, and check that we were on track and the map resembled the path we were travelling along. The welcome sight of houses and the village of El Berro brought cheers and the campsite was greeted with relief and smiles.
Tents were then erected, some more easily than others, followed by a lesson in safety with camping gas cookers; this meant that dinner could be cooked and hot drinks prepared.
Some relaxation time followed, but the peace was short lived, as energy levels were re-stoked. So a night walk with torches past the cemetery, up a hill, led to lots of fun filled frights, spooky sounds and merriment. Miss Wilson tried to calm things down with a session in meditation, and after some persuasion bedtime called and tents were zipped up, lights turned off and sleep was supposed to follow.
The morning brought a fresh new day, with some campers looking more rested than others. Breakfast was followed by preparing rucksacks for a full day walking. Maps and route cards were prepared, sandwiches made, and water bottles filled. Off we all set, teams leaving in ten minute intervals. The long walk proved a challenge, but stops were plentiful, and energy restored with snacks and lunch. The pupils all managed the 20km, with some doing 25km due to a wrong turn, which proved to be a good learning experience.
We got back to camp just as dusk was falling. A shower and rest was squeezed in before we all set off to the nearby restaurant for a well earned dinner of chicken, egg and chips. Lights were out at 11pm and the pupils slept incredibly well, not waking until the 8am. We all then packed up and were back at the school at midday on Sunday, feeling exhausted but invigorated.
Big thanks go to Mrs. Powell and Miss Wilson for giving up their weekend, as well as the 5 brilliant volunteers (Ant, Brian, Mark, Midge and Oscar) who patiently worked with the pupils on their map reading skills, camp craft skills and teamwork.
By Sally Bengtsson.