Last weekend seventeen Year 10 KCM pupils passed their Bronze Assessed Expedition for the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Despite adverse weather conditions, arduous mountain climbs and a week of ‘End of Year’ exams, the 3 teams all showed just how resilient and positive they could be, impressing all the staff and volunteers with their smiles and good humour.
The day started on Friday with a three hour bus journey to the town of Castril, in Granada. The pupils then set off on a 17 km walk, over steep hills and narrow paths, carrying rucksacks with all their supplies for the weekend. They arrived at the campsite of El Cortijillo to set up tent, cook their dinner and finally rest.
Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny despite a warning of rainfall for 2pm. The teams set off to walk the beautiful Cueva de la Osa trail, along the river Castril, then up over the looming Magdalena mountain. At 3pm the sky turned from blue to black within minutes, a cool wind blew, then the heavens opened…to the biggest hailstones we have ever seen. Where possible each group ran for cover, and the first two groups managed to get back to the campsite drenched and cold, but thankfully safe and unhurt. The last group was just coming down the mountains when the storm started, and managed to huddle under a bush. Miss Wilson kept them safe and tried to alleviate their worries, even though she had been hit on the head by an enormous hailstone.
After 20 minutes of hail followed by heavy rain, the roads turned into torrents of water, mud started washing down the sides of the hills, and the atmosphere became quite scary. Brian, Antony and Mark, our trusty volunteers, had got back to camp with the first group, but knew the third group may be in trouble. Without a thought for themselves or their own safety, they ran back along the route, to find the last group and help them back. They were the real heroes of the day, carrying sodden rucksacks for the team and keeping their spirits high.
Hot showers and dry clothes were followed by a celebratory dinner in the campsite restaurant.