Twelve groups of would-be expeditioners assembled on the South Lawn on the afternoon of Sunday 26th April, nervously hefting their packs and wondering what they had committed to. However, after a final briefing and lots of encouraging help from the staff and Gold helpers everyone eventually set off on a realistic route, in roughly the right direction and with a pack which now fitted and looked less like the rear guard of a tinkers’ convoy.
Given the numbers involved, three different campsites were needed and we are lucky to be able to rely on the good will of local farmers and families to let us use their grounds. This means we are in the enviable position of being able to manage our Bronze expeditions entirely from School.
Eventually all groups made it to their respective destinations and seemed in high spirits, having enjoyed their walk through the lovely bluebell woods that cloak the Surrey Hills. Inevitably many found it harder than they had anticipated, some got a little lost, but everyone seemed to have learned something and was very receptive to advice and tips from the staff and helpers – very promising for the future of the award.
After a somewhat chilly night, the groups set off on the return journey to school, some travelling up and over Pitch Hill, others taking the southern route along the Surrey-Sussex border. However, all roads eventually led back to Cranleigh and the delights of post expedition admin. Some things never change!
Many thanks to Miss Baily and all the other staff and Gold helpers who facilitated this expedition and allowed the Bronze candidates to have such a positive experience.
Dr SAH Young
Head of Outdoor Education