Going Gold - Easter 2019
A brisk and early start for 13 intrepid gold award DofE (Duke of Edinburgh) students, we left Kings Cross station at 7am on the first Monday of the Easter holidays having met Mr Doyland there at 6.40am.
Three hours of train travel deposited us at Ilkley 30 minutes outside Leeds. We set off from Ilkley station, spending our first day trekking across Ilkley Moor having left the railway station and town behind. Our route over high hills and through some difficult countryside was a gentle 14 kms carrying packs which contained all our food and equipment and weighed around 18 kg. We camped in a little farm nestling on the north edge of the Moor. The weather had been misty for quite a lot of the day making finding our way difficult.
On day 2, breakfast eaten, damp tents taken down, we set off walking again at 9:30, passing by a small town where we had a break for lunch. One of the team had been ill for the previous 3 days and felt unable to continue, sadly we said goodbye and she went back to Ilkley and then London on the train. Our route took us into the woodland, mostly following a small stream till we reached another moor and climbed up high again into blazing sunshine. Carrying less weight (we had eaten as much food as possible) we still had to walk 20 km and were glad to make it to the next campsite. As the sun set so did the temperature, and the night was cold enough to wake up the following morning with everything frozen and the ground all white and glistening.
By day 3, we managed to get going at 8:30 and kept up a speedy pace all day, getting to the campsite by 4:30 even though we still walked another 20 km; in blazing hot sunshine, we got thirsty as well. There was enough time to mess around playing football and taking photos before we used our stove to make some hot drinks and dinner, another cold night still to be endured by us all.
Finally, the next morning we were relieved to only have to walk a kilometre to Skipton where we got the train home arriving back in London at 2pm.
A good introduction to the award expedition, knowing that the assessment in July will be longer and harder and over bigger mountains. Are they mad?!