Rowing for Gold | Inspiring DofE Expeditions

2 min read

Whether it’s open sailing along the Kyles of Bute, venturing through America’s National Parks, or horse riding along the Pembrokeshire coast, you can make your DofE expedition as broad or as close to home as you want.

Your Duke of Edinburgh's Award doesn’t have to be done solely by foot. You have the ability to create your own expedition, and make it your own. You can challenge yourself, do something that you have never done before, or show the rest of your team how it’s done by choosing something you enjoy doing.

Duke of Edinburgh Alternative Expeditions



The possibilities are endless, and Chesterfield High School are one of the many schools that decided to get a little more adventurous! We went down to join the pupils of Chesterfield High and cheer them on during the last leg of their canoeing journey!

Sixteen Sixth Form students picked up their paddles, zipped up their life jackets and ventured down to the last checkpoint, Symonds Yat. Despite the gruelling weather, heads were held high and you could feel the determination. Over four days the students have paddled from Preston-on-Wye to Symonds Yat, which is a mind blowing 77 miles!

Duke of Edinburgh Alternative Expeditions

“It was both physically and mentally demanding, but worth every paddle and every step!”

Student from Chesterfield Sixth Form

Whatever type of expedition students decide to embark on, they all come with a variety of challenges. Chesterfield High took part in 12 weeks of Canoe and Kayaking training in Crosby Marina Club before they could begin their expedition. And it didn’t stop there.

Duke of Edinburgh Alternative Expeditions

Not only did the students then have to complete the practice expedition and the assessed expedition, they had to complete a field study on erosion and deposition whilst overcoming the Grade 1 and 2 rapids on the River Wye.

“The challenges lie not only in the paddling, but in the camping, map reading and making sure all your gear is stored correctly. But every challenge I faced has been over-ridden by the feeling that being outdoors gives me”

Student from Chesterfield Sixth Form

Duke of Edinburgh Alternative Expeditions

Duke of Edinburgh Alternative Expeditions

Mr Weekes is a teacher at Chesterfield High and a DofE Leader and follows the students throughout the duration of their adventure, he commented:

“It is a huge achievement for all our young people to finish the expedition since it pushes their fitness levels to the limit and also tests their competence levels in leadership and navigation skills. Everyone enjoyed the experience – thanks to all the students for demonstrating such a very positive and mature attitude to a very demanding challenge”

Duke of Edinburgh Alternative Expeditions

But many miles, laughs and tears later, all sixteen students could say that they did it, and they didn’t take the easy route. We look forward to them completing their award and visiting the palace to receive their badges.

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