Got back from my D of E expedition on Saturday evening, but I'm afraid I've not had much time to come round and post here. It's the last week of term - we have our Prizegiving and final Abbey service on Friday - and everything is mental. In order to keep us all amused after the end of our exams, the school's been putting on activities; high wire course and a self-defence thingy on Monday, a couple of lectures on universities and adventurous holiday expeditions yesterday, and a talk about an African adventure trip today, as well as a session with older students about the sixth form courses and stuff, which was actually really useful.
But that's not what you want to know about is it? You don't want to know about me being all curled up and cosy in house, nursing my bruises and snuggling under my duvet. You want to know all about my D of E adventures don't you?
Of course you do ;)
Anyway, overall, it was actually really good fun. We got a bit lost on Day One, 'cause of all the little animal tracks in the woods and the criss-crossing paths that weren't there when the map was published. I, in my wisdom, thought I'd found a "path" (NOT!) that lead up the hillside. What ensued went something along the lines of: face branch head face mud leg strap caught trip crash branch branch tree leaf branch scratch trip boot AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
And even when we got to the top of the hill, I tried to climb over the gate and fell off. Oh so graceful as ever.
Day Two was better - going across the top of the moors, sans one group member who dropped out due to sickness. We made good progress, and I wrote lots of poetry for our group project. The previous campsite was a bit less fun - midgie infestations anyone? - and we had to engage in this sort of James-Bond-style roll to get into the tent without letting the little blighters in with us. However, the campsite we got to that day was lovely - there was even a little shelter place for us to sit and eat and leave our bags out of the wet. The others played card games, and I read them my poetry and we all had a good laugh.
Day Three was nothing short of agony. We were following a river through a valley, which inevitably meant the path went up and down and left and up and right and roundabout and up and up and up and up ... you get the picture. Now, on a good day, I don't think it would have killed me all that much - I'm a strong walker, and gods know I've tackled enough hills in my time. But that day, after three freezing nights in the rain and wet, covered in bruises and limping like am amputee, it was really really hard work.
However, despite the intense agony that has plagued my left leg ever since, it was really really good fun. We were laughing and singing and telling jokes the whole way, and there were lots of incredible views and hilarious people to meet, and even when we got lost we always found our way back. We ended up taking a wrong track on Day Three, resulting in a funny sort of short cut, which gave us an hour's rest at our next stop. We fell asleep on the windy coastline, watching the waves boiling about between us and the Welsh coast. *sniffles* My lovely homeland...
Anyway, I shall leave you with one of the poems I wrote on the way, atop Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor, after the jungle-esque escapade and gate-falling-off that had taken place a couple of hours earlier. I personally think it's a perfect summary of the experience:
The View at Lunch Break
Rising goosebumps on
Gremlin paw marks.
Artistically placed leaves
With the occasional twig
Blue boot gone brown.
Raw red rubbings
Of racehorse red
And oceanic blue bruises.