Rydal Penrhos School’s latest batch of Duke of Edinburgh Award hopefuls reached a significant milestone earlier this month.
No fewer than 16 pupils from Rydal Penrhos’ Year 10 contingent finally managed to complete their Bronze Award qualifying expedition on Saturday 3 October, which had been postponed since last summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The recent local lockdown implemented by the Welsh Government forced some last-minute adjustments to their plans, which were handled impeccably by Rydal Penrhos’ thoughtful and hard-working staff, led by DofE coordinator Dr Jim Lewis.
Rydal Penrhos is situated in a stunning location on the North Wales coast, which has some spectacular walking routes close-by throughout the Conwy county region.
Year 10 set off in three separate groups from Llanfairfechan for a hike up and over to Dwygyfylchi.
The heavy rains could not dampen their spirits, and the low visibility across the moors did not deviate them from their purpose.
They navigated with confidence and each group pulled together to get through the very challenging conditions. Fortunately, once they’d cooked their evening meal back at Rydal Penrhos in the late afternoon, they were also able to go home that night and dry off a bit in anticipation of their second day.
Camping, unfortunately, is still not an option due to social distancing measures, but the group returned the following day with far better weather to enjoy during their expedition.
This allowed them to take in the picturesque views out across the Conwy Valley from the northern reaches of the Carneddau, although they still had to negotiate numerous swollen stream crossings due to the previous day’s rains.
As they did so, each of the three groups recorded aspects related to the aim of their expedition, considering either the impacts of human activity on the landscape, their own collective emotional journey, or creating a decorated t-shirt to illustrate their adventure.
Arriving into Rowen later that afternoon, they were all full of smiles, laughter and amazing stories, having successfully completed an experience that will live long in their memories.
Rydal Penrhos School is a DofE Directly Licensed Centre and offers all three levels of the Award, beginning with Bronze in Year 9, continuing on to Silver in Years 10 & 11, and culminating with the prestigious Gold Award in Years 12 & 13.
Rydal Penrhos is now able to offer private tours to prospective pupils and their families.