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Gold Duke of Edinburgh

Thursday 26th July (Beth's insert)

The final day. Oh boy, I am happy! The team woke up feeling absolutely ready to go and get the Gold finished. The weather was a bit horrible but it didn't rain. Thank goodness! And frankly enough it wasn't too bad. We were happy.

We woke up at 6 am and set off 3 minutes to 8.00, as we were so enthusiastic to get started. Wicked or what!!!!!! We actually left on time- that of course means finishing EARLY! YUPPEE!!! (Beth singing) "We're going Home, We're going home, we're going, we're going home." We set on a good pace, saying goodbye to the lake. We walked for 10 minutes when Steph's knees started to play up. Luckily we were passing through a small forest and we looked for a walking stick for her to take the weight off her knees. Unfortunately the one we found for her only became a nuisance. Everybody's pains and groans weren't that bad. We put the thought out of our minds and concentrated on finishing the "wonderful" walk (being sarcastic here if you haven't realised).

At the different checkpoints we didn't stop for too long because the weather turned horrible and rained all day with the wind beating on our faces and wetting us right through. "Just wonderful...not!"

I kept the group going by being their jukebox, chief motivator and live entertainer. I say "Live" because all the rabbits around us seemed to have a disease were dropping down one by one in total we counted that we counted 67 dead rabbit, two dead sheep, two dead moles, and one dead bird. The fact that it was miserable weather, the whole thing was miserable and disgusting. Thank goodness we had one at least good weather day in the whole entire week the previous day. We only had to do 18 km today; our shortest day... great don't you think!!!! And a lot of our paths went along the hills or appeared to just descend nicely, and of course we had to have a few hills to keep us in good shape!

We got to check point 2 and the weather was unbearable, we were soaking and cold. We walked along Cam High Road, which was a Roman Road, practically straight and easy to walk. Not so painful on the feet, thank) goodness, otherwise the day would have seemed a lot worse!

Our Assessor met us halfway along the Pennine way and dales way, but the visibility was very poor and we couldn't' hardly see not more than 100m away. Despite the weather, we were all in good spirit and Steph's knees weren't too bad.

On our way we kept on meeting other D of E groups and towards the end of our expedition we got to the road ready to be picked up, we came across a group of boys who were completely lost due to the weather. We completed our walk for the expedition but they were 7 miles away from their intended path. We felt so sympathetic for them as we came up the last hill hands cheering laughing and singing, whilst they were lost and didn't make them feel any better. We showed them where we were and we asked them where they started to get lost. They should have taken a compass bearing in the rain and mist to find their footpath, but didn't due to the bad weather!!!! If it is bad weather they should have been using the compass more to make sure they weren't going wrong. Oooppps! Thank goodness that our assessor, could help them out by ringing their leader to inform them of their position on the Yorkshire Dales. Poor Guys though!!! (It was only their practice Gold walk so that was good that it didn't occur on the actual assessed expedition.)

Oh boy didn't we half celebrate when we got back, the SHOWER was quickly taken. We drew lots to see who would use it first. And the feeling- the thought of nice hot water washing down your achy body and being clean was too good to be true. And the leaders were really kind to us and gave us cake and tea and we all sat by the fire feeling good.

The feeling of finally finishing was just too good to imagine. We were so happy. But man didn't our kit half smell- one had to wear a gas mask to get close my stinky rucksack!!!!

In the later afternoon when the other team came in, got themselves sorted and cleaned up the assessor arrived and Hayley, Steph and Catherine did their presentation in a form of a rap - wicked man!! And of course Ruth and I were their sound effect, with Ruth's woolly hat and doing a wicked rhythm so...
The expedition ended happily and well, we really enjoyed ourselves despite the weather and the pain and groans. It sure kept me fit!!! And Ruth was just bursting with energy the crazy girl, wanting to do more walks, who would have through that could possibly happen after 50 miles, 80km walk in total!!

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