Shrewsbury School

DofE: Gold walking expedition by Luke Koch de Gooreynd (O LVI)

Monday 16 April 2012

L-R: Rough climb; the Famous Five with Snowdon in the background; Day 3: exhuasted after 20km at probably the loveliest campsite in the World, ever.

The Famous FiveThe Famous Five set off on a daring adventure into the high peaks of Snowdonia. The date was the 25th when the boys were rustled out of their beds, wearily putting on their dusty walking boots. For a day of navigation skills with their trusty Scottish instructor Colin, who unfortunately did not look like Braveheart - no kilt or long locks, instead  high tech kit that seemed to appear from every pocket and place known to man. The sun beamed down onto our backs at a beautiful 23 as we made it to our first rest spot of the day. A stream that dashed down the mountain sprayed a refreshing mist for us to soak up. We continued with the day’s walk, making a few wrong turns, but our instructor was happy for us to go on alone.

The next day we set out alone to conquer the peak, slowly heading south down Wales. The sun still high in the sky, bombarding us with its rays while we navigated our way through the rough terrain of the marshes and high peaks that jutted out of the bracken like gravestones in a church cemetery. As we got to the top of each peak we saw a view that left you in pure awe. We arrived at our wild campsite around 6pm.  It was beside a lake, 300m up a mountain. We hurried to set up camp before dark came upon us while I was assigned as head chef, cooking a complex meal of bolognaise (from a packet). We watched the sun set and the stars appear over the lake while three of the lads told us the names of all the stars.

Probably the loveliest campsite in the WorldMorning came quickly as everyone hurried to decamp and get breakfast down them. A walk of about 20 km was waiting for us that day and a rough climb of 900m stood before us. The first signs of wear crept in, Rob’s knee played up, Martin’s stomach was suffering (could that have been my cooking - I hoped not), the boys were getting tired by the time lunch came that day. It was at the top of a peak overlooking the hills, where fires were burning down the bracken on the slopes - we counted 10 fires in just the one valley. Our next campsite was beautiful, overlooking the sea in the middle of nowhere, everyone was out like a light that night. A 16km walk to the finish, which took 4 hours to do. We arrived at the bus shattered, and slept the whole way back.Luke

The walk reminded me of how hard the award is to get, but once you have done the award you will never forget such an adventure into the unknown. 

Luke Koch de Gooreynd 

Cadair Idris from Diffwys Panorama

back to top