Mar 222016
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Conquering Oman

Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Expedition (2)

Intense heat, harsh desert terrain, sand dunes the size of small mountains, thunderstorms (while climbing the aforementioned mountains), the second Bronze International Award trip was a breeze! At least the students only had to walk 31km in two days…meaning some of the blisters were also the size of small mountains. In a departure from the more genteel coastal route, Group 2 had the opportunity to embrace a more authentically Bedouin experience, by trekking across the deserts of Al Abyadh. To quote the cliché, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. That being the case, 35 students came back from Oman considerably stronger than they were prior to the expedition!


Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Expedition (3)

This year saw the biggest number of Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award students take part in the trip to Oman with 106 students and 15 staff over three long weekends. All trips were a great success. The format of the expeditions had changed slightly and extended so that students could benefit from a training and assessment expedition, which has not happened in the past. The training day involved navigation exercises and survival skills in the desert. The assessment expedition was in the Wadi Abyadh area. For the first time on the Bronze expeditions, we had to retreat to a school for the night as we needed more than a tent for shelter due to severe weather conditions, we had huge thunderstorms, intense heat and harsh desert terrain throughout and put our survival skills to the test. After risk assessing the area early morning the overflowing Wadi’s had reduced and we were good to go. The students and staff trekked 32k which was the furthest ever walked on a Bronze expedition by St Christopher’s students. Towards the end of the expedition the Wadi was a welcomed experience in which students could swim to cool off after their hot trek. These pools lead to a monstrous sand dune over 500m high which was a very demanding task to achieve but all students completed. Over the course of three days, students had to work in their teams to get themselves through this great adventure as well as cooking, eating and living in tents together. Well done to all.