I swiftly and excitedly left the car, eager to see all my friends who were joining the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Expedition, ready for two days of intense hiking.
We all had the same objectives: to conquer this challenging hike with sheer determination, and most importantly, to have a great time.
We were all armed with 18kg rucksacks and looking forward to having a brilliant two days, including one night at High Yedmandale Camp and Caravan Site.
Our small group of six sat around for a quick bag check, Mrs. Trotter ensuring she took some items from our kits to help lighten our rucksack load. This process delayed our departure just a wee bit. Already I could feel the warmth of the sun beneath the layers of clothes I had on, as the day was rapidly turning into quite the opposite to the dull and showery day that was forecast, so I had to start removing first my light waterproof coat then jumper. As soon as we finished our bag check, we all eagerly trooped to the school minibus. A great sense of optimistic mystery shrouded me about what will occur in the following days. I was looking forward to this walk – to be with my friends for part of the weekend, and to see some parts of the stunning North Yorkshire Moors countryside along our hiking route.
We departed in the minibus, and got going, towards Low North Bridge. Immediately, we were greeted by a swarm of horseflies, a small hint of what we would endure for the next 36 hours!
As we set off towards Low North Camp, we came upon a large cluster of trial bikers on antique motorbikes; we heard them before we saw them, though. We carried on through the scenic woods, up the path, and eventually climbing a steep slope coming off the beaten track. We carried on hiking, away from the beautiful oak trees, towards the majestic coniferous trees, which, looking toward the left of the path, you could not see the end of the vast wood. There was a calm feel to that wood and the smell of fresh pine overrides the senses in such a refreshing manner.
We continued trekking through the thick nettles, cow parsley, and bracken, as well as mud, puddles, and bogs. By this time, our shoes were drenched, from the puddles of water from the night before, and the morning dew fall, fresh on the grass but we persevered, marching on, still very much enjoying ourselves.
We reached the camp at five o’clock, all needing showers, and just overjoyed to rest, drop our bags, and to relax and savour our much-deserved evening meal.
Throughout our time at the campsite, we explored the woods around us on walks. Somewhere along the way, we discovered rope swings, on which we must have spent an hour, or two, (some of us stayed there longer) just swinging on the swings and talking.
However, the highlight of our night at the campsite, were our 3AM and 5AM walks about half an hour away from camp, which some of us did. It was no doubt that those of us who dared venture out into the crisp dawn air, were tired the next day, and the next few days.
Early the following morning as I packed up, my bag somehow felt heavier than the previous day. Perhaps because I was tired but nonetheless exhilarated and energised to carry on. After breakfast, we all set off on the 2nd route of our 2-day hike. The views on that trail back to our meeting place with the minibus were just stunning: they made our day seem to pass a great deal quicker, rucksacks felt lighter, after our break for lunch, and tired limbs less so! The views along the paths somehow mirrored a sort of little Bulgaria, the coniferous forests of the Rockies, and the forests of Sweden or Switzerland. I do not think there was a member of our group who was not speechless by such beauty of the magnificent British countryside. When we hit the sack in our respective beds back home, I am quite certain the events of the past two days took us to dreamland and helped ease our weary bodies and lulled us all to deep slumber.
Joshua, Year 9 (at the time of writing)