Duke of Edinburgh Navigation Day 2023 | Epsom College
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Duke of Edinburgh Navigation Day 2023

The first Duke of Edinburgh training day of the year was a great success, with over 150 Silver and Gold participants venturing out in teams around the local countryside with an instructor teaching them navigation skills. Groups practised pacing, timing, map skills and compass bearings in preparation for their expeditions later this year.

Silver DofE Navigation Day

The record-breaking 106 Upper Fourth Silver participants began their day bright and early, meeting at the Cricket Pavilion for what was their first taste of navigation. After a brief introduction to the aim of the day: learning how to navigate independently as prospering teams, the eager navigators set off to the Epsom Downs. Phil and his team of Mountain Leaders did an excellent job at nurturing valuable key skills required for their assessed expedition in June, including road crossing, map reading and endurance.

The day was particularly fruitful for getting to know one another, a principal aspect of a successful expedition.

“Overall, navigation day was enjoyable as I got to learn more about my teammates and the importance of communication. I feel more confident in my survival, navigation and teamwork skills after the training today. I look forward to applying them during the practice expedition in March,” said Charlotte Chang.

The Upper Fourth will continue preparing towards the three-day, two-night expeditions during their weekly Wednesday sessions. We are certain that they will continue applying themselves, especially after their first encounter with the gratification that DofE has to offer.

Gold DofE Navigation Day

Only an hour and a half after the Upper Fourth departed from school, the 49 Gold recruits assembled at the Pavilion. With many new faces to the DofE programme, Navigation Day played a vital role in the training of the Lower Sixth for their four-day, three-night expeditions.

Their day commenced with a rotation of tent pitching and Trangia training, ensuring that their slumbering and gastronomic needs will be adequately attended to when they set off alone. The team was kindly provided with hot chocolate powder and marshmallows to verify that their boiled water was still, indeed, drinkable.

After lunch, the participants were given First Aid training which principally consisted of the red-amber-green system used to work out the severity of injuries and how to deal with them cooperatively. A lesson of CPR followed with the mighty assistance of Colin the dummy. It is safe to say that this will remain a memorable lesson for all.

Finally, the day concluded with some technical route planning for the assessed expedition. The teams had to independently mark their paths between each campsite, including calculated durations and distances. Similarly to the Silver opters, this was beneficial bonding time which will further ameliorate group communication and resilience to the forthcoming challenges during their time alone in the untamed conditions of the Peak District.

Overall, Navigation Day was an exuberant success for everyone beginning their DofE journey, both Silver and Gold. The cohorts showed fantastic examples of the college values: kindness, integrity and ambition, which are sure to carry across their expeditions in March and June.

Special thanks go to Mr Hampton-Carr, who attentively organised the day, as well as to Phil and the Mountain Leaders, who helped make it a delight for all.