Seven air cadets and instructors, including Civilian Instructor (CI) Clare Tildesley (23) from 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron (Sqn) Air Training Corps (ATC) descended on the Dark Peak of the Peak District last weekend to successfully complete their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award Practice Expedition.
The weekend started on Friday evening where we were faced with a briefing from Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) James Roberts, who was in charge of running the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards Scheme for the Cadets within the South and East Midlands area, followed by being tasked with planning our route for the weekend and sharing out our group kit,such as tents and cookers, between ourselves.
On Saturday morning, our group, the “aircraft wreckers” left the campsite at 8:15am, shortly after breakfast with the sun shining over us. After this, it was not long before we found ourselves climbing up the steepest hill of the day to test our physical fitness, teamwork and map reading skills. After 11 hours of walking, by 8pm we arrived at campsite no.2 where we were going to stay for the night. It was here we split our group into small teams where half of us would put the groups tents up and the second half would cook the groups dinner. After dinner, the realisation of walking 22k (13.6 miles) caught up with us so we were very tired and decided to go straight to sleep to prepare ourselves for day 2 of walking. Day 2 saw us continue to walk a further 18 k (11.8 miles) before coming home.
Prior to the expedition, Sargent (Sgt) Jessie Clarke, part of the aircraft wreckers team, was asked how she felt ahead of the practice, to which she replied: “terrified, excited and nervous all at the same time.”
The next expedition for the aircraft wreckers will be their final qualifying expedition and will take place at the end of August in Snowdonia, Wales. Which leaves them a little short of 6 weeks too prepare themselves and improve on any weaknesses they were able to highlight throughout the Practice expedition. For CI Clare Tildesley (23) of 1211 (Swadlincote) Sqn ATC this is especially exciting as it will also mean her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award will be completed, providing a successful power point presentation is given to the cadets upon arrival back at the Squadron Headquarters, on how the group achieved their aim of looking into aircraft wreckages throughout Snowdonia and learn about history of flights throughout the area, by concentrating on WW2 Pilots along their route.
CI C Tildesley