By Jessica Hydes (April 2021)

On the 2nd of April, I set off to do my Gold Duke of Edinburgh qualifying expedition with three of my friends, my mum and Vicky, my assessor. I had chosen to do The Old Ghost Road, a five-day tramp that is 85km long.

There was quite a range of experience levels in our group with myself being the more experienced out of my friends, whereas some of them had done barely any tramping. This made it a bit of a challenge to keep everyone together and happy with the pace that was being set. I decided from the start that everyone would have a turn in the front and that if anyone was falling behind, they could lead. I stayed at the back most of the time and let the others set the pace.

The fourth day was quite challenging because it was the longest day. We were all sore and tired by the end of it. There were times when we would stop and nobody would be in the mood to continue for quite awhile and I had to remind them that the sooner we got walking, the sooner we would get to the hut and be able to relax.

Some of the girls wanted to just power on and get to the hut as fast as they could, while another one was a bit sore and couldn’t go as fast. I stayed back to encourage and be positive as we walked the last few kilometers, which seemed the hardest and to go on forever. We definitely walked a lot faster when we had a goal or place coming up that we wanted to get to. We were the slowest in the middle of the day when the track went on and on with no end in sight.

On the last day, which could have easily been the hardest because of everyone’s blisters and sore muscles, we played games to keep our minds off the walking. It made the day go faster and helped us keep up a really good pace. We got out at a really good time and with little complaining along the way.

Another thing I had more experience in was map reading. I thought it would be a good idea to get my friends involved in some map activities, such as:  finding our grid reference at one of the bridges or to help me calculate the distance between checkpoints along the way and how long it would take us to get to those points. The girls appreciated knowing the times and distances between places.

Doing this tramp over these five days has really helped me gain confidence in leading my peers, as well as given me lots of ideas for places and meals for future tramps.

Thank you for the grant that contributed to the costs of this tramp.

We’re delighted to share another trip report from recent recipients of FMC’s Youth Award Grant. These grants are awarded four times a year, so if you’re inspired to get some financial support, head over to FMC’s website to apply.