Fourteen girls met early on Friday 15th April to sort their group kit and then set off to the Black Mountains, Wales for their Gold DofE Practice Expedition.

We arrived late morning, just north of Abergavenny, and the girls were dropped off at their starting points, having gone through a few technical reminders regarding the maps and compasses. They set off in two groups in a cheerful but apprehensive mood, knowing that they had four days of walking ahead of them.

The staff met the girls at Sunnyvale before they headed back down into the valley to Pysgodlyn, where they set up camp for the first night. After a chilly night, they woke up to mountains covered in snow! The snow soon melted however, and the girls had a very hard walk up the flank of the Sugar Loaf, making it to Cwmdu later that evening. After a good night’s rest, the groups were much happier on the third morning, waking to bright sunshine and blue skies! One group then walked up Llangors Mountain, while the others walked along the Roman Road over a mountain to Llangors Lake, where they camped. During their walk the girls enjoyed spotting some spectacular birds of prey, including red kites, buzzards, sparrowhawks and kestrels.

The final day was a walk along the ridge to Crickhowel, where they completed their four-day practice. Overall, the girls walked about 75km, carrying all their camping equipment and food for four days; it was a very tough few days but the girls showed great resilience and determination to complete the expedition successfully. Well done to all of the girls and also to the two girls who completed their practice with the DofE Open Award centre in Snowdonia the previous weekend.