Despite gale force winds from Storm Gareth, Oakham pupils overcame their D of E, CCF and Voluntary Action challenges admirably for Service Weekend.
Held twice a year, the weekend provides an opportunity for students to build their confidence, resilience and skills, whether they are navigating across the countryside, scaling hillsides or serving the community.
Pupils working towards their Bronze, Silver and Gold D of E awards set off on their practice expeditions in various locations around the country, from the Peak District to the Grand Union Canal! Pupils prepared for the expeditions themselves and had to carry all of their equipment and supplies with them over the course of the days. They enjoyed walking in the wild countryside improving their map reading and compass skills and canoeing down the Grand Union Canal. Gold cyclists, meanwhile, successfully conquered tough and demanding terrain as well as steep climbs in the Peak District.
Pupils involved in Voluntary Action assisted in a range of different activities to help make a positive impact in the community. One group put on a wonderful Spring luncheon for the elderly members of the local community, including serving them a two course meal as well as pouring a lot of wine! Pupils also assisted at the Lodge in Market Overton and helped host a coffee morning for residents of Rutland Care Village.
Oakham cadets visited the Battlefield memorial sites in Ypres, Belgium including Hill 60 and Sanctuary Wood. Students Matt, Rhys and Flo also had the honour of laying a wreath on behalf of the CCF and the School during the moving Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing. Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Formers also went to Stanford Training Centre (STANTA) near Thetford to conduct basic field craft and enjoyed a day trip to Duxford Imperial War Museum.
Teacher of Geography Mr Daniel Greenfield tells us more about the Bronze cyclists' expedition:-
"The Bronze cyclists left school on Friday afternoon knowing that they were going to encounter challenging weather conditions over the weekend. With the wind at their backs, everyone made good progress until one of the group got a puncture at the beginning of the dam on Rutland Water. After a slow repair, they hit a headwind once they crossed the dam. After battling the wind everyone arrived at camp near dusk and had to quickly erect their tents and eat. On Saturday morning they woke to strong winds and it was soon obvious that camp would have to be collapsed and the day’s cycle shortened. Using teamwork all tents were eventually taken down and everyone mounted their bikes and began the short cycle down to the Hambleton Peninsula at Rutland Water. The south shore provided a tailwind but the group had to overcome waves splashing onto the path. Luckily the north shore was protected from the worst of the wind and everyone made it back to school for a well-earned rest. Sunday morning brought much calmer conditions and everyone completed a nice cycle around north Rutland. Despite the inclement conditions everyone spent one-night camping, used a Trangia, navigated and cycled over 81km. They can now look forward to the summer qualifying expedition in Shropshire."