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20th March 2020

Oakhamians embrace challenges during Service Weekend

Oakham pupils faced their D of E, CCF and Voluntary Action challenges with confidence for Service Weekend. Held twice a year, the weekend provides an opportunity for pupils to get out of their comfort zone, discovering more about themselves and the world around them.

CCF Recruits ventured to the Stanford training area in Norfolk to practice fieldcraft led by Forms 6 and 7.  Form 5 spent time on the ranges at Thetford completing their cadet qualification shoot, which involved shooting at distances of 100m and 200m.

A variety of different Voluntary Action activities took place throughout the weekend, from assisting at the Food Bank in Langham, volunteering at Rocks by Rail, holding a charity car wash and helping out with Oakham in Bloom.

Meanwhile, pupils set off on their expeditions in various locations around the country, from the Peak District to the Solent! Pupils prepared for the expeditions themselves, and had to carry all of their equipment and supplies with them over the course of the challenge.

Bronze cyclists covered a variety of tracks, bridleways and lanes in Rutland and the Silver cyclists navigated their way around the Peak District. All improved their bike handling over the course of the expedition and became better at working together as a team.

The Bronze and Silver walking groups braved the elements in the Peak District.  With full packs and cheery starts, the pupils successfully navigated their way to arrive back at their finish points exhausted but satisfied with their achievement.

Gold sailors in the Solent successfully completed their RYA Competent Crew in strong wind-over-tide ‘lumpy’ waters. They also enjoyed a magical night sail near Portsmouth, spotting shipping and navigation lights in the darkness. 

Bronze and Silver canoeists paddled down parts of the River Soar and River Ouse respectively. The silver canoeists overcame a challenging 3 day paddle consisting of 60km, 12 portages and 19mph winds.

After finishing the expeditions, everyone returned to School with much greater confidence in their sailing, camping, canoeing and cycling abilities.

Teacher of Geography and expedition leader Mr Daniel Greenfield tells us more about the Bronze cycling challenge:

“The Bronze Duke of Edinburgh cyclists left school in good spirits ahead of their Rutland expedition. Day one involved a 24km cycle largely around Rutland Water to Wing Hall Campsite. Despite the odd navigational error the group were cheered up by the site of newly born lambs around the water’s edge and arrived in camp before dark. They quickly put their tents up, ate and had an early night knowing they had a hard cycle ahead of them. Despite it being a very challenging day that ended up totalling 50km the group worked together well and made excellent progress with much improved map reading. The group excelled when one got a puncture, changing the inner tube in just over 10 minutes. After a well earned ice cream stop the group cycled on into camp where most collapsed. Saturday night brought strong winds which lightened slightly in the morning but was replaced by rain. Despite the poor conditions the group cycled the 33km back to school. Overall the expedition was a great success and the group did brilliantly. Hopefully they will get to demonstrate their skills in Shropshire in the summer.”

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