Duke of Edinburgh candidates at Rydal Penrhos braved testing conditions in the hope of achieving the pinnacle of the programme.
The returning Year 13 Gold DofE participants undertook their qualifying expedition through the Rhinog mountains, arguably the wildest region in Wales.
Having honed their expedition skills with regular training sessions throughout last year, proving to be a steep learning curve for many of the direct entrants to the scheme, this test was to be the final demonstration of their abilities and an opportunity to prove their mettle.
Over four tough days and damp nights, the intrepid youngsters battled through bogs, coped with heavy and persistent rains, and navigated across forty miles of extremely challenging terrain.
Their assessor, independent from the school, was quick to point out the excellent leadership qualities on display, particularly those of Joshua Meyerratken and Jessica Maudsley, who were often at the fore of their respective groups, as well as the perseverance and determination of Sara Owen, Vivia Li and Jennifer Johnson.
Spirits were kept frequently aloft by the likes of Mili Jayadeep, Emily Li, Eric Zhao and Geoffrey Fu, whilst the camp-craft and teamwork of Becky Lawton, Carmia Kendal, Linda Wang and Ben Gibson was absolutely fundamental to the success of their respective group.
Dr Jim Lewis, DofE manager, said: “Some sought refuge in laughter, others at times in tears, but all dug deep and worked hard to achieve the chief aim of their group: Win through the difficulties together and come out at the other end with a collective smile upon their faces.
“For some of these pupils, the Duke of Edinburgh’s expedition training has been the very first time that they have prepared for, and been on, a camping trip.
“From their initial clumsy attempt a year ago either to put up a tent or to hike across treacherous terrain, they have since upskilled themselves from scratch to the point that they can undertake an expedition of this nature. This just goes to show how far they have come and the impressive calibre of young person that they each are. I’m very proud of all that they have achieved.
“All 13 pupils have undoubtedly demonstrated that they possess a set of particularly unique qualities that make them stand out from the crowd. We wish them all the very best of luck as they finalise the remaining sections of the Award Scheme and look forward to congratulating them upon final completion in the near future.”