24 April 2023

A group of determined Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Gold Canoeing participants recently embarked on a challenging canoeing practice expedition, altered from the original plan to be on the River Thames due to unfavourable river conditions instead using the Oxford Canal and Kennet & Avon Canal.

The four-day expedition began in Enslow, with the group navigating their canoes upstream. Participants learnt how to paddle their canoes efficiently and work as a team. The group worked together to navigate locks and negotiate the sometimes tricky waterways, all the while taking in the stunning scenery and wildlife that surrounded them.

After spending the night camping in Oxford, the group continued their journey back on the Oxford Canal, this time heading downstream into Oxford. The third day allowed participants to travel along the Kennet and Avon Canal, which proved to be a more demanding waterway due to heavier flow from the River Kennet. The final day was spent learning about what to do if you capsize and how to rescue capsized paddlers and equipment.

Despite facing some challenging sections of each canal, the group remained positive and supported each other throughout the expedition, building on their teamwork and leadership skills. The DofE Gold Canoeing Practice expedition provided an opportunity for the participants to develop their resilience, self-confidence, and problem-solving skills, all whilst enjoying the beauty of the British countryside. The expedition was also an important step towards the participants achieving their DofE Gold Award, a prestigious and highly valued achievement.

The group successfully completed the expedition, and will now use the experience gained from this expedition to prepare for their final DofE Gold Assessment expedition on the River Wye in July.

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