Blistered feet and tired legs… a personal reflection

Blistered feet and tired legs after a three day Duke of Edinburgh expedition for 11 Air Cadets from Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury and Diss Squadrons’. Over the May bank holiday weekend the cadets successfully completed their Bronze and Silver DofE expedition around the East Coast of Suffolk. Walking a staggering 50Km plus, from Bawsey Manor to Saxmundham.

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A team of four junior cadets started the three day camp with a refresher exercise consisting of a small navigation task, whilst understanding the importance of setting up camp. The other four senior cadets, plus three from 2470 (Sudbury) and 1070 (Diss) Squadron commenced their 50+Km hike.

The objective for the silver group was to study military infrastructure dating from the Napoleonic to modern day. This included the home of RADAR at Bawdsey, Martello towers and numerous MOD facilities old and present. Each cadet was carrying an average of 20kg consisting of the essentials needed to survive. This included tents, sleeping bags, roll mat, food, and clothes; as well as the dedication and motivation to complete the journey.

We were greeted by fantastic sunshine as we started on the coast that lasted the entire trip. Each day consisted of at least 7 hours trekking through fields, footpaths and beaches in order to reach our campsites. At the end of day 1 we made camp on MOD Woodbridge’s airfield which had very basic facilities. We set up camp with little difficulties as morale was at a high.

After dinner was cooked, we found the energy to play classic playground games like ‘40/40 in’ and Frisbee ending the night with a campfire. We awoke the next day at 7am and left for our trek not knowing what challenges we may face. The overall spirit of the group motivated everyone to carry on through the exhaustion and before we knew it we arrived at our second campsite, where we were welcomed by the Bronze group. This campsite was better than the night before, which was appreciated by everyone. On our last day we set off with the same high spirits even though we knew the end was a staggering 21Km away.