Hatcham College 2017

Holly Japes Wattam, Lia Mae Pellegrini, Dilara Bakare and Florence Banzhaf-Blanco

Summer expedition to Northumberland and the Lake District

1. What we planned

-We planned on walking along Hadrian’s wall to view the scenic point ‘Sycamore Gap’
-Walk within Northumberland’s National Park and visit Ullswater in the Lake District.
-To wild camp at Greenlee Lough and have lunch at Crag Lough
-Experience the dark skies in order to view our chose constellations;
– the Big Dipper
– view the Perseid Meteor Shower
– Ursa Major and the star Deneb

2. What actually happened

In the end, we visited most of our checkpoints and planned stops which was good
as our scheduling and planning was mostly correct. Although we overestimated how
much we could walk every day, we didn’t strain ourselves beyond our limits.
Due to some weather complications, some of our scheduled walks took longer than anticipated,
but we were still able to arrive at our destinations every day.
The astronomical side of the trip was excellent, the skies were perfect for viewing
the constellations and the practise we’d done for reading the star chart paid off.
We were able to correctly identify the Ursa Major constellation and see Deneb which
was extremely bright at our night at Greenlee. The most memorable moment was when we saw
the last days of the Perseid meteor shower at Greenlee Lough. We poked our heads outside
our tents and lay on our backs and looked at the stars…

3. If we were to repeat our expedition.

If we were lucky enough to repeat our expedition, we might have done a few things differently. For example, each member of our team would have significantly benefited from some more practice hikes before the expedition to prepare ourselves for the day-long walks. If we had done this, we may have been able to cut some time off our walks, giving us more time to enjoy our surroundings along our hikes, such as Sycamore Gap. In addition, this trip taught us all the importance of planning. For example, on numerous occasions, we often debated the right time for lunch, for a break and when to check our maps to see if we were on the right track. If we had planned this ahead of time, our experience would have been smoother. However, despite this, we thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of our expedition, and we were able to learn from the problems that arose in it.
4. The feelings afterwards
This was an experience we will not forget! There were many hardships we faced but we always pulled through and made it to the end, which has given us a great sense of achievement and we feel very proud and excited to share the experience with others. Our independence increased throughout, from planning our journey to carrying it out all by ourselves.
We all struggled with various aspects of the journey, whether it was the weight of the bags or walking the many miles, but we all respected each other’s limits and supported one another. There were times when people wanted frequent breaks or walked behind the pace of the group, but we always stuck together, which has made us realise the true meaning of friendship.
From this experience, we have understood one and other and trusted each other’s judgements, which is crucial for success in this kind of experience. It was all for the teamwork!