Lakelands Academy Year 10 students, embarking upon the expedition section of their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award, enjoyed the opportunity to take up their mountain bike and canoe training in the sweltering weather experienced over the bank holiday weekend.

Already having attained their Bronze DofE awards and now experienced in hiking expeditions at this level, the students have taken up the challenge of learning the skills needed for a combined mountain bike, hike and canoe expedition.

“This was a totally different skill set from a normal leisure bike ride, concentrating on skills for a variety of terrains and bike maintenance. Even the experienced bikers gained a great deal from the training.” said DofE leader and head of Science and PE at Lakelands Academy, Mr Smallbone.

Student Leo Slack was really glad to have the opportunity to practice and prepare with the equipment they would using for the actual expeditions. He said: “It was good to get used to the bike trailers and learn the techniques needed to connect them to the bikes.”

Phoebe Townsend agreed: “I knew how to ride a bike and paddle a canoe but it was great to learn the specific techniques and rescue skills we may need for our expeditions.”

The canoe training took the students out onto the mere and the bike training, traversing the outer areas of the Cremorne Gardens in Ellesmere, included the manoeuvring, navigation, technical repair, kit storage and rescue techniques needed to undertake their two, three- day expeditions coming up in June and July.

All of the students agreed the training had been particularly enjoyable because of the great weather and are really looking forward to the actual expeditions but they don’t mind if the weather isn’t quite so spectacular, as Isobel Jones added: “It’s just not a true DofE adventure, if it doesn’t rain a bit”.