Students complete Duke of Edinburgh Award

Four students from Sutherland House School and one service user from Autism East Midlands completed their silver expedition and residential at the Lea Green outdoor activity centre in the heart of the Peak District near Matlock.

The young people were supported by a mixture of familiar staff and two parents volunteered for evening support. They stayed in a Victorian cottage with attached kitchen area and two showers and toilets. One student chose to camp though and cook his food outside on a stove. A member of staff joined this intrepid adventurer in their own tent despite the rain on one of the evenings!

The silver group took part in two activities, run and led by qualified Lea Green instructors. These included the Low Ropes Assault course and Rock Scrambling at Black Rocks in Cromford. The Low Ropes Assault course is a mix of balance, strength, teamwork and courage. All the young people participated in this activity and completed the three sections to the assault course. The young people showed determination and resilience as they overcome a mix of barriers, beams, ropes, and scrambling nets.


The second activity was scrambling through the famous Black Rocks at Cromford. Scrambling is defined as hands and feet on the rock, moving the body over, around and at times under grit and limestone rock. The activity was a challenge to the young people’s respect of heights and proprioception and a “can do” attitude was required for various sections.

Walking and map reading are integral to the Duke of Edinburgh experience. The group were able to avoid the rain on the Monday by walking later in the day from Cromford station into Matlock via the steep walk along the ridge in Matlock Bath. A visit to the chip shop was well deserved by all.

The second walk was from Black Rocks down the High Peak Trail to the High Peak Junction, along the Cromford Canal to the world heritage site at Cromford Mills.

Once the silver group had completed their challenge, five students and staff from Sutherland House School took over the accommodation for their two day and one night bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition and residential.

This group completed the Low Ropes Assault Course and similar walking routes in Cromford and Matlock as the silver group. For most students this was their first time away on a school trip.

All the students successfully completed this stage of their Duke of Edinburgh journey, the bronze group will continue this autumn.

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