Expeditions - Ratcliffe College


Participants plan towards and then undertake several unaccompanied, self-reliant journeys in a group.

  • Bronze level we use local countryside (Leicestershire)
  • Silver level we go to more remote areas (southern Peak District and Shropshire Hills)
  • Gold level we journey into ‘wild country’ (northern Peak District, Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) and Dartmoor). 

Participants initially work closely with a staff member, but as they progress, they gradually gain independence and readiness for their assessed expedition. By the time of their expedition, participants are prepared to journey unaccompanied, with only occasional spot checks from leaders to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

Bronze Award

Bronze expedition training occurs once a week during Tuesday prep time, commencing in September and continuing until the assessed expedition is completed. Participants engage in a variety of skill-building activities, including:

  • First aid training
  • Safe handling of cooking stoves
  • Route planning
  • Completion of route cards and more

During their planning sessions, participants take charge of decision-making regarding their route and project theme. They are responsible for creating all necessary paperwork required by their assessor, ensuring thorough preparation and organisation for their expedition.

Participants progress towards their full expedition in a structured manner, starting with a mini navigation training session, followed by a day-walk, and ultimately culminating in the assessed expedition. The assessed expedition entails a 2-day walk with an overnight camp, during which participants are expected to be actively engaged in the countryside for approximately 6 hours each day.

Silver Award

Silver expedition training occurs weekly during prep time on Mondays, beginning in September and continuing until the planning phase is complete. Participants review various skills such as:

  • First aid
  • Safe use of cooking stoves
  • Learn how to calculate and utilise bearings

During planning sessions, participants make route and project theme decisions, and they are responsible for creating all necessary paperwork for their assessor.

Participants engage in a 2 ½ day practice expedition followed by a 3-day assessed expedition, both including 2 nights of camping. Those who have not completed the Bronze level also attend the Bronze training walk for initial navigation training. Participants are expected to spend approximately 7 hours per day in the countryside during both the practice and assessed expeditions.

Gold Award

Gold expedition training sessions are held on Tuesday evenings, from 6.45pm to 8.30pm, starting in September and continuing until the assessed expedition. During these classroom sessions, participants review previous topics and receive instruction on new skills such as wild camping and the use of mapping software.

Additionally, participants engage in planning and documentation production for 10 days’ worth of walks, ensuring thorough preparation for their expedition.

Participants are required to operate at a heightened level in remote countryside settings, thus training begins early in the year with a half-day session at Beacon Hill, focusing on micro-navigation techniques. This initial training is followed by a weekend session where further techniques are taught and practiced in more remote areas.

After completing these training sessions, groups undertake their practice and assessed expeditions, each consisting of 4 days of walking with 3 nights of camping. Throughout these expeditions, participants are expected to spend approximately 8 hours each day actively engaged in the countryside.