Exploring the Silver Duke of Edinburgh Canoeing Expedition

2 May 2024

The 2024 Silver DofE cohort is embarking on two thrilling canoeing expeditions, the first has been exploring the waters of Windermere and the meandering River Lune. However, the real adventure awaits as they prepare for their final expedition from 25 to 28 June in Scotland on rivers and lochs. Amidst Scotland’s picturesque rivers and lochs, they will put their learned skills to the test in a quality wilderness expedition, embracing wild camping, adventurous journeys, and exhilarating river running.

Our training trip started at Hodge Howe, loading boats and heading out to Wray Bay campsite. Paddling into the evening gave the group a great experience, arriving at camp around 8.30pm.

On Saturday, we broke camp and embarked on the next leg of our journey. From Waterhead, we navigated the waters in our canoes before loading the trailer and making our way to the River Lune in Kirkby Lonsdale. Here, the afternoon was dedicated to honing our river paddling skills and practicing white water rescue techniques. Despite the occasional capsize, the entire group embraced the learning experience wholeheartedly.

As evening descended, we sought refuge at Wood Close Caravan Park, where cosy pods and cabins awaited us. Dinner consisted of delicious fish and chips, providing the perfect end to a full day of adventure. With satisfied appetites and tired bodies, we settled in for a well-deserved night of restful sleep.

On Sunday, our adventure continued with a short shuttle to return to the River Lune for a full day of river travel. Blessed with optimal water levels and wide-eyed enthusiasm from the group, we embarked on a scenic journey downstream. Carrying our lunches in dry bags, we paddled our way through 11 kilometres of river, encountering a mix of serene flat water and exhilarating rapids along the way.

Despite one minor capsize and a few wobbles, the group navigated the river with skill and determination. As the sun was out, we found the perfect spot for lunch—a picturesque gravel beach nestled in native woodlands and striking red sandy cliffs. With only 4 kilometres left to descend before reaching Kirkby Lonsdale, we bid farewell to our idyllic lunch spot and resumed our journey downstream.

As our river journey neared its end, we encountered perhaps the most challenging rapid of the trip. Undeterred, the entire team rose to the occasion, tackling the rapid head-on under Devil’s Bridge. With one final load up of boats and kit, we arrived back at Hodge Howe at 5pm, time for dinner and a Sunday night at home.

This trip was a great success! With everyone taking part and making the most of the opportunities. They all enjoyed the new experience of paddling on a river. Some lessons were learnt about kit and food. I hope the group takes these lessons forward with them to the final expedition.

This trip would also not have been such a success if it wasn’t for the help of Simon Rowe, our Head of Lower School, who gave up his weekend to be on the expedition.

The skills learnt while paddling white water down the river, the journeying and the shared memories will stay with this team forever.

Silver DofE 2024 team a big well done… I am looking forward to our final trip in Scotland!

– Mr Reedy, Outdoor Instruction Teacher

Windermere School Silver DofE expedition


Windermere School Silver DofE expedition


Windermere School Silver DofE expedition

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Windermere School is an Independent Boarding and Day School for ages 3-18, across Junior School, Senior School and Sixth Form. The school offers holiday courses and a summer school programme, as well as short term immersion courses for international pupils, as well as an award winning IB programme. Join the adventure today >