Duke of Edinburgh – Silver Qualifying Expedition Thornleigh to Cowan

On Thursday 27 August eleven girls in Year 10 and 11 from Bethany College participated in the Silver Duke of Edinburgh Qualifying expedition. Over the course of 3 days, Lilie Joseph, Lauren Mulheron, Maria Nicholas, Sophie Manning, Gabrielle Lynch, Jemma Fenwick, Kiona Davies, Scarlet Klem-Goode, Sophia Roufas, Eilish McIntyre, Alice Kent and Mr Weber, as well as Jesse and Heather from the outside organisation of Boomerang Adventures, walked about 34km of the Great North Walk Track.

Jesse was an outgoing joker who made it his goal to say as many puns as he could over three days and Heather was a funny girl who loved the outdoors.  We met Jesse and Heather at Thornleigh around 9:30 am on Thursday 27th August, and as a group we set out to walk 12km to our campsite.  At the campfire that night we were kept on our toes by Jesse and Heather, who constantly challenged us with confusing logic games, which most of us managed to understand and play along. We quickly caught onto Jesse’s tendency to share with us his horrible puns, which were a constant for the three days!

Our second day consisted of another 15km and many steep hills! Unfortunately by morning tea on the second day one girl fell ill and had a difficult time, but she managed to finish the hike. However as a family (or “ohana” as Jesse would say) we shared out the weight of her pack so she could continue the walk. Halfway through the second day we encountered the first couple of The Oxfam 100km walkers. Little did we know there would be about two thousand more to come! After hearing the same witty responses by the Oxfam walkers “You’re going the wrong way!”, “You picked a good day to do this!” or “There’s just a few more of us!’, we eventually reached our second campsite in the dark, but about 2 hours behind schedule. One of the highlights that night would have been when Heather had to explain to us how to use the communal toilet (awkward) and also making fireflies out of the campfire.

The next morning we woke up on top of the ridge overlooking Berowra Waters and were surrounded by thick fog which had settled overnight. While getting ready that morning none of us noticed Mr Weber and Jesse’s disappearance, until they came back to the campsite revealing to everyone that they had found a Geocache. By this time we had already identified that this as one of Mr Weber’s hobbies outside of school, so he excitedly took a few girls to the Geocache where we took one item from the box and swapped it with something of our own. With the final 7km we walked on the third day, we made it to Cowan Station quite early, which gave us enough time to debrief about the past three days and then Jesse pulled out the pineapple he had carried with him for three days! Overall, with the company of Mr Weber, Jesse and Heather we can all say we had a great time and a tree-mendous experience completing the expedition.


Alice Kent (Year 10)