After a rather eventful day around Leith Hill, Surrey on my Duke of Edinburgh expedition training day, I realised that you are told very often what should happen and what is expected. However, we are very rarely told what shouldn’t happen to you. Yet in my training day, pretty much everything that could’ve happened did. So here is Fred’s guide to the top 5 Things That Just Shouldn’t Happen On a Duke Of Edinburgh Training Day.
1) THE PHONE
1) THE PHONE
I’d like to point out at this moment, that when I said that everything had happened to me, I meant it. I seem to be a magnet for trouble with my phone: it’s been broken and lost and violated more times than I can count. Yet, on this day, my phone’s series of unfortunate events reached its pinnacle: I lost it whilst on a trek. One moment it is in the front pocket of my hoodie; next, I am searching franticly in my backpack because I am suddenly slightly slimmer than before. A quick bout of tears (yes, I was petrified) helped me convince my partners in crime to retrace our steps whilst phoning it repetitively, hoping for a miracle. And luckily, one occurred. A lovely gentleman, he explained when answered one of the million calls, had found my phone and had called my home in order to see if anyone could pick it up. Fortunately for me, it was returned and is now safe in the kitchen. I think.
MORAL: Don’t put your phone in the front pocket of your hoodie, especially if you are walking through large fields.
2) THE SHOES
Did you know that trainers aren’t waterproof? We had been advised that walking boots were best, but under the assurances that this was just a training day, I assumed that trainers would suffice. However, after being pushed into a puddle the size of the Loch Ness, I realised that these were really no good, and I found that my sodden socks tended to agree. By the time I had returned to the car park we had started and finished at, one trainer was a distinctly different colour to the other and had brought with it souvenirs of the journey.
MORAL: Don’t attempt the smart Alec route: walking boots are the only shoes worth wearing.
3) THE FOOT
Having had issues with the muscle underneath my right foot previously, I wore a strap in order to help support it and protect it from further damage. However by the end of a good days vigorous walking, I find myself at home with a foot that has produced an interesting lump on one side of itself and is now wrapped in an ice pack. Although the strap had managed to support the bottom of my foot, it had callously neglected the side, meaning I am now unable to partake in my next fitness class. Such a shame really.
MORAL: Always listen to your foot. It never lies.
4) THE NAVAGATION
Yes, it is a brilliant idea to put me in charge of navigation. Not only did it take us fifteen minutes to make it out of the car park where we started, but I also have left-right dyslexia and when put at the back of the group and told to give directions, it ended up with “Which way do we go?” “Erm, that way” “Which way is that?” “Whichever way my hand is pointing!”
MORAL: Always make sure that your navigator is at the front of the pack and/or left-right competent.
5) THE FOOD
After a heated debate as to what we would bring to eat, whilst balancing the needs of those who liked to eat and those who didn’t want to carry much (which, ironically enough, happened to be the same person) we decided on Cup-a-Soup, pasta and chocolate mini rolls. However, my soup tasted like wet dog; I had the minimal amount of pasta as we only had two tiny stoves; and although the chocolate mini rolls were my saving grace, the only other food I had to eat that day was two Nutrigrain bars. This left me, rather unsurprisingly, quite hungry.
MORAL: Bring lots and LOTS of food. You can never bring enough food.
I hope that in reading this you can learn what not to do on a Duke of Edinburgh training day, rather than simply following in my disastrous footsteps; or else at least find comic value in my misadventures.