GALLERY: Students complete their DofE gold awards on extraordinary adventure to Peru

Whittlesey: Seven students from St Harry Smith Community College have just returned from a three wee

Whittlesey: Seven students from St Harry Smith Community College have just returned from a three week trip to Peru for their D of E Gold Award - Credit: Archant

Seven students from Sir Harry Smith Community College are well on the way to gaining their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award after returning from a 21 day trip of a lifetime expedition to Peru.

All of the Whittlesey sixth form student worked through the five demanding sections of the D of E programme over two years, whilst also studying full time for their A levels.

For the expedition element, they organised a three week expedition to Peru. To raise funds for the trip, the students carried out fundraising activities, including helping with the town’s Round Table Christmas float. They also received a donation from The Whittlesey Charity and the Round Table which helped to make the trip possible.

During the first week in Peru, the Sixth Formers and staff took part in a community project in the Sacred Valley. After a challenging daily hike, they carried out intensive manual labour tasks at altitude, laying an irrigation system at a vital stage to bring water to the remote village. Staying amongst locals, they experienced a totally different culture and environment whilst also sharing our lifestyle, games and traditions with people of Peru, overcoming lots of language barriers along the way.

During the trip they completed their five day D of E Gold expedition backpacking the Lares Trek in the High Andes, close to 5,000m. They walked alongside Glacier Rivers which cut through canyons, and met wild alpacas along the route.

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For the last element of the trip, they travelled by train to the historic site of Machu Picchu, camping at the base of the mountains, before waking early to begin the demanding ascent to the incredible 15th Century Incan site to arrive for sunrise. This ‘Lost City’ sits 2,430 meters above sea level on the eastern slope of the Andes and overlooks the Urubamba River hundreds of feet below.

The students are all planning to return to the college to share their expedition experiences through assemblies later in the year.

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College Principal Jonathan Digby said: “I am extremely proud of what these seven students have achieved both in terms of the expedition to Peru and in their hard work and dedication in working towards D of E Gold.

“They are excellent ambassadors for the College and have shown high levels of personal organisation and team work throughout this project. It really was a trip of a lifetime and I look forward to seeing them share their adventures with younger students in the College.

“I would like to pay tribute to the members of staff who have supported them throughout both the planning and expedition stages of the Peru Trip. The trip really would not have happened without their dedication and determination.”

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