A team of eight female students from Camborne Science and International Academy recently made the eight hour road trip to the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales to complete their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

After a successful practice expedition around Dartmoor in April the teams set their sights on some challenging routes, including the 1,085m summit of Snowdon.

To pass the assessment the teams must carry all food and equipment with them in order to be totally self-reliant for four days. With nearly 3,000m of ascent to come, the teams wished each other luck on Monday morning and set out from Dolwyddelan on their individually planned journeys.

Day two saw the hardest day for each team. The green team, Betty Coupland, Kathryn Willoughby, Meghan Lambert-Jewel and Karenza Venables, took on the Moelwyn range while the orange team, Freya Haase, Martha Rail, Autumn White-Moore and Mia Fulcher, tackled Snowdon via its technical Southern ridge. In a turn of bad luck this also happened to be the worst weather day for the teams, with a cloud base of 400m meaning they would have to rely heavily on their navigational skills.

“Walking up Snowdon was one of the hardest things I have ever done," said Martha. "After the first hour of walking we were in the clouds and having to use our hands to clamber over some of the rocky sections. We only saw one other group during our ascent, making us pleased that we chose to go up the less touristy South ridge.

"Getting to the top was exhausting, but when we reached the summit we were all so pleased with what we had done. Knowing we were the first DofE group from our school to climb Snowdon made it even more special.”

The final day included the long drive back to Cornwall, so both teams were up at 4.30am to cook breakfast and break camp for a 6am start. By early afternoon both teams arrived at the Northern tip of Llyn Craftnant to meet their assessor and find out if they had passed all of the conditions required to successfully complete the expedition.

“Not only did both teams pass, but they did so in emphatic style," said assessor Craig Letham. "They made very few errors and the ones they made were rectified quickly, appropriately and without assistance. Each time I saw the groups they were together as a team and knew exactly where they were.

"The teams had clearly put a lot of effort into their planning and training, which paid off with one of the best performances I have seen from a school in recent years.”