DofE Czech Republic – Expedition Training Routes In The Beskydy Mountains

That’s right folks, D. of E. Czech Republic. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is here, hoorah! What’s more, I’m going on a course to be a trainer and assessor, double hoorah!

As I will be responsible for training and leading people who are about 30 years younger than me, I thought it might be a good idea to actually be able to do what I’ll be training them to do. You know, set an example, sort of thing.

With this in mind, I have been looking at maps and picking routes which could be used for teaching all the skills necessary for a successful expedition. Everywhere more than 200 metres above sea level is covered in snow at the moment, so it’s a good time to start. I won’t be up here training kids before March, which gives me another month to find suitable routes and get fit enough!

DofE Czech Republic – The Beskydy Environment

As far as I can tell, the Beskydy Mountains fits the definition of ‘normal, rural open countryside or forest’. I’m not sure they are remote enough from habitation to qualify as Wild Country, so when the time comes for that I guess I’ll head over to the Jeseniky Mountains instead.

The route I picked for this weekend’s little adventure was around a local hill called Skalka (see map and profile below). It works out as 14.3 km with 659 metres height gain, so perfect for a medium length hike over varied terrain. The Czech hiking trail system, as I’ve remarked before, is the best I’ve ever seen. Getting lost here is not impossible but it is really difficult! As you can see in the photos at the bottom of the post, even when the visibility is less than 50 metres you can’t lose the path because there are trees on either side of it.

DofE Czech Republic – Photos And Notes On The Walk

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All in all a great morning out. It was a bit hard at the beginning due to the steep hill and the weight of my trusty pack (22 kg) but nothing too painful! I only had the kit required for a D. of E. expedition with me – spare clothes, sleeping bag, small tent, cooker, first aid kit, food and waterproofs but most of my gear is old and therefore heavier than modern lightweight stuff.

Because I only stayed on marked hiking trails, I didn’t really need the compass. The trails are colour coded and the colours are regularly painted on trees or rocks and orientating the map is easy. There are also regular signposts which are marked on the maps, making it really easy to find your way around, even in cloud or fog.

All my kit seems to be working properly with the notable exception of the snow grips I had on my boots. They turned out to be dangerous because they are difficult to put on, nearly impossible to adjust and have clearly been designed to slip around so the spikes are on top of the boots. They are destined for the bin and I’ll let you know what I replace them with!


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