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International Award - 22-25th March 2017 - Vysoke and Belianske Tatry

Last week three groups of excited and motivated Year 11 and 12 students set off on the expedition section of their DofE International Award. We left on Wednesday lunch time to be able to get to Poprad and use the evening for some quality team building sessions and briefing. Day 1 saw us climb from Tatranska Lomnica and Stary Smokovec to a height of 1600m, from 1400m above the sea level we were hiking in snow! We passed through ski slopes, beautiful forests which then opened out onto plains covered with approximately 1.5m of snow.
The groups were met with both navigational and physical challenges. They navigated themselves very well through the difficult conditions whilst enjoying a bright blue sky. We were rewarded every so often with stunning views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. We had time for a few snowballs to be thrown around but the hike in snowy conditions took a lot of energy out of the teams. The final descent to the first hut - Chata pri Zelenom plese was easier but the groups could not wait to get there. Good team work meant we arrived after an amazing experience. On Day 2 we were greeted with amazing weather that made our experience even greater. Also, during the day, we were accompanied by the Slovak National Television crew who interviewed our participants and recorded footage for their documentary about how the mountains are used to develop young people through the DofE International Award. 

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We needed to climb back to Biele pleso, which was the highest point on our journey, we headed north east to chata Plesnivec, and then lower down into the valley which is in the Belianske tatry mountain range. The path at the higher altitude was covered with snow, and apart from sinking in it up to our knees and getting wet the journey was very enjoyable.

In the valley we left the snow behind us and we were greeted by mud and beautiful paths winding through forests and rock faces cut by rivers. The groups again outdid themselves with their navigation and improved again upon their group work skills. 

On Day 3 we continued to walk in the valley, one ambitious group decided to explore the ridge of Spisska Magura which overlooks the picturesque village of Zdiar and offers a breathtaking view at Belianske tatry. 

Throughout the course of the trip the students got muddy, and were pushed to their limits. They also learnt a lot of great life lessons that they will be able to use and apply in the future. I am sure that the groups and the school will join me in thanking Ms. Romhanyi for organising and running the trip. We also thank Mr. Goffa, Mr. Tibbits and Mr. Kubinsky - our UIMLA certified Mountain leader, for being leaders on the trip.

The trailer of the documentary recorded by Slovak National Television RTVS is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTQCJornV1w&sns=em

 

Beata Romhanyi

IT and Art teacher, DofE International Award Coordinator

 

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