Year 11 Outdoor Education Students Thrive in Cross-Country Navigation Intensive

In a testament to their skills and determination, a group of Year 11 Outdoor Education students recently undertook a challenging cross-country navigation exercise in the Avon Valley National Park. The students, led by Mr Entwistle and Mrs Paxman, embarked on a journey that tested their navigation, teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, and communication skills. 

Equipped with only a map, compass, and coordinates to an unknown campsite, the students were dropped off at an undisclosed location within the vast expanse of the national park. All electronic devices were collected from the students before departure, emphasising the reliance on traditional navigation methods and fostering a deeper connection with the natural environment. 

Undeterred by the unfamiliar terrain, the students quickly rallied together to determine their location on the map and chart a course towards their destination. They demonstrated great teamwork and communication throughout the journey by sharing observations, analysing map details, and adjusting their route accordingly. 

After 3.5 hours of challenging trekking, with only minor suggestions for correction from the staff, the students triumphantly arrived at the campsite just as the sun dipped below the western horizon. Their perseverance and determination were evident as they celebrated their achievement amidst the quiet bushland. 

The learning adventure continued the following morning, with Mr Entwistle orchestrating a mock rescue scenario to challenge the students’ navigation abilities further. Setting out early, he laid compass bearings leading to multiple objectives scattered throughout the valley. The students eagerly embraced the challenge, following the clues left behind and honing their navigational skills with each step. 

The pinnacle of the exercise was the discovery of a smoke flare, symbolising a successful rescue mission. With precision and confidence, the students located the flare, marking the culmination of their journey and the completion of a rich and valuable learning experience. 

This outdoor expedition not only provided the students with practical navigation skills but also instilled a sense of confidence, resilience, and camaraderie. As they prepare for their upcoming practical orienteering assessments, they do so with a newfound appreciation for the importance of teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, and effective communication – valuable lessons that extend far beyond the bounds of the wilderness. 

Mr Mark Entwistle 
Head of Physical, Outdoor & Health Education