Students face test of character as Tops trek turns on the cold

SEVEN students from years 9 and 10 at Gloucester High took to the great Australian bush on (for most of them) their first overnight bush walk as part of their Duke of Edinburgh assessment in late October. 

Led by principal Pat Cavanagh and Deb Hogan the group travelled about 6km on Friday evening, camping at Little Murray campsite. 

A freezing -5 degree night saw the group dusting off various layers of ice in the morning, trying desperately to warm up before the long day ahead. 

A brisk 7.5km stroll ended with the welcome sight of Junction Pools, where tents were pitched, snacks eaten and a brief rest had before another afternoon’s walking took place. 

An 11km loop took the group around Edwards Swamp, up to Careys Peak (where lunch was eaten) then around Black Swamp, over Aeroplane Hill and back to Junction Pools. 

A quick wade in the cool water of the Barrington River helped to soothe sore muscles and restore feeling to swollen feet.

Another freezing night had many of the party telling of internal tent ice falls and lack of sleep. 

Undaunted, the group continued the walk, retracing their steps to the car park on Sunday morning.

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