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A Vegan on Gold Duke of Edinburgh

Actually make that two vegans…

Photo courtesy of Amy

Whilst our assessor questioned the nutritional content of our food, we dined like kings on the moors and ate almost every moment of the foggy days.

Four days and three nights worked out as four breakfasts, four lunches and three dinners.

Day 1

Whilst you may have thought instant porridge was the only way to eat porridge whilst camping, Tesco’s microwave sachets cook just as well with boiling water and they’re so much cheaper!

Monday morning set up to be a classic Dartmoor day, mizzle in full thickness and a lot of hills ahead. I headed off with a warm belly of golden syrup porridge topped with Fuel 10K crunchy peanut butter and dried cranberries.

Whilst nibbling on trail mix made up of shreddies, mixed nuts, dorset cereal muesli, almond butter fudge, medjool dates, dried fruits and some veggie percy pigs (for motivation)

Through the snacks we made it to lunch, which was composed of Mediterranean couscous which I made up at breakfast in tuppawear, an apple and of course a cereal bar, sipping on my Whittard malted hot chocolate keeping warm in my Chilly’s bottle we set off once more down into the deep fog of Dartmoor with the thought of sleep on our minds.

After carefully avoiding a ginormous herd of cows we made it to wild camp site. I’d like to say the tents went up quickly but that’s hardly the case, we faffed around and got our stuff in the dry just in time for Dartmoor rain and dinner.

Our first dinner was all our favourites from the practice expedition: Peanut Satay and rice noodles. Whilst we used a ready made sauce, we added mangetout and baby sweetcorn to the mix. The rice noodles work brilliantly as they don’t even need to be boiled! On top of this enticing meal we sprinkled salted peanuts which not only provided a protein boost but some much needed salt from our 18 kilometre walk. The evening ended with some of my hikers flapjacks – the recipe of which will be coming soon – before we tucked up in sleeping bags ahead of three more days.

Flapjack parcels all wrapped up before the adventure began!

Day 2

After an impressively good sleep on a sloping lumpy ground we woke up in to the mizzle-y Dartmoor.

Porridge again to keep me going through the longest distance to be walked on the expedition. This time I hade apple and blueberry flavour, but still topped it with dried fruit and peanut butter.

Setting up the trangias to cook

The fog cleared up, and lucky for us we had a beautiful day of sun (and burnt partings). Whilst I again snacked on my trail mix at each possible interval on the way up and over tors, lunch couldn’t come soon enough!

Lunch was the perfect opportunity to strip down layers and cool off (I even took my socks off). I had Nairn’s oatcakes with vegan pate (called Organic Vegetarian Spread with Herbs), my daily apple and one of my flapjack parcels again.

Eating my last flapjack parcel for lucnh

Once the rest was over we had to face up to the other half of the walk. The heat not helping with motivation, the day dragged on, through bog and marsh, but the idyllic waterfall location for our wild camp kept us going.

Me (left), Amy (centre) and Alisha (right)

Once we reached our waterfall retreat, a big relief came off our shoulders, not just our bags but the half way mark! Setting up the tents with more speed than the day before, cooking dinner was the only priority.

Photo credits to Emilie

Day 2 dinner was bean feast, salsa and brown wraps, a D of E take on fajitas, which turned out to be extremely messy to eat. We followed this up with a sugar hit of vegan s’mores. Made with Morrison’s oat biscuits, dark chocolate and freedom mallows heated on the trangia.

Warming up the smores

With the warm evening letting us stay out the tent a lot longer than the night before, we watched the cows and horses walk through our mini campsite before retiring to bed with the end almost in sight.

Day 3

With the shortest trek ahead and the finishing line the next day, we all woke up in a good mood, the sound of a running waterfall added to the happy feels whilst we set up the trangias to cook breakfast. I was back on golden syrup, but I had a coffee bar to melt in and stir to add to the taste and reunite me with caffeine! We packed up and filtered some water from the stream for our drinks bottles before heading off into the thick fog which had once again set in.

A nearby leet we passed on our travels

With the fog being the thickest we’d dealt with so far, we had to rely on pacing and compass which meant more brainpower and so…more snacks obviously. My group’s obsession with the graze squares was a handy help as we swapped flavours to make the fog seem slightly less daunting! Lemon and blueberry was my favourite for sure (though I ignored the superfood claims)!

Baaaa

Meeting other humans on a hill felt a little odd, with the visibility still not improving, we had to rely on singing Hamilton for motivation. Soon enough we had reached the perimeter of our campsite, but after an hour of searching for the owner we gave up due to the need for dinner, and wild camped near by.

With tents set up, we got a little bit of sunshine for cooking. Back on the bean-feast but with pasta this time, with a coconut milk rice pudding for dessert, with the fog rolling in just in time to be tucked up in a sleeping bag.

Cooking the pasta for dinner

Day 4

We woke up with smiles all round with the finishing celebrations in only hours time. We unzipped tents to see the usual fog, which we had now become quite used to, quickly ate breakfast and filled our bottles from the nearby stream before starting off on our final day, on a mission to eat all the remaining food to see who ended with the lightest rucksack!

From left to right: me, Emilie, Alisha and Amy. With Gerogine behind the camer

With three tors to climb we headed straight up into the hills, with songs and motivation better than any other day so far. We reached the highest (and windiest) part of Dartmoor, taking pictures and eating dark chocolate whilst we waited to move on to the next check point.

Heading down in to the valley, the sun came up to celebrate the almost complete journey we’d been on. Crossing over the river and our lunch spot in sight, we realised we might actually miss our picnics in the mizzle, but nevertheless a sit down was much needed.

Amy and I sunbathing on a Dartmoor sunbed!

With oatcakes and my vegan pate for our final lunch, an apple (which surprisingly remained unscathed after four days in a rucksack) and two cereal bars. Leaving the spot and going off through a field of cows, singing all the way.

Following a rest with possibly the best view we’d seen on the whole trip, the final destination was in sight. When we arrived we were welcomed with punnets of strawberries, grapes, melon, blueberries and raspberries which was the best present to finish ever!

Thank you for reading my vegan Duke of Edinburgh diary! I hope it’s given you some inspiration if you are planning a walking expedition, or just need a little bit of quick cookery ideas!

Standing at a ‘crock of gold’ with Georgina on camera

– Laura x

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