DofE Scotland 2012

This summer, the Duke of Edinburgh programme moved from the usual venues in North Wales and the Lake District to the wilder, more remote Cairngorms in Scotland. Whilst the number of boys was down a bit this year (31), the calibre was higher which was just as well given the conditions and challenges which they faced – perhaps the hardest in recent years.

The programme followed our tried and tested method: one day training with instructors, a two day expedition with instructors, a planning and recovery day before the final three day assessed expedition. This allows boys to acquire and develop the range of skills they require to operate independently in a mountain environment.

Their routes included a multi-day, circular route which included climbing Ben Macdui (the second highest mountain in the UK at 1309m) and the Devil’s Point (1004m) – a picturesque mountain whose name was changed by John Brown in order not to offend Queen Victoria. If the physical challenge was not enough, the Scottish weather upped the stakes. The boys endured torrential rain for a number of days, many sleeping in wet bags after some epic river and bog crossings. On the few occasions where the rain let up, the boys were welcomed by clouds of midges! As usual, a number have stories to tell: losing boots in bogs, falling down scree slopes, seeing an adder and being a feast for the midges. What was perhaps most notable this year was the positive attitude of the boys on the face of very wet conditions and the high standards of teamwork. They were an impressive group who rose to the challenge and will remember the experience for years to come.

EJNR, June 2012