Duke of Edinburgh Award - Gold Expedition 2014

Chloe and Matthew describe their expedition for their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award:

IIt was the night before our expedition, the tension was building. The members of Bishopbriggs Academy were preparing for their last home cooked meal and night together. The following day was when the nightmare began. We set off from the Hostel and headed off to our meeting point to set off for the expedition which consisted of 54 long miles over 4 short days. Separately, we set off in our own individual groups walking along the edge of a steep hill. With the unpredictable Scottish weather conditions we were unaware of what to expect and struggled to walk through the rough terrain. After an extremely long day of walking 20miles, we eventually arrived at our campsite roughly at half past 10 at night in the pitch dark. As we climbed out the tent the following morning we were instantly hit by a swarm of midges. Within the first five minutes my fellow teammate went face first into the marshland. As the day progressed the Scottish weather began to kick in. By this time camp was now well within our sight – well that is what we thought. However, we had various construction sites to avoid along the way. Eventually we arrived at our campsite as we all breathed a sigh of relief, and climbed into our dry tents. Unfortunately, a couple of our team mates got an unpleasant surprise at the early hours of 6am by having their tent flooded. They had to wait another 2 hours out in the pouring rain to allow for the minimum 30 minute gap between each group. By far this was the toughest day based on crossing rivers. Due to the heavy rainfall, what we expected to be small tributaries suddenly became very large overflowing rivers.  Throughout the morning we had to change our route various times in order to avoid these difficult crossings. At one point we ended up doing ‘gorge walking’ as our leader described it due to the weather and terrain conditions that we were walking on. Eventually, we managed to cross the biggest river and get back on track with our route. After hours of walking we arrived at our 3rd campsite which luckily for us consisted of dry, flat ground with no midges around. Having a cooked meal without being interrupted, we all were extremely happy and finally enjoying our last night. Group by group we set off for our last ever Duke of Edinburgh walk having mixed emotions. Between the agonising pains from our feet but excitement of finishing we could not tell if we were more happy or sad. With the encouragement from our team members we managed to walk 12 miles in just 3 hours and for us, that was an achievement in itself. However, we cannot describe the feeling we gained having completed our 54 mile expedition. We had an unforgettable experience that we wish we could do all over again – well some of it. 

  Gold Group     Setting out on our expedition Matthew, Elshan and Jack