Your expedition will be one of the most exciting parts of doing your Duke of Edinburgh's Award – there are so many different options as to how you do it.
Check back here for updates on this year’s SU Expedition.
Click on each question for more information
Llama?! (yes llama!!)
It’s up to you but at Gold level you must be in “Wild country”.
From cycling in the Galloway Hills, walking in the Brecon Beacons or canoeing down the Thames to sailing in the Mediterranean or horse riding in Chile, where you complete your Expedition is up to you.
Expeditions outside of the UK provide varied challenges which may broaden your experience. All Expedition section conditions apply equally to expeditions taking place outside the United Kingdom. Please contact the SU if you would like further information on completing your Expedition abroad.
4 days and 3 nights
You must have at least 8 hours of planned activity during the daytime (at least 4 of which must be spent journeying)
Each team will have between 4 and 7 of you (8 if you travel by tandem canoe or bike)
We use an AAP – Approved Activity Provider – and they take you on a practice expedition a few weeks before you do your qualifying one. During this time they will give you all the training you need from map reading, first aid & even how to pack your rucksack properly. They also provide all your group kit e.g. tents & stoves so that you just need to get your personal kit.
The D of E provide a recommended kit list which you can find here
See the DofE’s advice on rucksacks and packing here.
Unsure about walking boots and socks? For more advice click here.
We’ve just had our first group complete their practice expedition & the have produced some really handy top tips from their experience:
- Walk more in preparation
- Take more snacks – yes you really need to eats lots of calories!
- Take foot tape & talcum powder – your feet are going to hate you
- Take loads of plastic bags to put wet things in & even put inside your boots
- Pack your dinner as a group
- Pack lots of socks then pack even more socks!
- Practice packing/unpacking your bag – there’s an art to it
If you’d like more information about doing your expedition including an idea of what costs are involved email [email protected]
1. Leave gates as you find them
A farmer will normally close gates to keep farm animals in, but may sometimes leave them open so the animals can reach food and water. Leave gates as you find them or follow instructions on signs. Leaving a gate open if it was shut could let animals stray onto dangerous roads.
2. Leave no trace
Protecting the natural environment means taking special care not to damage, destroy or remove features such as rocks, plants, and trees. They provide homes and food for wildlife and add to everybody’s enjoyment of the countryside. Litter and leftover food doesn’t just spoil the beauty of the countryside, it can be dangerous to wildlife – so take your litter home with you, and help protect our environment by removing any other litter you see.
3. Respect livestock
Large farm animals can be daunting, but they are likely to be just as scared of you as you are of them! Keep to paths and pass animals calmly and quietly to avoid disturbing them – and please do not feed them.
4. Stick to the pathways
We are lucky to have free access to routes across farmland throughout the UK. Straying from official paths in these areas can damage the crops that farmers depend on for their living. Damaging crops costs farmers money and threatens access to the countryside that many people enjoy. Stick to the paths provided. It’s worth remembering that each of the countries across the UK has its own rules, policies, and rights of access and we should be familiar with these if we venture further afield.
5. Follow the signs
England has about 118,000 miles of public rights of way, providing many opportunities to enjoy the natural environment. Before you go on expedition get to know the signs and symbols used in to show paths and open countryside.
Case Study - Arran
"As a person who has never done anything like this before, I loved the whole experience, it allows you to learn a whole range of skills while seeing beautiful scenery and having a laugh. Although it isn’t without its challenges; walking for hours in different environments can take its toll which meant having a positive mental attitude towards it was essential from my own experience. In our group we got lost a couple of times, one being in dense fog and heavy rain on a large featureless moor. We used teamwork and our problem solving skills to eventually find our way back onto the path and without these skills it could’ve been very plausible that we would have had to call for help.
Overall the expedition allowed me to enhance my problem solving, communication and team working skills and provided a great experience to learn skills such as map reading and taking a bearing. I would recommend this to anybody."
Case Study - Lauren
"My favourite part of the expedition was reaching the top of one of the three peaks on the practice expedition and the amount of support from everyone in the group when completing the challenge. The most challenging part of the assessed expedition was ending up off course on one of the hottest days of the year. To resolve this we worked as a team to motivate each other by thinking of the end result and solved the problems we were having to get back on track and finish the day. Skills I developed included working well as a team to motivate each other, support each other in areas we found difficult. We solved problems we faced effectively even when frustrated and tired. I communicated with others in the team to agree on routes and resolve disagreements"
Don’t forget to log your Employability skills on the Skills Log from taking part in this opportunity!Team Working – to successfully complete your expedition you need to be able to work well as part of a team and communicate effectively with each other.
Perseverance and Initiative – the whole Award takes a lot of dedication and motivation, specifically the expedition which is probably the most challenging section.
Leadership – there may be moments where you find yourself needing to step up and lead the way.