Over the last few weekends one of our superb Scout leaders, Roderick, has been training for their Gold level Duke of Edinburgh expedition. One of our other superb scout leaders, Katie, has been supporting the organisation and delivery.

The Duke of Edinburgh scheme is a renowned award for 14-25’s to participate in to develop personal, social and work-based skills. It has three levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold – and involves participating in three activities over 6-18 months. One of these areas must be a physical activity, another should be a skill and the third area is volunteering. You must also complete an expedition either by walking, cycling, horse back or canoe in a group of other DofE participants. Bronze level is a minimum of one night and two days and the Gold expedition is 3 nights and 4 days. DofE requirements are the same as the requirements for the Queen’s Scout Award with the addition of completing a certain number of nights away and participating in international scouting events.

Roderick is also a member of the 18-25 year old section of scouting, Network. Roderick has been working towards their Gold award since 2020 working on Pilates, skills for employment and volunteering with the Scouts and is doing their expedition by canoe along with five other Network members from across South London.

Over the weekend, along with other cohorts of bronze, silver and gold level Explorer Scouts, they canoed a total of 24 miles from Henley-on-Thames to Windsor with an overnight stay in Medway as the completion of their practice expedition. During this time they worked on their canoeing and lock skills, team building and cohesion, camping and cooking on trangias.

As part of the expedition requirements you must cook a full hot meal for the whole group every day. Network Gold group cooked a lentil bolognese and hot chocolate which took four hours, including washing up, as they had to form an emergency shelter under a tarp when a heavy rain shower hit– so maybe a little more practice needed with this!!

Fortunately, no-one capsized so definitely improvement since the weekend before when one boat capsized on a canoe shoot.

Another requirement of the expedition is setting and achieving a self-set aim. Whilst a working progress, Roderick and their cohort practiced an ‘Active Appreciation of the River’ including taking photos, some litter picking, rating passing boat names, decorating their canoes with dead-headed flowers found in the water and attempting to make conversation and exchange pleasantries with fellow river users.

There is a bit more training and planning to go before the final expedition which will be along the river Severn in late August!

Special thanks to Alex for his time and organisation he puts into these expeditions!