Skywatch Friday - worth it

When you're slogging uphill carrying a pack that's so heavy that it threatens to tip you over backwards, you need some rewards of landscape and cloudscape along the way.

And once at the top, it's a case of "which hill next?"

Photos taken by my daughter on her Duke of Edinburgh Award Silver practice expedition in the Southern Cairngorms. The Duke of Edinburgh Award is an achievement award for young people, founded in 1956 by the said Duke, who is the Queen's husband. And I have to mention as a proud Moravian that there was a forerunner to the Award, called The Moray Badge, based on the same princples. It was started by Kurt Hahn, the founder of Gordonstoun School in Moray, which the Duke attended.

There are 3 levels to what is known in the trade as 'D of E': Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each level has 4 sections (plus a residential component in Gold): skills, physical, expedition and volunteering. The length of time each section is pursued for increases as you go through the levels. The Silver expedition takes 3 days and 2 nights, with the nights being spent camping. My daughter's group walked 68 kilometres over their 3 days.

If you look at the link to the expedition pages you'll see that there are designated wild areas across the UK where the expeditions take place. Throughout the summer months if you're out on the hills in these areas and see a group of young people bearing heavy loads the chances are it's a 'D of E' group. My daughter said that when fellow hikers encountered them they smiled and asked 'D of E?'.

Over the course of the Bronze and Silver levels my daughter has had a great time, taking up new activities and learning expedition skills. She's not going on to the Gold award, however, as she wants to focus on music performance in her last 2 years of school. Hill walking is still going to be on the agenda tho.

See more hills, with or without moving luggage, at Skywatch Friday.


  1. These are absolutely gorgeous, and are contributing seriously to my Open Championship-related nostalgia for my ancestral home. Between these and the shots of the links at St. Andrews, however, I'm enjoying every minute of it. Thanks for posting these!

  2. Oh, there is just nothing to compare with the Scottish mountains. Sigh.

  3. I wish I was still fit enough to climb mountains. Thinking about it, I seem to remember everytime I did climb to any height, the cloud would decend and block out the view.

  4. Beautiful shots, very scenic. Amazing climb.

  5. Gorgeous landscapes! Congratulations to your daughter on her climbing and hiking achievements.

  6. Congratulations to your daughter. What an amazing achievement filled with rich rewards to gaze upon at the end. Thank you for stopping by and viewing our Skywatch post today.

  7. Beautiful hills and mountains there! It is so wonderful to see such an expanse of unspoiled wilderness. I'll bet the stars are beautiful at night there.

  8. Your daughter has done well. Such wide open spaces scare me, just a little, even though I yearn to wander through them. Don't think I could do the overnight bit. Though, now that Breezy Point Mom mentions it, the stars would be lovely (if the sky clears up!).


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