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.