Gold Duke of Edinburgh students successfully tackle Scottish Lochs’

The College is delighted to welcome back seven students from their Gold Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) expedition in Scotland.

As the largest state education provider of Gold DofE in Gloucestershire, the College has seen a remarkable 31 students awarded between 2017 and 2019.

This time, students – Rory, Conor, Ben, Ellie, Ella, Isabelle and Hannah – travelled a staggering 70 miles by kayak, from Fort William to Inverness, discovering the natural beauty of the Caledonian Canal and Great Glen landscapes.

“The kayak appears easier, as you are not carrying equipment, but exercising your arms for eight hours a day can take its toll,” explained Expedition Leader, Stuart Williams.

Completing the expedition in a kayak provided the students with a unique challenge of tackling the open waters of Loch Lochy, Loch Ness and Loch Oich. In areas that proved tricky, or dangerous, students conducted short portages to transport their kayaks over land.

Students chose to wild camp on the west shore of Loch Lochy to get the most out of the experience. Wild camping is almost exclusive to Scotland, as you need expressed permission from a landowner, elsewhere in the UK.

Stuart recalls the triumphant feeling when students successfully completed the expedition: “As soon as we got back to Fort William everyone jumped in the shower and got excited about their pudding!” he added.

Prior to the expedition, students completed extensive training, from experienced outdoor leaders, on both the River Thames (London) and River Wye (Wales).

DofE involves completing an individual programme of Volunteering, Physical and Skill activities, alongside a group Expedition. Gold also has a Residential consisting of five days and four nights.

You can find out more about the College’s Gold and Silver DofE programmes here. For more information about this story, please contact Izaac.cole@cirencester.ac.uk