The Silver Duke of Edinburgh Expedition took place from 21 April until 23 April. Mr Thomson, Mr Rowlands and Mr Greenwood accompanied the participating pupil, and split them into two groups.
The group set off from the South End of St Mary’s Loch at around 11 am. The weather was incredibly sunny and very warm for this time of year. Navigation was generally straightforward on the first day, following the loch-shore path and The Southern Upland Way for the majority of the first part of the day. Some small navigational challenges were overcome heading into the final few kilometres up The Glen following Quair Water to the campsite. Much admiring of the spectacular Glen House was undertaken by both pupils and staff! The second group were late into camp after a group member suffered from physical exhaustion. The local residents were very helpful in assisting and the other boys in the group were very supportive. The camp location beside Loch Eddy is a superb spot and should continue to be used in future years.
A cloudless sky and early morning warmth again brought challenging conditions for the second day, with both groups having a tough ascent above 600m up and around Stake Law. Group One made errors and dropped into Glensax Burn early, rather than staying as high as planned. Consequently, both groups ended up completing the long walk out into Peebles by following the Glensax Burn. The groups were tired upon arrival at their second night’s camp, after following the last few kilometers along the John Buchan Way around Cademuir Hill, Peebles. Another good camp location in open woodland next to the Cademuir Farm (land owned by Mrs Coatman of Haystoun) is recommended for use in future years. The campsite is advantageous as not too far off-route. Again, a resident was helpful giving access to his external tap; the only downside to this campsite is that there is no access to a water source.
An early start with further sunny, dry conditions allowed the groups to finish in good time. Walking on minor roads and old drove roads led Group Two up to the Meldons, while Group One stayed low, following farmland parallel to the Lyne Water and A72. Group Two managed the final small ascent late in the route. Both groups maintained a good pace throughout the day, with generally competent navigation to finish by 2 pm. All boys were helpful in cleaning and stowing their kit when we returned to school – not always an easy thing to do when the prospect of a cool shower lies ahead!