D of E has normally been completed in the Scottish Borders District through the schools but a couple of years ago we decided to get some leaders though their expedition assessors’ course and start running our own expeditions and awards.
Then Covid happened! Our Summer 2020 expeditions were cancelled, and we didn’t know when they would take place. Move forward to Autumn 2020 and temporary changes to the rules allowed expeditions without camping. Borders District joined other districts in the Pentlands to run Bronze qualifying & Silver practice expeditions.
Spring 2021, a new cohort of Bronze from the Borders were preparing for their expedition, but new Covid restrictions prevented them attending the Pentland Hills. So, a Borders based expedition was planned around the Eildon Hills.
The weekend of the 7,8 and 9th May saw 20 Explorers from the Lauderdale and Tweedglen units unite to form 3 expedition teams. Approximately 17km each day through the rolling Borders hills.
Friday night started the weekend with a last zoom briefing and quiz, Saturday took the expedition groups in a loop north of Melrose testing their navigation skills through a mixture of farming and open ground. The weather was as much of a test as the navigation, with heavy rain, winds and cold temperatures.
The 3 teams all made good progress and coped with the tricky navigation of parts of the first day, they finished off with cooking tea in Melrose before heading home.
Sunday promised slightly better weather and the temperatures were certainly a few degrees warmer, the teams assembled from 8:30am. Two teams started along the banks of Tweed and the third with a sharp assent of the Eildon Hills, both working in opposite directions they would pass each other at lunch time.
The weather still had its surprises with more heavy rain, but it didn’t seem to dampen the participants spirits. With teams arriving back in Melrose just before 5pm they all look tired but very proud of what they had achieved.
To my knowledge this is our first Scottish Borders based Bronze Expedition planned and run by the Borders District Scouts but it won’t be the last, a great achievement and congratulations to all the Leaders involved, here’s to the next expedition.
District Commissioner, Borders District