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From the 19th – 26th June Aberfeldy and surrounding areas become the base for the Fourth and Fifth Form Silver Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. This year 73 Fettes Fifth Form completed their qualifying expeditions followed by 66 Fourth Form students undertaking their training expedition.

The Fifth Form who planned their expeditions over Easter, initially camped at Faskally campsite before being dropped at their requested start point. The assessment was overseen by ‘remote supervision’, the idea being that the students have demonstrated the proficiency required to complete their expedition making all their own decisions. Instructors and assessors are never too far away but only intervene if required. This year the groups chose some interesting routes, starting points varied along the A9 corridor between Dunkeld and Blair Atholl with groups venturing into the mountains and staying within wild camping spots. The Fifth Form did incredibly well and displaying plenty of motivation and determination while making some sensible decisions about route planning and group management.

The Fourth Form who then utilised the equipment dropped off by the Fifth Form, started their training from Aberfeldy town hall. Eleven different groups had a variety of starting points but this time managed closely by their experienced instructors. Unlike the 1-night Bronze expedition in Third Form, students are shown how to operate for a longer period of time while making considerations on equipment, food and route selection. Towards the end of the expedition instructors withdraw some of their supervision to give students exposure to the assessment conditions. The Fourth Form had varied weather during their expedition dealing with strong wind, intermittent heavy showers and intense sunshine. They have been given all the training they need for a brilliant assessment expedition next year, good luck!