Silver Duke of Edinburgh Expedition

Pupils from Hawick High School recently laced up their walking boots in order to earn their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Expedition Award, writes Euan Welsh (S5).

From 31st August to 2nd September, 13 pupils and 4 staff set out from Hawick to Newcastleton along the old railway route with the aim of the expedition to investigate whether the line was suitable to be restored.

On the first day, the pupils left the school in the afternoon and made their way to Shankend Viaduct before pitching tents and calling it a day.

The following morning, with most pupils still in high spirits, it was an early start for everyone as everyone knew that there was a long walk ahead.

After braving a field of Highland bulls and bypassing Whitrope tunnel, all pupils were still alive and could stop for lunch at Riccarton Junction.

After more walking, the pupils had to look for and choose a suitable campsite for the night and so in a woods where they were sheltered from the heavy rain, 13 tired pupils tried to get as much sleep as possible as they knew they still had a big shift to put in on the following day.

When everyone woke the next morning, everyone was very tired and desperate to get finished but with only 12km to go, everyone dug deep and powered on towards Newcastleton.

At around 14:55, the grey clouds that hung over Newcastleton seemed to resemble the faces of the pupils who had given it their all for 3 hard days of walking but when the pupils saw that there was only 2 miles to go, they all found a little energy and marched on to the finish line where refreshments were had and free Wi-Fi was found.

Speaking about the experience, S6 pupil Alex Jones said “The expedition was a great and interesting experience due to being in the outdoors and seeing whether the train to Newcastleton was viable”.

Jack Rayner in S3 also commented saying “Great experience, good company and enjoyed it even after all the walking!”.

Talking about how the expedition went, teacher and event organiser Kym McKenzie said “Having been involved with the Duke of Edinbuegh a good few years, Nan Lyall, Angela Cumming, Scott Moffat and Stuart Teague have instilled enthusiasm and commitment to the award. This allows me to value highly the hard work the strong teams endure before during and after the expedition & 3 other sections – well done troops!”

English Teacher Andrew McEwan also commented saying “The Hawick High School students who undertook this expedition were a credit to the school. Their campcraft was excellent, and their dedication to completing the walk exemplary! Well done to all the pupils involved!”

Overall, an unforgettable experience was had by all and the pupils would like to thank all the staff who gave up their weekend to help out.