By: Blonde One

No-one will dispute the value of Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions. They give participants a suitable level of challenge in order that they can successfully achieve this important section of their Award without ending up being put off expeditioning for the rest of their lives! Although this is the section that youngsters look forward to the most, it is also the section that causes the most confusion and misunderstanding. Often students and their families will assume that any two day (at Bronze), three day (at Silver) or four day (at Gold) expedition will count for this section. A quick check on the DofE website will correct this assumption when they see the 20 conditions that need to be adhered to for an expedition to qualify as a DofE expedition.


Some of the main features of the 20 conditions that are surprising to some people are:

  • An expedition must have an aim. The qualifying expedition will comprise of journeying, navigating, teamwork alongside an aim or activity that the team have decided. This can be something fun like playing sports along the way, or something research based such as exploring the churches that are passed. I have evidence many exciting aims over the years that I have been involved with DofE.
  • You must do the set amount of hours for your level of expedition. This is at least 6 hours at Bronze with at least 3 of those spent journeying, 7 at Silver with at least 3.5 journeying and 8 at Gold with at least 4 journeying. This means that if you have a super fit, experienced group they can be journeying for a lot longer than a team that are novices.
  • The team must plan and organise their expedition. This means that DofE staff should not be writing the route card and dictating which routes are taken. Advice and logistical guidance is of course essential to avoid teams thinking they will be fine scrambling down a cliff face to avoid a long walk round!
  • Teams must be of between 4 and 7 participants (or 8 if travelling in tandem).
  • The expedition should be in the recommended environment. For instance a Gold expedition must take place in a recommended unfamiliar ‘wild country’ area.

Watch this space for an update on changes to these 20 conditions at Bronze level.