Our 2020 expedition programme was interrupted in March by the Covid-19 outbreak, in accordance with government advice to avoid social contact and unnecessary travel. We will try to resume the expeditions as soon as possible when coronavirus restrictions are lifted. At the moment we don’t know when that will be. We will keep in contact with all our current participants to support you with the rest of your DofE Programme.

We run a programme of walking expeditions every year for our Gold participants. We haven’t yet set dates for 2021, but in most recent years the general format and timings have been similar to the 2020 dates listed below.

2020 Expedition Programme

  • Tuesday Evening meetings: 28 January and 4 February
    18:30-20:30 at St Thomas of Aquins High School
  • Training Weekend, Friday 14 — Sunday 16 February
    Residential, based at a bunkhouse in Ayrshire. Departing from The Risk Factory at 09:00 on Friday, returning Sunday evening
  • Tuesday Evening meetings: 18 February to 31 March
    18:30-20:30 at St Thomas of Aquins High School
    (31 March at The Risk Factory)
  • Practice Expedition, Friday 3 — Monday 6 April
    Isle of Arran. Departing from The Meadows at 15:00 on Friday, returning Monday evening.
  • Kit Return, Wednesday 8 April
    18:00 at The Risk Factory
  • Qualifying Expedition Planning Day, Sunday 19 April
    10:00-16:00 at St Thomas of Aquins High School
  • 4× Tuesday Evening meetings, 2 to 23 June
    18:30-20:30 at St Thomas of Aquins High School
    (23 June at The Risk Factory)
  • Qualifying Expedition, Saturday 27 June — Thursday 2 July
    Northern Highlands, timings to be confirmed
  • Kit Return, Friday 3 July
    13:00 at The Risk Factory
  • Expedition Presentations, Tuesday 25 August
    18:30-20:30 at St Thomas of Aquins High School

These dates are in our electronic calendar which you can add to your smartphone.

Meeting Locations

  • St Thomas of Aquins High School, Chalmers Street, Edinburgh EH9 3ES
  • The Risk Factory, 20 New Mart Road, Edinburgh EH14 1RL


We estimate that the total cost of the expedition programme will be £265, this includes a refundable equipment deposit of £20 which you’ll get back after the expeditions. The total will be charged as follows:

  • £85 for the Training weekend must be paid along with your booking – we won’t confirm your place on the expedition programme until you’ve paid this.
  • £80 for the Practice expedition must be paid by 3 March.
  • £100 for the Qualifying expedition must be paid by 19 April.
  • -£20 equipment hire deposit will be returned to you on 25 August.

These are approximate budgets and the costs could change slightly.

How do I join the expedition programme?

We are currently not accepting new bookings onto the 2020 expedition programme. New participants are very welcome to join our group to start working on the rest of your DofE programme, you’ll then be the first to hear about our next programme of expeditions.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions: click the question and the answer will expand.

Is there currently space on this programme?

Yes, but bookings will close on 21 January.

What does the cost include?

These are approximate budgets and the costs could change slightly. We have included a contingency fund which we don’t expect to spend, so if we are able to spend less than the total budgeted, we will return money to participants after all the expeditions are completed. However, the costs could also increase, for example if the teams choose to do expeditions on remoter islands or to stay on serviced campsites instead of wild camping. One of the biggest factors that affects expedition costs is numbers of participants – the more participants take part, the smaller the cost is likely to be per person.

These budgets include:

  • Transport to and from the expedition location from Edinburgh
  • Expenses for volunteer leaders
  • Camping on a site with facilities on the first night of both expeditions.
  • For the Training weekend only, we include bunkhouse accommodation (actual beds) and Saturday evening meal.
  • Hire of expedition equipment, both personal (such as boots, rucksacks and sleeping bags) and for the team (such as maps, tents and stoves)
  • Gas for stoves and water purification tablets
  • A refundable deposit for borrowed kit, this will be returned after the expeditions as long as you returned all your equipment on time, clean, dry and undamaged. If you don’t return equipment or it is damaged, dirty or wet, you’ll have to pay extra fees which may be more than your deposit.
  • 15% contingency fund

Anyone joining the group for the first time will also need to pay our one-off subscription fee of £10, this money helps cover the costs of running the group. Anyone who is signing up to Gold DofE for the first time will also need to pay the DofE enrolment fee.

I am concerned about the cost of doing my Gold DofE, is there anything I can do about this?

Please speak to the leaders as soon as possible. Money should never be a barrier to doing your DofE and we will do our best to help find funding to support those who otherwise couldn’t afford to participate in the expedition programme.

We are very happy to arrange a payment schedule to spread the costs of the expedition programme more evenly.

It is possible to do the other sections, including the residential, at very low cost, and the leaders can advise on this.

Will I need to buy lots of equipment to take part in the expeditions?

There is no need to spend lots of money on equipment to take part. We can hire good quality expedition equipment at very low rates from Friends of the Award, and the costs of this are built into in the price of expeditions.

If you do want to spend money on equipment, the leaders can advise you to ensure you get the most appropriate kit. DofE participants and parents get good discounts at a range of outdoor shops. One of our first training sessions will be providing advice about the kind of personal walking clothes you will need.

What will the evening meetings be like?

We try to ensure our training sessions are not too much like sitting in a school class. We keep things friendly and fun, with lots of working with other participants to get to know your potential teammates. Sometimes there will be a powerpoint presentation to watch, but we also use as many hands on practical exercises as possible, given that the training is mostly delivered during early spring evenings. Sometimes there may be short tasks to do in preparation for meetings. If you are coming straight from school/college/work you are welcome to bring some food to eat during the meeting. Our evening classroom training, and training weekend are desgined to cover the Gold DofE walking expedition training framework.

What will the training weekend involve?

This training weekend is to provide practical training alongside the Tuesday evening classroom sesssions to cover the Gold DofE walking expedition training framework, allow participants to get to know each other, and form expedition teams.

It will take place at a residential bunkhouse in Ayrshire. The daytimes will be outdoors at various countryside locations in Ayrshire and the Galloway Hills, doing practical training in navigation and expedition skills. In case of very bad weather some days may be based at the bunkhouse. There will be lots of time working with other participants to get to know your potential teammates. There will be some evening sessions, but they will be less strenuous topics, and won’t run too late, allowing lots of time for socialising.

Everyone will be involved in sharing the domestic duties of the trip, including cooking and cleaning. Accommodation will be in separate male and female bunk rooms, unless otherwise arranged. Toilet facilities are uni-sex, with individual toilet and shower cubicles.

Full details of the arrangements for the trip will be provided after signing up for the programme.

Will we get to choose where we go for our expeditions?

Yes, for the Qualifying expedition, although there will need to be group consensus. In the past our teams have chosen to go north of the Great Glen, and so we have budgeted for a trip to the north of Scotland. Our past expedition participants have always said that the scenery on the qualifying expedition is a highlight for them, with one even commenting “I didn’t think such scenery really existed, I thought it was all CGI”

The leaders will choose the location of the training weekend and Practice expedition.

I’m worried I won’t know anyone!

Don’t worry! most of our participants join the group without knowing anyone else. As we are an open group we have participants from across Edinburgh, from different backgrounds and at different stages of their lives. Our programme is designed to give you chance to work with the other people on the programme and get to know them before you form expedition teams. Our past expedition groups have become good friends and stayed in touch after the expeditions are finished. Many of our past participants say that getting to know new people was a big challenge, but also one of the highlights of the experience for them.

How much choice will I have about who I am in a team with?

We will give you as much choice as possible given the constraints of the 20 Conditions of Expeditions and the requirement to balance the needs of the other group members. A key part of the training programme and expeditions is getting to know your fellow participants, allowing you to build strong expedition teams.

I don’t want to do my expeditions this year, can I still apply to start Gold DofE with MOG?

Yes, you can start your Gold DofE at any time and undertake expeditions later or elsewhere if you prefer.

I have caring responsibilities/a disability/faith or cultural needs/health issues, can I still do my Gold DofE?

Yes! A central principle of the DofE is that it is accessible to all. We will do everything in our power to help you do your Gold DofE – expeditions and other sections can be adapted so they are a suitable challenge for everyone, whatever your needs. If you have concerns about the expeditions or training sessions please talk to us in advance – it may take some time for us to make arrangements, but we will do our best to help. If you want to talk to us with the support of a parent, guardian, carer or support worker we are happy to arrange to do so.

Can I join MOG expeditions if I haven’t done any DofE before or only Bronze?

Yes, our expedition training programme is designed so that whether you start from scratch or not, you get to a level where you can complete a challenging Gold qualifying expedition within a year. If you haven’t completed Silver then you’ll have to spend an additional six months on either the Physical, Skills or Volunteering section compared to participants who have completed Silver.

I will be in S5 during 2017-18, can I join this expedition programme?

Yes, but all of the meetings, training, and expedition dates are compulsory. You should carefully consider if you have time to commit to this programme around your exam work.

I’ve done my Silver DofE expeditions or think I have equivalent experience, do I have to do all the training and expeditions?

All parts of our training are compulsory. Although we start from the basics to ensure everyone has a sound basic knowledge we progress quickly. You shouldn’t find you are repeating much of what you have covered before, or get bored, because;

  • Each DofE level is progressive and the knowledge and skills required for Gold are higher than those for Silver, in all areas of the training framework – the topics may look familiar but we are training you to a higher standard, for more remote and challenging expeditions.
  • It is very important that you work with and get to know the other participants in order to build a successful expedition team.
  • Planning for the expeditions is woven into the training, and all participants must contribute to the planning for the expeditions.

I have done all the training and/or practice expeditions required for my Gold expedition section, can I just go on your qualifying expedition?

No, sorry. Our expedition programme is designed as a package so you complete your training and practice expedition with the teammates you undertake the qualifying expedition with. You would be welcome to join our expedition training programme if you commit to the evening meetings and trips. If you did your expedition training/expeditions a while ago, it would be a good idea to refresh your knowledge and build your expedition fitness up again.

If you have completed Gold expedition training recently, and you don’t want to do our Training programme, then you can look for an Open expedition from either Friends of the Award or the the DofE opportunity finder.

I live outside of Edinburgh, can I join your expedition programme?

Yes, but you must join MOG, and if you already have an eDofE account you will need to transferred to our group, because our insurance to run expeditions comes through the City of Edinburgh council. Participants from West Lothian, Midlothian and the Borders have successfully completed our expedition programmes in the past. If you are considering this you need a plan for transport to and from Edinburgh for all of our trips and meetings. For the trips, we may sometimes be able to arrange pick up/return on the western edge of the city if this is easier for you than coming into town.

What if I have a problem with one or two of the evening dates?

Please contact the MOG leaders. If several people have a problem with one or more of the dates then we can consider changing them, but it will not be acceptable for participants to not turn up for a meeting without warning us (apart from last minute illness).

I can’t do expeditions at the weekend (I work or have football practice etc.), can I still join?

Please arrange to take the time off. Our expeditions are run by volunteers who use their free time and annual leave to run our expeditions, and therefore our expeditions are always likely to include weekends. If you are not prepared to commit to our expedition dates, then perhaps your DofE expeditions are not a high enough priority for you this year. If you think your situation will change in the future, then you can join up to start the other parts of your DofE programme and do expeditions later.

I have a problem with the advertised meeting night/time/place, can I still apply to join the group?

No, sorry. Our volunteers have already committed to these dates, times and locations. You could look for another group via the DofE website.
It is worth considering that your Gold DofE expeditions are a one-off event – you will only need to attend the meetings listed at the top of the page. We run other meetings to support you through the rest of your award, but these are optional and we can usually offer support remotely.
On the other hand, if your other commitment will not last forever, you can join up to start the other parts of your DofE programme and do expeditions later.

Can I do some of the expeditions and training this year, and some the next?

No, unless there is an exceptional reason, which you should contact the MOG leaders to discuss. We design our expedition programmes as a package, usually to be delivered within one academic year. During the programme, as well as acquiring the relevant knowledge and fulfilling the requirements of DofE, you are building expedition fitness and developing relationships with the participants who will be part of your team. This social interaction is vital as the Expedition section can only be completed as a team.

Will these expeditions definitely go ahead?

The leaders have committed to these dates, so we will do everything possible to make sure they go ahead. However, due to the lead time it is always possible that due to changes in circumstances for our leaders we may have to cancel the expedition programme, if this happened we would let you know as soon as possible.

We have set a minimum number of participants which ensures that we will have at least one expedition team and that the programme is value for money. If we don’t have this minimum number of participants then we will not be able to begin the expedition programme, in this case we would let applicants to the expedition programme know shortly after the closing date, and we’d refund all money paid.

I want to do my expedition abroad /canoeing /cycling /horseriding /sailing /kayaking /ski-touring /skateboarding, can I do this?

Yes! We will do our best to facilitate this. If this is something you are interested in, let us know and we will discuss it with you.

This particular expedition programme is for a walking expedition. There are two possible routes to do an expedition by another mode of travel;

  1. If we can find a like-minded group of participants within MOG we will support you as a group to organise the expeditions by your chosen mode of transport. Our current leaders only have leadership qualifications for walking, so we would probably have to bring in additional instructors for some of the training and the expeditions.
  2. You can look for a place on an open expedition through a DofE Approved Activity Provider (AAP). These are advertised on the DofE opportunity finder.

You should expect an expedition by any other mode of travel to cost more because of the costs of equipment hire and qualified instructors.

Already a member? Download a KIC form, email the completed form to the leaders and send the first payment of £85.

I have more questions, who should I contact?

General information and FAQs about joining MOG are available here.

If your question is not answered here please contact us.