Every expedition team has to have an aim for their expedition. A good Gold expedition aim:
- Something you are interested in that gives a purpose to your expedition
- Is suitable for wild country (Gold expedition environment)
- Must be compatible with a self-sufficient and unaccompanied expedition
- Involves your group doing something during the expedition
- Involves each member of your group at some point
- Includes a bad weather and midge plan
- Is expressed as a single sentence
- Has results you can demonstrate through your presentation
Each day of your expedition has to include at least 8 hours of planned activity. Planned activity includes:
- Journeying (must be at least 4 hours)
- Exploring / investigating / other work to do with your Aim
- Breaks (up to a maximum of 90 minutes)
Planned activity is counted from when you leave your campsite to arriving at your next campsite.
The eventual presentation of the results of your project can be:
- a written report
- a verbal powerpoint presentation
- performed as interpretive dance/theatre/skit/poem/song
- an exhibition
- a product such as a leaflet or film
- delivery of a DofE session or educational resource
- any other appropriate way you can come up with to present the results of your work
Once your team has formed, you may decide to use one of the aims below, or something completely different. Knowing what sort of aim you are interested in and how long you want to spend on it vs journeying will be helpful in creating compatible teams.
- Write a series of poems of your experiences and critique them.
- Create art work inspired by the landscapes you walk through.
- Write a poem or piece of creative writing inspired by your journey and submit it to the annual Mountaineering Council of Scotland literary competition.
- Paint different types of trees and correctly identify them.
- Identify and visit sites mentioned in local folklore, legends, and traditional music.
- Sketch some of the insects you spot and find out what they are.
- Create a photographic portfolio showcasing the landscape of the area
- Follow a historic right of way(s) detailed in Scottish Hill Tracks, identify historic features on the route, and report any issues or corrections to the book to Scotways.
- Find geocaches using a GPS as little as possible.
- Plan a route that uses as few paths as possible.
- Plan a route to visit, photograph, and submit as many geograph’s as possible (a geograph is the first photograph submited for a cetain grid square on geograph.org.uk).
- Search for forms of fungi, photograph or sketch them and record them.
- Note plants you see enroute and which ones are medicinal or can be eaten.
- Walk from coast to coast and record how the landscape changes.
- Identify and record conservation work being done en-route.
- Survey and compare the wildlife you find in reforested and non-wooded areas.
- Search for evidence of historical features no longer shown on current OS maps, using the National Library of Scotland historical maps.
Learn about yourself
- Monitor changing heart rates and body temperature on the expedition route.
- Record and calculate what time of day people have the most energy to push themselves harder and improve your journey times.
- Calculate whether your team expended more calories than they took in by measuring your exercise output and food intake.
- As a team, identify different team roles and rotate each day.
- Log the incidents that test your team every day and discuss and record how you could have dealt with the incident more effectively.
- Measure what affects your mental faculties by completing Sudoku puzzles throughout the expedition
- Record the impact of hill tracks on the environment along your route and report this to MCofS.
- Monitor and record the birds you see for the BTO’s ‘what’s up’ survey
- See how much litter you find on your route and responsibly dispose as much as possible.
- Visit MBA (Mountain Bothies Association) bothies and assess their condition, carry out any rubbish for responsbile disposal where practical, and submit a bothy report.
- Travel around the site of a proposed windfarm and assess the impact it would have and submit your findings to the relevant planning authority.
- Survey the map along your route and if you find any errors or required corrections submit them to openstreetmap.org (the wikipedia of mapping).
- Visit some remote historic sites to survey, describe and photograph them, then submit your obvervations to RCAHMS (Royal commision of ancient and historical monuments of Scotland).
- Travel through areas where there may be Aspen trees, identify any present and report them to the Scottish Aspen project.
- Learn how to identify your chosen creature(s) and then carry out surveys in appropriate environments and record your sightings on one or more (as appropriate) of the Saving Scotlands Red Squirrels project (Red and Grey squirrels), Record Pool (amphibians and reptiles), Froglife Dragon life app (amphibians and reptiles), Birdtrack (birds), British dragonfly society (dragonflies and damselflies), Bee watch (bees), Scottish seashell survery (sea shore snails and bi valves), Butterflies for the new millennium (Butterflies), The National Mammal Atlas (all mammals), or the Marine conservation society Jellyfish survey (stranded jellyfish).
- Make a documentary about the most common wildlife in the area.
- Create a nature guide of your route for future visitors.
- Write a guide on wild country camp craft for future expedition teams.
- Using your navigational experiences create a session which can be used to teach future DofE groups the necessary skills.
- Record issues relating to the Outdoor Access Code which affected your and come up with a way to communicate this to future visitors to the area.