Silver Gold Training Material
Prepare for your practice hike
Kit, food etc
Turn up for your practice training day dressed for an expedition, including walking boots and full waterproofs. You should bring all the Clothing and Personal Kit listed on the page linked below, packed in your rucksack. You should have plenty of snacks for the whole day and a dehydrated or boil-in-bag meal for your lunch – no nuts, please. You should carry 2 litres of water. You do not need any Group Kit (tent, stove etc).
Map and compass – basic
- Choosing the right map with Steve Backshall and Ordnance Survey – YouTube 1:16
- Understanding map symbols with Steve Backshall and Ordnance Survey – YouTube 0:56
- Understanding contour lines with Steve Backshall and Ordnance Survey – YouTube 1:15
- How to take a 4-figure grid reference with Steve Backshall and Ordnance Survey – YouTube 1:53
- How to take a 6-figure grid reference with Steve Backshall and Ordnance Survey – YouTube 2:07
- Features of a compass with Steve Backshall and Ordnance Survey – YouTube 1:57
- How to take a compass bearing with Steve Backshall and Ordnance Survey – YouTube 1:33
- OS 25K Maps legend – key to symbols etc (PDF- check Downloads)
Take and walk a bearing
- Taking and Walking a Bearing YouTube 5:06
Putting the skills together
Terminology and techniques
The 5 Ds
- Distance – (How far is it)
- Duration – (How long will it take)
- Direction – (Which way should I go)
- Description – (What will I see along the way) [Danger?]
- Destination – (What should I see at the end of the leg)
Aim and projects
Every Qualifying Expedition must have an aim, usually some sort of project involving all members of the group. Note, too, that every group at Silver and Gold has to prepare and deliver a Presentation about their expedition, which is usually linked to the aim, so it is worth choosing something interesting, and agreeing how you can make sure you will have the photos etc for the presentation.
General materials for reference
Planning the expedition
1. The team must plan and organise the expedition; all members of the team should be able to describe the role they have played in planning.
2. The expedition must have an aim. The aim can be set by the Leader at Bronze level only.
3. All participants must be within the qualifying age of the programme level and at the same Award level (i.e. not have completed the same or higher level of expedition).
4. There must be between four and seven participants in a team (eight for modes of travel which have tandem).
5. The expedition should take place in the recommended environment.
Bronze: Expeditions should be in normal rural countryside – familiar and local to groups.
Silver: Expeditions should be in normal rural, open countryside or forest – unfamiliar to groups.
Gold: Expeditions should be in wild country (remote from habitation) which is unfamiliar to groups.
6. Accommodation must be by camping or other simple self-catering accommodation (e.g. camping barns or bunkhouses).
7. The expedition must be of the correct duration and meet the minimum hours of planned activity.
Bronze: A minimum of 2 days, 1 night; 6 hours planned activity each day.
Silver: A minimum of 3 days, 2 nights; 7 hours planned activity each day.
Gold: A minimum of 4 days, 3 nights; 8 hours planned activity each day.
8. All expeditions must be supervised by an adult (the Expedition Supervisor) who is able to accept responsibility for the safety of the team.
9. Assessment must be by an accredited Assessor. At Bronze level only, the Assessor may also be the Expedition Supervisor.
10. Expeditions will usually take place between the end of March and the end of October. They may take place outside this period, if so, non-camping accommodation options should be considered.
Training and practice
11. Participants must be adequately trained to safely undertake a remotely supervised expedition in the environment in which they will be operating.
Bronze: Teams must complete the required training.
Silver: Teams must complete the required training and a practice expedition of a minimum 2 days, 2 nights.
Gold: Teams must complete the required training and a practice expedition of a minimum 2 days, 2 nights.
During the expedition
12. All expeditions must be by the participants’ own physical effort, without motorised or outside assistance. Mobility aids may be used where appropriate to the needs of the participant.
13. All expeditions must be unaccompanied and self-sufficient. The team must be properly equipped, and supervision must be carried out remotely.
14. Teams must possess the necessary physical fitness, first aid and expedition skills required to complete their expedition safely.
15. Groups must adhere to a mobile phone use policy as agreed with their Expedition Supervisor and Assessor. This agreement should also include use of other electronic equipment.
16. Participants must behave responsibly with respect for their team members, Leaders, the public and animals.
17. Groups must understand and adhere to the Countryside /Scottish Outdoor Access, Highway and Water Sports Codes (as appropriate).
18. Participants must plan an appropriate expedition menu, including cooking and eating a substantial hot meal on each day. This is optional on the final day.
19. Participants must actively participate in a debrief with their Assessor at the end of the expedition.
20. At Silver and Gold level, a presentation must be prepared and delivered after the expedition.
You can download a PDF version of the 20 Conditions of the Expedition section here.
This gives details of what we have to cover, under the following headings:
- First aid and emergency procedures
- An awareness of risk and health and safety issues
- Navigation and route planning
- Preparatory map skills
- Practical map skills
- Compass skills
- Campcraft, equipment and hygiene
- Food and cooking
- Countryside and Highway Codes
- Observation recording and presentations
- Team building
- Proficiency in the mode of travel – walking
Enjoying the outdoors responsibly
When visiting the outdoors, you must behave responsibly, and the Code explains what this means. The main responsibilities can be summarised as
- take responsibility for your own actions – eg care for your own safety, keep alert for hazards, take special care with children.
- respect people’s privacy and peace of mind – eg. do not act in ways that might annoy or alarm people, especially at night.
- help land managers and others to work safely and effectively – eg keep clear of land management operations like harvesting or tree-felling, avoid damaging crops, leave gates as you find them.
- care for your environment – eg don’t disturb wildlife, take your litter away with you.
- Keep your dog under proper control – dogs are popular companions, but take special care if near livestock, or during the bird breeding season, and always pick up after your dog.
- Take extra care if you are organising an event or running a business – eg talk to the managers of any land which you may plan to use intensively or regularly.
Respect other people
- Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors
- Park carefully so access to gateways and driveways is clear
- Leave gates and property as you find them
- Follow paths but give way to others where it’s narrow
Protect the natural environment
- Leave no trace of your visit, take all your litter home
- Don’t have BBQs or fires
- Keep dogs under effective control
- Dog poo – bag it and bin it
Enjoy the outdoors
- Plan ahead, check what facilities are open, be prepared
- Follow advice and local signs and obey social distancing measures
How to do an expedition - advice
Boots, socks, cut toenails, blisters
Speed – pace of slowest …
Take turns at front and back – not always same position in group
Keep to times on route card
Hills – shorten pace, walk at an angle across slope (traversing)
Contouring – but follow agreed route
Rocky ground, muddy ground, boggy ground
Rucksack: adjusting; loading; lifting; walking
Remember road safety including forestry vehicles: no earphones
Pay attention to what you are doing and what is around you: traffic? bikes? animals? holes in ground?
For cold – gloves, hat, layers …
For sun – sunblock (only what you need!)
For midges etc – net, repellent; keep tent door shut!
Lots of high energy, lightweight food:
Meals – breakfast & evening
Snacks – as you go, including lunch
Carry 2 litres per day.
To be safe, water must either be boiled for at least one minute or treated with water purifying tablets (Chlorine Dioxide is the most effective). It should be taken from a free flowing stream/small river preferably not a pond or loch. Check upstream for 100/150m to make sure there is nothing in the water that could be harmful – dead animals, rubbish, chemicals etc. If in doubt, always treat with tablets rather than boil.
Use route card, map, compass and watch at all stages.
Don’t assume somebody else knows!
Keep your Assessor happy
Keep to your route.
Keep to time.
Shut gates if you open them.
Don’t block a gate, stile or path – be polite to other people.
Phones only for emergency, or as a camera. Don’t use social media!
Work on your project.
Chat to each other
Make decisions as a group
Don’t listen to music etc as you go!
Support each other – help to put rucksack on; get someone’s water bottle etc from pack …
Take photos and notes of what you see.