Skip to main content


View All Adventures

Book Now

A Gold Duke of Edinburgh Expedition

Published on: 10/07/2024

At Go Ape, we're all about living the adventure life, not just talking about it. We're not only dedicated to giving every visitor an awesome time but also to supporting our team's own adventures.

Every year, our co-owners can access our "Adventure Fund" to fund their own incredible trips. Everyone can pitch their adventure plans, and we share the funds.

Read on to find out more about Go Ape co-owner Charlotte's Gold Duke of Edinburgh adventure.

By Charlotte

In May 2023 I set off for my ‘back to back’ DofE gold expedition in the Peak District. This was to be a challenging 7 days of hiking to various campsites while learning campcraft, teamwork, navigation and so much more. By the end of the trip, I had walked over 100km across varying terrain and seen many stunning views. The adventure fund covered the cost of my tent and sleeping mat.

On the first day we plotted the week's routes on the maps before being split into groups of five. Having filled our heavy bags with group and personal kit we hiked to the first campsite near Stanage Edge - getting slightly lost on the way! Here I enjoyed my first Trangia cooked dinner of rice which was to become a staple food for the expedition along with porridge and many snacks.

landscape view of tents in the lake district

Day 2 involved us hiking 16km to various checkpoints around Stanage and across the moors. This was the toughest part of the day and the whole expedition. The landscape was featureless with very uneven and wet terrain, which slowed our place, however there were grouse popping up all over the place to entertain us. We had to work hard with our map reading skills to find our way to camp, taking bearings and using the limited terrain features to make sure we stayed on track. 

An early start to day 3 meant packing up camp and then setting of for a 15km hike. We walked around Ladybower then up Win Hill via Parkin Clough. Which was hard going and I really felt the weight of my rucksack on the steep rocky path. At times it felt like we were crawling up but my effort was rewarded at the summit with the stunning view of Ladybower Reservoir. We even braved the wind and ate lunch up there before heading down to a campsite near a railway.

On days 4 -7 things started to get more serious as we began our qualifying expedition. The weather stayed hot and dry, except for the 5th day where we were relieved to summit Man Tor during a 17km walk and feel the cool mist which had formed at the top of the hills.

In April 2024 I finished my Gold DofE journey completing the residential section with Scorpion Airsoft in Norfolk. It was an interesting experience living at a youth hostel along with the other participants. We had to work as a team during the airsoft activities which included escape and evasion exercises, a physical challenge and clearance drills. In the evenings we took it in turns to prepare meals and shared the washing up duties. There wasn’t just airsoft but also a film night and table tennis competition plus so much more.

I really enjoyed the games involving searching the old hospital. It felt truly adventurous exploring the grounds in the dark with a small beam of torch light to guide my way, while trying to avoid the other teams and find various items. Hiding in the clearance competitions was very dramatic with the ominous banging sounds of the other team storming in searching for you with torchlight.

The highlight of the week was a hostage rescue mission where we all worked together against other players to locate and retrieve a hostage. During this we had to use all the tactics and skills we had learnt in other drills to sneak up and enter the hospital. Once in position on the radio signal ‘go’ there was a frenzy of action in sharp contrast to our approach. In pairs we crashed through the hospital clearing the rooms and made our way upstairs. The sounds of the exploding grenades thrown added to the exhilaration of the scene. Ultimately the mission was a success.

Thank you to Go Ape for the Adventure Fund which has helped me greatly in completing my Gold DofE!

Read more adventure stories

Get Inspired

Landscape view of the Go Ape Aberfoyle forest