Friends of the Award

Supporting Young People to Achieve

Our Open Walking Expeditions are open to all young people in Edinburgh and surrounding areas.

Participant Focused

We pride ourselves on helping individual participants form effective teams which support each other, and supporting each team to plan and achieve their own unique, self-sufficient expedition that truly belongs to them.

Open to All

Our Open Expeditions are for DofE participants who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to complete expeditions, and those who’ve missed out for any reason. We can accommodate most additional support needs.


With help to our network of highly trained and qualified Expedition Volunteers, and grants and donations from a wide range of organisations and individuals, we try to make our expeditions affordable to all.


Please sign up to our waiting list and we’ll contact you when we set our next dates.

Sign up to our Waiting List


Please sign up to our waiting list and we’ll contact you when we set our next dates.

Sign up to our Waiting List


Please sign up to our waiting list and we’ll contact you when we set our next dates.

Sign up to our Waiting List


How to book

We are working from home due to Covid-19 so we can only accept electronic bookings. Please choose from the following:

  • If you have Microsoft Excel, please Download booking form (Mirosoft Excel), fill in the whole form and email it back to
  • If you have software that can annotate PDFs, please Download booking form (PDF), use annotations to complete the whole form and email it back to
  • If you have a printer and a scanner, please Download booking form (PDF), print it out, complete it clearly in pen, scan all 6 pages and return by email to
  • Or, email and we will create a copy for you to complete online.


We will confirm your booking by email, including an invoice which you must pay before the first session. Payment can be made online by card or by bank transfer.

Important Information

As always, our Open Expeditions are designed specifically for young people in Edinburgh and the Lothians who have missed out on expeditions, or who don’t have enough people in their DofE group to organise expeditions. As ever, we’ll make any reasonable adjustments to accommodate additional support needs. And we’ll put lots of care into building teams, knowing that most participants will be booking as individuals and won’t know anyone else.

This year’s programme is a little different to usual, because of Covid-19 and the various associated restrictions.

We will prioritise participants who wish to undertake a Qualifying expedition with us, and we’ll only accept bookings for Training and/or Practice without a Qualifying expedition if we have space.

Training: This year’s training will be whole days, 10am to 4pm each day, out for the whole day in parks and countryside in and near to Edinburgh. We very much recommend everyone completes the whole training programme for your DofE level, and we’ve made it free with all expedition bookings. However, if you have recently completed training, or at Silver and Gold levels if you have recently completed a Practice expedition, and you are confident you haven’t forgotten anything, then you are allowed to miss the training. If you have recently completed a Silver or Gold Practice expedition then you are allowed to miss both the training and practice expedition, but you are welcome to re-do either or both as a refresher.

Multiple Levels: DofE have changed several of the Expedition Conditions because of Covid-19. One of the biggest changes is that if you have not completed a Bronze Qualifying expedition, and you do Silver expeditions, then your Silver Practice can double count as your Bronze Qualifier as well. Or, if you have completed Silver Practice but not a Silver Qualifier, then your Gold Practice can double count as your Silver Qualifier. All you need to do is tell your DofE Leader what you’ve completed and ask them to sign off the Qualifying expedition for the previous level.

Camping: expeditions will include camping, and this will normally be wild camping. Everyone will sleep in their own tent. If you don’t want to camp, please let us know when you send in your booking.

Locations: We are only permitted to travel up to 60 minutes from Edinburgh. This means that expeditions will take place in nearby countryside areas, but we still have access to open and wild areas for Silver and Gold expeditions.

Transport: It is currently very difficult for us to organise transport. Training days will take place at green spaces in or very near to Edinburgh which can be accessed by both car and Lothian Buses. Expeditions will start and finish at places that can be accessed by both car, and either bus or train, up to 60 minutes driving time from central Edinburgh. Starting around 10am on the first day, finishing around 4-6pm on the last day.

Planning: Each Qualifying expedition, and Silver and Gold Practice expedition, will include one compulsory Planning Day before the expedition. During these days you’ll meet your team, go for a short practice walk with them accompanied by a qualified walk leader, choose your expedition route and complete expedition planning, all outside and all in one day.

Equipment: At no extra charge, you can borrow any of the specialist equipment you need to undertake your expeditions, this includes everything from boots to sleeping bags to tents and stoves. The first training session will cover equipment in much more detail. Equipment will be issued at the start of each expedition and collected back in at the end. If you’re borrowing a rucksack or boots, you can leave your own bag or shoes in our leaders’ cars throughout the expedition.

Costs: Our expeditions this year are even lower than usual, because we’re not able to provide transport and we will normally be wild camping. However, we are still reliant on our fantastic network of highly qualified and experienced volunteers to supervise and assess the expeditions.

What if I have to self-isolate or if I catch Covid-19? It is absolutely essential that we all follow the restrictions that Government put in place to control the pandemic. If you test positive or develop symptoms of coronavirus, or you are asked to self-isolate, then you must let us know. We will give you a full refund for the days of your programme that you have not yet completed, and we’ll let you know about other opportunities to complete your expeditions in future.

What if we go back into Level 3 or 4? We are planning this programme assuming that Scotland stays in Protection Level 2 and that no new restrictions come in. However, if new restrictions come into force, either from Scottish Government or from Edinburgh Council, we will make sure that we can meet them for these expeditions. For example, if Edinburgh or the place where you live or the expedition takes place are put into Protection Level 3, then participants will have to go home each night of each expedition, and we will change the locations to start and finish every day in or very near to Edinburgh. We won’t offer any refunds because we are still able to offer an expedition that complies with the current DofE conditions.

What if FOTA have to cancel? If FOTA have to cancel the expeditions altogether, or if we have to cancel some participants’ places, then we will provide full refunds for all days that you have not yet completed, and we’ll try our best to organise other opportunities to complete your expeditions later.

Questions? We’re working from home and we’re quite busy running other expeditions as well as planning this programme. Feel free to send in any questions by email, or leave your questions on our answerphone on 0131 467 4753 and we’ll call back when possible.

Ready to Book? Please don’t delay,Book Now!

Thank you and we hope you do send in a booking soon!


“[The leaders were] very helpful and encouraging. They helped us and gave us guidance when we needed to do some emergency route changing.”
Silver Participant
Open Silver Qualifying Expedition, 2018
“[I learnt] that I had the skills to sustain myself for 3 days and build better friendships with the people in my group.”
Open Silver Expeditions, 2018
“I am very proud of myself and believe that without the help and support of the whole team l would have not completed the expedition.”
Bronze Participant
Open Bronze Expeditions 2018

Thanks to our funders

We are very grateful for financial help towards our expedition support work from a wide range of organisations including: