MORE than 65 years since it was first piloted, and almost two years since the death of the man who came up with the idea, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme remains immensely popular with young people all over the UK – and East Ayrshire is no exception.

Pupils at the Robert Burns Academy in Cumnock demonstrated their commitment to one of the best-known elements of the programme when they set out last week to explore the great outdoors on the ‘expedition’ part of their bronze and silver awards.

And, giving lie to the tired old notion that young people these days are all too fond of the indoor life, the group showed no sign of being put off by some thoroughly dreich Scottish weather as they spent two days exploring, and camping in, East Ayrshire’s great outdoors.

The bronze and silver awards of the ‘D of E’, as it’s known by many, also include sections on volunteering, physical activity, and skills, while those who go on to complete the gold award must also complete a team residential activity.