Brathay Explore

Increasing awareness | Developing potential | Broadening horizons | DofE Gold Residentials

DofE Approved Activity Provider

Our Brathay Explore programme offers a range of challenging outdoor experiences and is designed to give young people an opportunity to take part in inspirational, life-changing expeditions in the UK and overseas.

Each expedition is fully supported by suitably qualified outdoor instructors, and routes and itineraries can be adapted to suit the needs and abilities of those taking part and, of course, the weather. For over 70 years, our Brathay expeditions have been supporting the personal development of young people by expanding their horizons, bringing out the best in them both physically and mentally and building on their leadership skills. 

All our expeditions require stamina, a positive attitude and a willingness to work as a team – fertile training ground for cadet groups, outdoor education students, geologists, geographers and other adventurers. Most of our expeditions qualify as Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Gold Residentials.


Tour du Mont Blanc, France

Tour Du Mont Blanc France Tour Du Mont Blanc France Tour Du Mont Blanc France

Experience Europe’s best-known Alpine tour on this spectacular route showcasing everything that the region has to offer. You will cross over France, Italy and Switzerland taking in more ascent than the equivalent of climbing Everest among glaciated valleys and picturesque wildflower meadows. No wonder it’s on many people’s bucket list!

10 days; 170 kms with 10,000m of ascent; not technical but requires stamina.

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Paradiso Trek, Italy

This quiet and relatively undiscovered trek traverses 87kms of high level passes through some of Italy’s most stunning and rugged mountain scenery. The terrain is demanding, but walkers are rewarded with scenic limestone cliffs and an infinite variety of flora and fauna in all directions!

6 days walking; 87kms with 630m of ascent; requires stamina and a head for heights.

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Saas Grund, Switzerland

Glacier Training Saas Grund Switzerland Glacier Trekking Saas Grund Switzerland Rock climbing Saas Grund Switzerland

An action-packed mountain expedition based in Switzerland. Enjoy a full-on outdoor adventure with the support of an International Mountain Guide. You get to climb a challenging peak and experience a high level ferrata – the prefect taster for life at high altitude.

5 activity days; technical equipment and training included; self-cater in bunkhouses; requires fitness!

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Jameson Land, Greenland

A wilderness landscape Jameson Land Greenland Arrive by helicopter Jameson Land Greenland Remote peaks Jameson Land Greenland

Enter the alien, lunar landscape of remotest Greenland and spend 2 weeks living under canvas whilst walking, exploring and carrying out your own field studies. This is wilderness in the extreme – permanent daylight, uninhabited even by the Inuit people, and reachable only by helicopter. Food is rationed and some shooting skills needed.

2 weeks wilderness camping; courage and tenacity required!

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Liverpool Land, Greenland

This expedition provides a wilderness journey by foot and boat as you move camp each night and make your way across a remote, exposed peninsula. The area is more travelled than Jameson Land, but is still untamed and challenging. Expect to see bison and polar bears along the way.

2 weeks moving camp; love of the great outdoors essential!

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Harken River, Sweden

Teamwork is key on this exciting expedition Harken River Sweden Living in the great outdoors on the banks of the river

A perfect expedition for those with basic canoeing experience looking for a new challenge. Paddle through beautiful forest scenery, carrying and setting up camp each night and developing your bush craft skills along the way.

7 days; 2 people per boat; basic canoe experience an advantage; eligible as Gold DofE Residential.

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Great Glen Voyageur Canoe trip, Scotland

Yoyageur Canoe On Loch Ness Brathay Explore Great Glen Expedition Scotland Loch Young People Waiting At A Lock In Scotland

Paddle the width of Scotland across wild open water in Brathay’s unique 12-person voyageur canoes. This is a fully supported canoeing and camping expedition that takes in Loch Ness, the Caledonian Canal and Neptune’s Staircase. A chance to progress from novice to master expeditioner.

6.5 days with 4 days paddling; 60-mile waterway with 29 locks; eligible as Gold DofE Residential.

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River Spey by Open Canoe, Scotland

River Spey By Open Canoe Scotland Living outdoors on the banks of the River Spey Enjoy tranquil sunrises and sunsets

This open water river descent from Aviemore to the open sea will introduce you to the fun and challenge of tackling white water. You paddle in 2-man canoes and move camp each day as your journey progresses. Wild camp on a river island and look forward to seeing dolphins and Minke whales at the end!

5 day open canoe river trip paddling 67 miles; some flat water canoeing experience recommended.

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Knoydart Wilderness, Scotland

Knoydart can only be reached by sea Knoydart offers some challenging peaks One of the UK's last wildernesses

This remote and rugged peninsula on the west coast of Scotland is so isolated that you can only get to it by sea. You will arrive by voyageur canoe, camp out in the wilderness and spend a week ascending some of the area’s highest mountains. The views are outstanding and the wildlife abundant, but conditions can be harsh. No surprise it’s said to be the UK’s last wilderness. 

 7 days; hiking and living outdoors; some hillwalking and camping experience needed.

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Lake District Trek and Voyageur

Brathay Explore Lake District Mountain Walk Canoeing In The Lake District Walking In The Lake District

A fully-supported 5-day Trek and Voyageur adventure in spectacular Lakeland scenery with exciting open water paddling, hill walking, lakeside camping and a possible overnight stay in a remote mountain hut. This canoe and trek ‘combo’ is the perfect challenge for land and water adventurer. It takes in an iconic Wainwright or two and both of the Lake District’s longest lakes.

7 days canoeing with mountain hiking; taste for adventure essential; eligible as Gold DofE Residential.

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Lakeland Multi-activity Adventure

Tackling the high ropes is part of the adventure Paddle a whaler boat on Windermere  You will test your nerve and learn to work as a team

Enjoy a busy and varied 5-day outdoor adventure in spectacular Lakeland scenery on one of our multi-activity courses. Our flexible programme allows for all levels of ability and changing weather conditions with a range of exciting things to do including climbing, abseiling, ghyll scrambling, bushcraft, canoeing and hiking. You will either camp or self-cater, depending on time of year and will eat, sleep, live and explore as a close-knit team.

5 days of outdoor challenges; great intro to outdoor life; eligible for Gold DofE Residential.

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Why go on a Brathay Explore expedition?

A Brathay expedition is much more than a one off experience; we encourage our young people to stay involved, progress to other elements of our programme, gain skills and confidence and return as ambassadors, volunteers and supporters.

I grew a lot personally because [the leaders] and even participants in the group were patient and encouraged me to try things I had never dreamed I would do. The activities pushed me to the limit, and that made it a worthwhile trip that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Emma, Norway 2014

All Explore expeditions involve challenge, learning and awesome memories. They are based around Brathay’s fundamental goals of increasing awareness – of self, others and the environment, exploring choices and taking action. You can expect to:

  • visit some of the most inspiring places in the UK
  • develop personal skills (team-working, leadership, resilience, communication) in a safe, supportive but challenging environment*
  • learn new practical skills
  • meet a wide range of people from different backgrounds
  • enhance your CV, further/higher education application and employability
  • join a community of like-minded people who are passionate about the natural world


Expeditions offer the opportunity to develop personal skills such as team working and resilience, via the exploration experience and working with colleagues. We can also enhance the expedition to include facilitated personal and leadership development if required. Such requirements can be discussed with our consulting team and the programme enhanced accordingly. 

If you would like to find out more about Brathay Explore, click here to fill out a form or contact us on 015394 39760.