Every year, travel scholarships are awarded to pupils in the Lower Sixth Form to encourage a spirit of adventure, exploration and physical challenge. In 2024, four groups that involved fifteen pupils competed for an award, and made it through to the final interview stage of the process. Here, they presented their carefully researched plans with real enthusiasm to a committee of four members of the teaching staff and a new donor to the awards, Mr Dave Batley from Savvi Travel, Oundle. The latter is a family-run, travel agency located in Oundle and that has a close link to the school, having arranged tours and travel arrangements for a number of the school trips.

This year’s applications for the Adventure Awards were of an impressively high standard. The committee were delighted to hear such a range of ideas and to see the inspiration, careful planning, research and ambition behind the plans. It was certainly the highest quality of groups, presentations and overall achievement in the application process that the committee have seen over the last fifteen years.

The oldest and most prestigious award is the Dudgeon Venture Award and is specifically for activities of a physically demanding and adventurous nature. This is funded in memory of Patrick Dudgeon (StA 1938), who was captured by the Germans in the Second World War, and described by the German who interviewed him as “the bravest man he had ever met”. He was executed in 1943 by the Nazis.

This award was won by Hana (N), Lizzie (D) and Eva (K) for their trip titled A Quest for the Gods: Ascending Mount Olympus. As close friends, the girls began their journey together in The Berrystead and were keen to celebrate their final year at school with a meaningful and inspiring experience. The committee were impressed by their commitment and by the way they explained and framed their idea, with the concluding element of their application as follows: “The expedition offers not only a formidable physical challenge but also a unique connection to the history, literature and mythology of a culture which is fascinating and meaningful to all three of us. We are excited to make it one of our last Oundle adventures.”

Other award winners were as follows:

This award is funded in memory of Dr W B G Angus (Sch 1903) and is for activities of the Dudgeon type.
Peaks for a Purpose – Tour de Mont Blanc: Jeremy (G), Tess (W), Sophie (Sn), Dexter (B)

This award is funded by Savvi Travel and is for any European adventure, of an academic, physical, cultural, architectural or artistic nature.
From West to East – Reimagining Patrick Leigh Fermor’s Journey from London to Istanbul, Exploring the Differences in People and Places Almost a Hundred Years On: Grace (Sr), Ottilie (L), Oviya (L), Isla (L)

This award encompasses activities which may be of a more general or academic nature than the Dudgeon or Angus Awards.
Tour of Germany and Belgium following 19th and 20th century travel writing: Andrew (StA), Charles (StA), Ralph (StA), Theo (StA)

The history of these awards relates to the Dudgeon family and the desire to honour the memory of their son Patrick. They gave money to the School for a travel scholarship to inspire pupils to create their own adventures. Other families have done the same over the years and are joined this year by a new donor, Savvi Travel of Oundle. The school now has several awards available for those pupils who want to plan and organise their own trips, which can be physically challenging or intellectually stimulating; the choice is entirely the pupils.

T Harris