Every year, travel scholarships are awarded to pupils in the Lower Sixth Form to encourage a spirit of adventure, exploration and physical challenge. In 2019, nine groups and 30 pupils competed for an award, and made it through to the final interview stage of the process where they presented their carefully researched plans with real enthusiasm to a committee of eight members of the teaching staff.
The top award of £300, The Dudgeon, went to Louis de Gale (G), Adam Hutchinson (G) and Alice Hamilton-Charlton (L) for their trip to the Isle of Skye. The pupils plan to cycle round Skye and walk parts of the Cuillin Ridge, wild camping every night. The Cuillins are one of the most beautiful, demanding and sought-after goals for climbers and walkers in the UK, and the committee felt that the pupils’ commitment and ambition captured the essence of the awards.
Runners-up awards went to trips visiting Georgia in the footsteps of Steinbeck, a Grand Tour of Europe, Florence on a Renaissance-inspired trail, and two awards for intellectual adventures to Athens.
The history of these awards dates to the Second World War with an Old Oundelian called Patrick Dudgeon. He was detailed to be parachuted into Italy with orders to bomb a bridge. He was captured and tortured to betray his plans and companions, but refused to speak, and was executed. The fact that his German interrogator wrote to the British commander saying that Dudgeon was the bravest man he had ever met should give some idea of what he went through before he died. His family wanted to set up something in his memory, and gave money to the School for a travel scholarship to inspire pupils to create their own adventures. Other families have done the same, and 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.