By this time five boys had reached the final stages for their gold medals and wanted to do a really hard journey in order to qualify.
Eight more were nearing the end of the silver medal stage, and lacked actual mountain experience. So the news of Mr Balsillie's
success with Scottish Railways created a great stir at Goldings, and the generous decision of the Hertfordshire Scouts to allow
Goldings a week's booking at their coveted new centre caused wild elation. The gold boys could plan a four-day exercise in absolutely
wild and open country, without even a village shop in the territory crossed, while the rest of the
party concentrate on gaining first-hand experience of the hazards of mountain operations. It was a thrilling moment when they all
stepped out of Balquhidder Station at 7.30 a.m. on a June morning and set out to walk the three miles to Lochearnhead carrying their gear.
For most it was their first glimpse of real mountains. The first thing learned was the meaning of mountain mist, and the importance of accurate
"We were out on our very first exercise," Mr Newton said, "and the mist came down, swift and thick, blotting out the whole countryside. They'd
never seen anything like it, and now they really know what mountain mist means."
But equally impressive was the wonder of the mountain top silence and the enormous views.
"You are seeing something earmarked 'For climbers only' ", they were told. "Owning the most expensive car would never enable a man to get up
here and see this."
There were amusing incidents, too, especially when Mr Newton
staged--a mock rescue expedition. The gold boys were away on their four-day exercise.
"Action stations," he told the rest. "The gold boys have had an accident, and we must reach them without delay."
The exercise began in grand style. Quickly gathering supplies and first-aid equipment, within 15 minutes the rescuers were away up the hillside
ready to leave the road and start climbing the lower mountain slopes.
"Now let'« know exactly where we're going," said Mr Newton. "Give me a map and we'll pinpoint the spot."
The boys looked sheepishly at each other. Everyone had concentrated on first-aid equipment and forgotten the need for a map. Had Mr Newton
not produced his own, the whole party would have had to return to base to retrieve one. It was a lesson none of the volunteers is likely to forget
nor the importance of always carrying a rope. For two of the would-be rescuers tried an awkward river crossing and slipped in. Mr Newton alone
had the length of rope that made hauling them out an easy matter. Even as he turned to put the rope away, one of the wet
ones whipped off his boots to dry them —having no idea how difficult it was going to be to get them on again.
"These may be simple things," Mr Newton says, "but they all help to build up an attitude to life a readiness to accept responsibility and recognize
the importance of one's own actions."
Mr Newton is well aware, of course, that what his boys did this summer, many others have done, some making a better showing, especially of
"But," he emphasizes, and the point is often commented on by the staff at training centres, "ninety per cent of the young people who qualify for the
Duke's awards belong to what is often called 'the grammar school type', those blessed with a good brain, successful parents able to give powerful
support and encouragement. But my boys are the C and D stream, those who might
have been excused for thinking they'd nothing to give. Yet here they are, given a chance, doggedly beating their way to the top too and doing it,
not to gain, but to be able to give."
Today it is not only old railways that are in for an overhaul. Many old ideas and institutions are being shaken to the roots. How true it is that "The
old order changes yielding place unto the new." But how gloriously true also that "God fulfils Himself in many ways," if we give Him the chance.
We believe one of the ways is through' the lives of boys like ours, those who may seem able only to contribute very small loaves and fishes to the
Divine plan. Yet these can feed a multitude.