Kirsty leads the way in her hunt for Duke of Edinburgh Gold

Kirsty Soutar
Kirsty Soutar

A pioneering teenager is hoping to earn her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award after being one of the first to take part in a groundbreaking scheme.

Kirsty Soutar (18), from Lenzie, has cerebral palsy - a result of a childhood heart problem - but hasn’t let it get in the way of her achieving the gruelling challenge.

A new programme means adventurers like Kirsty take on a canoe expedition instead of the usual four-day unaccompanied walk - inaccessible to those with disabilities.

The Glasgow Clyde College student was last week presented with her ‘expedition certificate’ and hopes to receive the award itself next year.

A spokesperson said: “One of the guiding principles of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is that it should be ‘available to all’, but many families believe that it is just about hiking through the hills and assume that their children will not be able to do it, so don’t bother enquiring.

“The experiences of the Paddlers is to be used as a myth buster to prove that it can be done.”

More information about the scheme can be found at