9th June 2008
Four Sevenoaks Scouts recently took part in the County Expedition Challenge Hike to gain their Expedition Challenge badge. Successfully completing the weekend, Alistair, a Scout from 3rd Sevenoaks tells their story below...
Scout Expedition Challenge Badge Hike
The expedition challenge is a hike over two days and you walk for 4 hours each day with kit including clothes, sleeping bags, tents, food and emergency aid kit. It is supposed to be a challenge and an enjoyable one none the less.
The hike started on the 9th of May and finished on the 11th. We pitched our tents and unloaded our bags. There was time for registration, a quick game, a drink and then bed. We woke up the next day and had our breakfast at 08:00 then got ready for the day ahead.
We started off with using gas trangias (all in one cooking units) at the 1st base; as we had been told weren’t allowed flammable liquids in our bags; this was different to what we had been shown but was simple enough. At the 2nd base we practised using a compass and pacing. Then at the 3rd base we were told what we should have in our bag (lightweight camping). At the 4th base we packed our lunch of sandwiches, fruit biscuits and either a Mars bar or a Snickers. Then we planned our route through Harvel in a circuit leading back to the hut.
We started off and it was a little hilly making the walking harder and our bags feel heavier. We had quite a fast pace and overtook people in front of us who were slightly slower. We took a wrong turn then turned back quickly. We got to our first checkpoint and clocked in and out within a minute. Soon we caught up with the 1st group, but as we weren’t allowed to pass them, we decided to have our lunch instead. We carried on at a leisurely pace and found the strain wasn’t as bad as at the start.
Walking on further, a few puddles appeared then it turned into a swamp. You had to watch your step and cross over massive puddles. Then right near the end of this swamp I stepped in a puddle up to the bottom of my trousers. We were out and after that, a checkpoint on the list wasn’t there so we waited then went on. We went up and down some hills then we were nearing the next checkpoint. We got to the checkpoint and by this time we were given some water, rested, then consulted the map and we were where we were supposed to be. Then we were off. Another mile and ¾ and we reached our last one where we got crisps and water.
We were allowed in front and we were also told that a group missed a checkpoint. Two paths met and we went the wrong way but looking at the map and a strong gut feeling told us that we had gone wrong. Carrying on we went back and found the right way eventually. We found the end and we were the first back. We got back and went to the toilet and relaxed until dinner. We cooked our own Chilli con Carne on gas trangias (yum!). Then we got some cake, washed up and had some hot chocolate.
We had a campfire after all that and sang songs around it like Bugaloo (from the Jamboree). After that we went to bed.
We had a cooked breakfast and cereal washed up then packed a few things away so we wouldn’t have to later. We were told our route and given leader. We were also told that it would be a much shorter walk today.
We started out with a good pace and checked our route every so often, as had we did the day before. We were doing well and we were at our first checkpoint all ready. It felt a lot easier on the second day and that we were all comfortable with our group. Our leader was a man who stayed in a tent for a whole year for charity. We reached the next checkpoint and we got water, malt loaf and we were enjoying it.
We got lost in a field, trailed back and found our way again. Then we passed a group going the other way and they told us it wasn’t far so we thought we were ¾ of the way to our destination. We walked on and we listened to the people shooting in the next field. We were nearing the last checkpoint and we crossed the road and there it was. We had some water a rest and moved on. We knew it wasn’t far so we quickened our pace and kept checking our route because we didn’t want to get lost now. We saw where we went the day before but we thought it would be quicker to go through a different part. We were right.
When we got back we packed up and had our lunch. We were awarded our badges and certificates for completing 2 days with 4 hours walking with our kit each on both days. Then we went home.
I would recommend this to a friend and really enjoyed it. It was a challenge but it wasn’t just for the badge it was for enjoyment as well. That’s also what Scouts is about not the badges but the commitment you put in as well as making friends on the way.