Scout Expedition in the Surrey Hills

As a leader it never ceases to amaze me how talented our Scouts are in picking up new skills and overcoming the challenges that are thrown their way. Nothing tests this more than the expedition that we undertake as part of the highest award in the scout section – the chief scout gold award. Very similar to Duke of Edinburgh, it involves months of the scouts themselves planning and preparing; with cooking, navigation and lightweight hiking skills developed. They work out their own kit lists, their own menu and buy their own food, working out how to plan the route and consider safety precautions.

Then in the early hours of a stunning summer weekend the teams set off….often immediately in the wrong direction! But that’s a key part; getting lost and finding their way back on track in a calm and team friendly way. It made us laugh when a VERY large stick that they named ‘Jerusalem’ was quickly picked up by one team and carried as a mascot the entire way. They explained how ‘Jerusalem’ helped them work together better as a team and was good at guiding the way. There is probably a good moral story in all of this somewhere?

At the end of a long first day, where many had walked further than ever before, tents were pitched and meth based stoves used to reheat various concoctions of expedition food. Not something you’d order in a restaurant, but certainly welcomed by our hungry hikers. Sleep soon followed and a stunning star filled night watched over all.

Impressed by those that had managed to carry ice with them and serve up bacon butties for breakfast, tents were packed away, stoves cleaned and bags packed. Setting off into the Surrey Hills once again, until there were no more checkpoints left. Far more than two days of hilly walking had been achieved. Confidence grew, friendships deepened and memories were made for life.

Chrissy Welding

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