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Written by Ian Mitchell   
Approaching East Checkpoint Sunday

A couple of weekends ago. You remember the weekend. The one between all of that rain (phew). The Scouts set off in two teams on a mystery hike to get their Expedition Challenge badge. They stayed over in the hall on the Friday night, with a full kit check, to ensure they would be carrying the minimum needed. Once personal kit had been rationalised down (Sorry Amy for making you leave three makeup bags and a hairdry behind.), they were then given their team equipment (stove, tent, food, etc) that they had to divide up amongst their team. The older lads kindly took more than their fair share to hepl the younger ones. from this point onwards they were going to be self sufficient for the rest of the weekend. Everything crammed into kit bags, they were sent around mill meadows on a 'kit trial' walk to ensure that the rucksacks fitted OK. For us this is important because some of them have bags bigger than themselves. Once suitably tired they were sent to bed down in the hall and fell asleep almost straight away (see the method to our madness of getting them to do a little walk).

The next day they woke up bright and early-ish. Kit packed, scouts washed and breakfast eaten, it was now down to Paul and I to give the two reams their first coordinates, one of ten they would have to navigate around over the weekend. The first team was set off and the second team 20 minutes later. The first checkpoint was at Billericay train station, where they got a train to Rochford (checkpoint 2), from here the two teams would be taking different routes, so no following each other! At the next checkpoint (East or West) the teams were given their final destination, where they would be sleeping (Belchamps Scout campsite). Once at the camp, tents were erected and prepared (sleeping bags, etc layed out. Time to find teddy). When the second team eventually arrived and settled, they all cooked their own meals on the small stoves provided. Top tip for any budding Scout Leaders: this is the best type of camp to organise, you hardly have to do anything!!! After dinner it was down to the camp fire for a raucaus sing song, with the only disappointment being them not singing 'Charlie had a pidgeon'....just ask the Scouts.

The next day was very much the same, but in reverse with the teams walking the route they didn't do on Saturday. All catching the train back to Billericay, well I say all, but actually Chris and Liam loved the weekend so much, that they decided to stay on the train to Shenfield. Dooh. One emergency dash over to pick them up and we were all back on track (pardon the pun). Safely back to the hall, kit away and off home for a bath, beer and bed. The Scout leaders probably did the same. A great, fun, exciting, tiring (it really takes it out of you sitting at a checkpoint waiting 2 hours for Scouts to turn up) weekend that we have to give a big thank you to John (ASL - Special Projects) for organising and running. Photos of the event can be seen on Flickr Here:


Finally, thank you to who ever arranged for it to not rain that weekend.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 July 2012 21:54