Explorer Scouts

AFTER  training for six months to achieve the Expedition section of the DofE Award, covering navigation, cooking skills and emergency aid, 46 Explorer scouts aged 14 to 18 from the five units in Woking,  together with 22 leaders, made their way to Brecon for a weekend of fun and challenging hikes over the May bank holiday.

Top of the World: A triumphant team of scouts pause to celebrate on a Brecon peak

Having arrived at their campsite in Llangorse, near Brecon, at around 11pm on the Friday, the Scouts pitched camp and bedded down for the night, ready for an early start.  Despite low temperatures and snow on the top of the mountains, Scouts in teams of four or five completed high-level walks, including Pen y Fan and Waun Fach.

Three teams of Explorer Scouts completed their three-day Expedition, covering a distance of about 50 kilometres, walking from Talgarth, around Waun Fach to Crickhowell and Talybont, then back up to Llangors.

During the weekend, two other teams of younger Explorers completed a two-day, 25-kilometre Expedition, walking from Crickhowell, following part of the Beacons Way to Cwmdu and back to Llangorse Lake.

Another team take a quick break to catch their breath

En route the Scouts had to complete their chosen projects, on subjects such as the effect of tourism on the paths, historic buildings and the effects rivers and lakes have on the community. One team carried out their project on the local thoughts of Brexit.

The Expedition was the final part of their Chief Scout’s Award and the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme’s Bronze and Silver Expedition section.

Another group of five Explorers completed a gruelling three-day Expedition as part of their official practice for the Queen’s Scout and DofE Gold Awards, covering around 25km a day in the wildest parts of the Black Mountains. They will now go on to complete a four-day Expedition on Dartmoor in August.

The Expedition section enables the Scouts to gain confidence. “It was a super and fun weekend for all the Scouts,” said Brian Pinto, Explorer Scout Commissioner for Woking. “The terrain was much more challenging than the Surrey Hills and their training in the last two terms certainly paid off, putting their navigation skills to the test.”

Sixty Explorer Scouts took part recently in Woking District’s annual two-day Expedition Challenge.

The route led competitive teams of four or five scouts, aged 14 to 18, on a 45-kilometre hike. They carried all their equipment, including food and cooking gear for the weekend, and wore costumes of their team’s choice, such as the Spice Girls, French onion sellers and bananas.

Whimsically dressed Explorer Scouts enjoy a well earned meal after the first day of the expedition

The teams had to catch a train early on Saturday, from Woking to their start point at Liphook station. They then had to navigate onto the South Downs and to West Harting Down, before ending the day at their campsite in Rogate. There they cooked and enjoyed meals such as spicy chorizo sausages and pasta, and meatballs and rice.

After a cold but frost-free night’s sleep and surviving the clocks going forward, the teams spent a damp and overcast second day hiking back to Liphook and the return train to Woking.

During the expedition, the Scouts had to complete a project based on their observations of the countryside and then give a humorous account of their findings.

The winning team represented the Explorer scouts at the Phoenix Unit in Byfleet.

For the special picture feature get the 11 April edition of the News & Mail

WITCHETTY grubs and grasshoppers were served up to Explorer Scouts when they faced a bushtucker challenge at a weekend camp.

TESTS: The contents of their sandwiches might not be what these Explorer Scouts are used to

It was a case of “I’m an Explorer Scout…Get Me Out of Here!” on a cold and muddy Birchmere campsite at Wisley Common.

Explorer Scouts from across Woking came together to brave a series of trials in the style of the well-known TV series.

The weekend was organised by a committee of Explorer Scouts to enable members of the five units around the borough to meet and get to know each other.

For the full story get the 14 February edition of the News & Mail