1st Eaton’s Easter Expedition
By Thomas Dakin (Scout)
“During the Easter break 8 scouts from the 1st Eaton Socon Scout Troop took part in an expedition from the Brampton Scout Hut to the Holt Island sea scout site. The aim of this expedition was for these 8 to be able to complete their expedition badge, one of the challenge badges required to achieve their gold award. This was the final badge for 4 of the scouts before they could complete their Chief Scout Gold Award.
The scouts were given the choice between sleeping in hammocks or a tent and the majority chose to sleep in hammocks with only 3 opting for a tent once they heard that it would be -2 overnight (we recorded -3 at one point). Those that chose to sleep in a hammock carried it with them while the tent was already at site. At the start of the expedition we split the scouts into 2 groups of 4 and went through the route so that all the leaders and parents that were walking and all the scouts knew the planned route there, there were still a few minor detours taken due to certain parts of the route having changed, one group had to make a minor detour to collect a young leader along the route.
The route took both groups along the Ouse valley trail, along this route we met a whole host of interesting people including a guide leader, another scout leader from a different county and a DofE group who seemed to be going away for a week with the amount of equipment they were carrying compared to the scouts. It was a chilly start to the day but once we started moving we all soon warmed up, the adults had decided that due to the age of the scouts we would allow them a certain amount of freedom on this hike allowing them to walk ahead of us and we just followed them to the site assisting where required when the route needed to differ from what was on the map due to a change in the foot path.
Once we reached site, 8 hours after leaving Brampton for one group, we set-up camp with the majority of scouts having their hammocks slung between trees very quickly, however the tent took a little longer to put up as it was a brand new tent that none of the scouts had used before.
When dinner time rolled around we had a roaring fire going and cooked pasta with tomato sauce, filling if not very adventurous. Once dinner was complete the scouts washed up and then sat around the fire chatting with the leaders about their experiences during the day and what could be done better next time. Soon however it was time for bed as the temperature was dropping quickly. Surprisingly the majority of the scouts were asleep by 11PM however a couple decided to chat into the night finally going to sleep around 2am. The leaders remained awake through most of the night keeping the fire lit so the scouts could come and warm up if needed.
Come morning the scouts were ready for breakfast and to start the day however the first order of business was to build up the fire again, which we had kept small but hot during the night, so that we could cook bacon, eggs and sausages for breakfast, before breaking down the camp. The group of girls were the first to finish breaking camp and as they could see that certain things still needed to be completed before we could leave they volunteered to make lunch for everyone. While the girls were making lunch the group of boys, with help from parental helpers, were packing away the tent and loading the equipment we had used into the leaders car. The scouts had challenged the leaders to run a camp using only what they could fit (not including food) into one leaders 4×4, we went slightly overboard and decided that we would take only what we could fit into the boot of said 4×4.
Once everything was packed away we set-off to Brampton Scout Hut which was our end point, we followed a similar route back to the hut with a few significant changes. As the scouts were more confident with their map reading skills it only took them around 4 hours to get back with very few unplanned detours, when the boys group decided to stop for lunch they found a rope swing to play on for 15 minutes which resulted in much hilarity. When the scouts reached the last couple of miles both groups were able to see each other which spurred the older group of scouts to up their pace (even running at one point) so they would get back first. When we returned to the scout hut the parents were waiting for us, loading up their children into the cars before taking them home for a well deserved sleep.
All in all it was a very good camp where the scouts learnt that we don’t need loads of equipment to have a fun and enjoyable camp rather we can make do with a few hammocks, a tent, fire pit and cooking equipment. I am happy to say that the 4 oldest have completed the badge and are now eligible for their gold award and the 4 slightly younger ones are not far behind.”