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The “Quest Hike”

On Saturday the 3rd of February, team Chocolate Bacon attempted ‘The Quest’ incident hike. It was a 16km hike with 16 separate bases with different activities. We had to navigate to these bases using a compass and a map. We completed this challenge in 5hours and 45 minutes: the quickest time of any group!

None of us had done it before so we weren’t sure what to expect: we had to carry our own food, water and sleeping bag..?. The conditions were wet and muddy but that was not able to dampen our spirits! Some examples of the bases are: a wordsearch, a dart board and trying to find things on a map.

We would like to thank Geoff for being our troop shadow and the lift there (and Steve Brewster for the late lift home.) It was a really good challenge and a great day; I look forward to doing it next year.


Beavers Parliament Week

30th Abingdon Beavers took part in Parliament Week on the 15 November.

The meeting hall was set up like Westminster. Abingdon Town Councillor, Samantha Bowring talked with the Beavers about why and how local and national decisions are taken and how she was inspired to become a Councillor to help improve the local parks.

The Beavers formed their own opinions on subjects, such as whether school uniform was a good idea or if voting should be compulsory. They then came up with ideas for the Beaver meeting the week after.

Three ideas were voted on using real voting booths and a ballot box, with the Beavers having to put a cross on the chosen activity. Sledging in the dark won the ballot but we also gained lots of program ideas for next term.

The Beavers went grass sledging in the dark the week after Parliament Week, with the sledges lit up with fairy lights and had great fun.

Grimsdyke Hike 2017

We entered this competition for the first time. We had six Scouts but only five were in the team due to the age restriction for a ‘Junior’ team. The Scouts did great considering that, of the five, only one Scout was invested. The other four were invested on the hike.

Over 13 miles in total and just over 8 hours. For some of the younger ones this was their first time, and I hope not their last. Great navigation, I think we only got lost once and I only needed to correct directions twice.

Summer Camp 2017

At the end of July 2017, 30th Abingdon Scouts went on their annual week-long Summer Camp.  Activities included caving, stand-up paddleboarding, cycling, trampolining and swimming, as well as traditional scout skills.  The scouts cooked in their patrols each day, on stoves and on open fires.

Leo, a scout, wrote about the caving:

On summer camp 2017 as an activity we went caving in Swildon’s Hole with West Sussex Scout Caving Team. We were split into two groups each group had two instructors, in my group we had Sam and Toby. The caves were public and we went in a little hole in the ground then through this very tight bit called the zig zag.  A stream ran through the cave going a long way down and there were some water falls. We went all the way to this place called the 20 foot pot but we did not go down but the other group did. We made our way back towards the top and then through a really tight tunnel into an opening, after that we carried on walking through the caves and up Jacobs Ladder until we found out that we walked in a circle. When we got out we found out that the other group had finished one hour earlier. I would recommend trying caving out and I would like to do it again.

Eddie wrote:

Summer Camp was enjoyable because there was a wide range of activities.  Most of all I loved the cycling because it was exciting to go through the tunnels on an old railway line just outside Bath.  It was nice to go through an old Roman town.  But there were plenty of other things that I liked.  It was fun to cook and eat the food.  There were some mishaps which made us laugh.  We had great fun caving and stand up paddle boarding.  I really enjoyed the whole week and would love to go again.

Another scout wrote:

Scout Camp was brilliant; I like that we got to choose what we cooked and what we did. I also enjoyed the sense of community and that every one pitched in to get something done. I liked that there was never moment when you were standing around doing nothing and always had something to do. We also got to do a wide range of activities from cycling to caving which was great fun. I particularly enjoyed singing and playing around the campfire where I got to know several of the Scouts better.

Photos of the camp are available here.

Aqua Camp 2017

On the weekend of 16-18 June 2017 scouts from across Oxfordshire attended Aqua Camp. Here is what one scout said about it:

“That was my third year at Aqua Camp, like the others it was fun and eventful. I really enjoyed the sailing and dragon boat racing, with our team having the best name which was chocolate bacon. The disco on the Saturday evening was fun even though there weren’t many people there to begin with. I can truthfully say Aqua Camp is one of the best camps overall and I will miss going to it when I am a explorer.”

Survival Camp 2017

Cooking fish over an open fire
Cooking fish over an open fire. (c) Geoff Soord

In April 2017, Thames Ridge District Scouts held their first ever survival camp and it was a great success.  Here is what one of the 30th Abingdon Scouts, Charlie, had to say about it:

On Saturday 8th April, I attended a county survival camp at Youlbury. Upon arrival our bags were searched to check we hadn’t smuggled treats in to keep us going. We built makeshift shelters that protected us from the worst of the wind, if placed correctly, to sleep in that night. Luckily the weather was glorious so this was almost unnecessary but a great challenge. Each patrol had to cook their own food on small fires, that many struggled to light using tinder from the natural environment with only a flint and steel. We were taught how to use axes and knives to get the tinder and firewood. We had to skin and pluck our food (pigeons and rabbits) as part of the preparation to cook them. Our patrol suffered from a lack of cookery expertise and we ate a lot of raw or hardly cooked food. Overall it was a fun weekend but I came home hungry!

Photos from the camp can be found here.

Winter Challenge 2017

Winter Challenge LogoOn Saturday 4th March, under clear blue skies, two teams of scouts from 30th Abingdon took on the Winter Challenge, an 18-mile hike along the Ridgeway.  Here is what four scouts had to say after the event.

Louis wrote:

This was my first time doing the Winter Challenge and I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it was going to be easy, turns out it’s not! The checkpoints were a relief, they were a point closer to the end. Checkpoint 3 was the best, the bacon butties were really tasty! The terrain was really muddy & slippery & at one point I fell in a puddle. The mud added lots of weight to your feet & made it harder! I felt relieved and exhausted when I made it the whole 18 miles but also really pleased I’d done it.

Charlie wrote:

On Saturday 4th March I walked the winter challenge with a group of scouts. It was a dry, bright spring day; which made for good walking conditions, so we made good time.We managed to complete it in 6 hours and 55 minutes, which we thought was a reasonable result. We walked and talked so the end was soon in sight. We had a great adult walking with us who encouraged us when we were struggling- thanks to Lucy for this support! There is a bacon butty stand and two tuck shops along the route to keep you moving.

It’s the first time I’ve done it and I would recommend the Winter Challenge to any scouts who want to test their limits.

James wrote:

We set off on a cold, dark but dry morning.  This was my third Winter Challenge so I was planning on improving my time.  When we set off, all we were talking about was our equipment and bacon butties!  However, this was soon silenced when we got a taste of the bacon butties!  We had fun together admiring the countryside.  I can’t wait until next year!

Toby wrote:

I really enjoyed this year’s Winter Challenge.  I have now done nearly 100 miles along the Ridgeway.  I really loved the snacks and bacon butties, especially the lack of queues!  It was great fun just walking and talking and I would recommend it to Scouts nad Cubs of all ages.  I would also like to thank the Oxfordshire Kenya Unit for providing snacks at Checkpoint 4.