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  • Writer's pictureDistrict General - Myles

Maidstone Winter Survival 2022

Back in February, three teams from Gravesham took part in what is by a long way the most challenging event for Explorers in Kent. The challenge starts at about 5pm on Friday night and this year only 2 teams completed the near 40 mile course which finished in the early hours of the following Sunday morning. To give you an idea of what it feels like to take part here is a report from ‘Yankee 1’, one of the Gravesham teams: “We took part in Winter Survival which was an intense challenge, but a fun experience nonetheless. The walk was very long and challenging on the Friday evening and we only got to our stop at around 1am on Saturday morning. The volunteers there were very helpful and nice and made hot drinks for us to warm us up. In contrast, however, the sleep that night was incredibly cold and sleepless. We had to sleep in orange survival bags around a fire. After very little cold sleep we had to get up the next morning and continue walking from checkpoint to checkpoint. The navigation was not too hard and we kept our spirits up by singing and looking after each other. Along the way we got stopped by leaders called ‘the opposition’ who made us do tasks and interrogated us about our alibis. Ours was that we were reuniting a teddy bear with its long lost lover who was part of the Wind in the Willows story. We managed to scrape past them multiple times by performing songs and dances for them. They must have enjoyed our rendition of ABBA songs. We kept walking from 0700 to around 1600 when the walking was too tiring and our feet overly painful.

Even though we did not finish the challenge we found the experience very amusing. Our favourite part was the opposition who made the walk more interesting by challenging us. We would thoroughly recommend other Explorers to try and do the challenge. Adam Perrot, Caitlin McFarland and Oliver Quilter: Team Yankee 1 from Sputnik Explorer Unit” This event was being run for the first time since 2019 (Storm Denis – 2020 and Covid – 2021) and 32 teams consisting of 110 Explorers from all over Kent took part. The organisers claim that it also needs a similar number of adults to run it! I’m pleased to report that a number of Gravesham leaders were involved this year. The three Gravesham teams finished 16th: Sputnik Yankee 1, 22nd: Kipling/Phoenix Whisky 1 and 28th: Sputnik X-Ray 1. The pictures are of the first two Gravesham teams at a Gravesham checkpoint in the early morning of Saturday. This was the best turnout from our District for some years and I know that all those who took part said they learnt a lot and some are planning a return in 2023. So well done to all the Explorers who took part and represented Gravesham District and I’m sure they’d like to thank the leaders who helped with their training before the event. Dave Moesli District Explorer Scout Commissioner

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