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  • Writer's pictureDave Moesli



Gravesham Explorers taking part in the hiking competition Winter Survival.

Well, the Explorer’s Winter Survival is over for another year and the wait is now on for the results to come through. These are expected in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime here are some thoughts on this years event from a Gravesham point of view, plus a few photos of varying quality as they were all taken at night!


The 4 Gravesham Explorer teams (Alpha 1, Alpha 2, India 2 & Juliet 2) started the event on the early evening of Friday 9th February in the Maidstone area; the weather was warmish for February and the rain was less than forecast. A total of 40 teams from all over the County were entered and they were split between two separate routes to avoid bunching on the course – this device means that the number of check points immediately doubles and I understand that a total of 125 leaders were involved in the event over the whole weekend, which was just short of the 150 Explorers taking part! The overnight stop for all teams was Hamlet Wood camp site and Alpha 2 were the first team to arrive, which team leader Jack Williams reckoned was at about 10.40pm. The teams were provided with breakfast before daybreak on Saturday by the Gravesham breakfast crew led by Darren Stanford, before their release from 6am onwards. To start Saturday, the teams took the route they had not done on the previous evening. Chris Austin and myself were manning one of the first checkpoints on Saturday and from just before 7am we had a stream of half awake Explorer teams arriving, only for us to tell them that they needed to keep away from the quickest route alongside the river unless they wanted to swim – the Medway had overflowed its banks again!


Sadly, India 2 (Ben Woodgate, Ember Vincent and Megan Jones) had to drop out before reaching the first checkpoint after the night stop, but the other 3 Gravesham teams were all still going. During the day, Logan Freeman dropped out of Alpha 2 with blisters, but his 3 team mates continued; they eventually stopped when Dan Hofford ran out of painkillers for his knee at about 9.15pm on Saturday night when they had reached checkpoint 19 of 24. Morgan Wade and Jack were unable continue, but apparently Jack has already said that they have “just got to finish next year”.


Juliet 2 (John Behr, Alif Khan, Daisy Drewett and Toby Chapman) were half way to checkpoint 19 when they stopped at about 11.30pm on Saturday. This left Alpha 1 (Callum Fooks, Lewis Underwood, Harry Jesshop and Oliver Bramble) as one of just 3 teams to reach checkpoint 24 and complete the whole course. Whatever the final result, this was a great achievement.


As I’ve said many times before this is one of the most physically demanding and mentally challenging event in Kent Scouting and just taking part is an achievement in itself. Well done to all the Gravesham teams – I’m sure you will all have memories which will stay with you for a long time.


Dave Moesli

District Explorer Scout Commissioner



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