Our aim for the Scouts for the Spring term was to complete the Hiker badge which involved 3 hikes - one of 12 km (7.5 miles) and 2 of 20 km (12.5 miles). Both the longer hikes included an overnight stop so it was decided to use the Hut as a base and to explore the local area.
The 12 km hike was made in to a sponsored walk for the Scouts and their families and the Scouts voted which charity they wanted to walk for. The vote was for Auditory Verbal UK which is a national charity that aims to enable hearing impaired children to listen and speak as equals alongside hearing peers. The 10 Scouts taking part were divided in to 2 groups and wrote out their route plan for a circular walk, a mixture of urban and countryside walking, which encompassed the Three Castles Path, the Devil’s Highway, East Berkshire golf course and back on to the Three Castles Path past Wellington College and through Edgbarrow Woods.
Next was the harder part - the two 20 km hikes which were completed as a weekend camp at the Hut. The weekend started on the Friday evening with writing out their route plans, completing a circular route on the Saturday, returning home for a meal and shower, then coming back Saturday evening to do it all again. The Leaders were thinking of starting a sweep stake to see who would return on the Saturday evening!
The Saturday hike was a circular hike following the Blackwater Valley Path to Moor Green Lakes, walking up to King’s Mere and then following the route of the sponsored walk in reverse via East Berkshire golf course and the Three Castles Path back to the Hut. The Sunday hike was a return route via the Look Out and following the Three Castles Path up to Englemere Pond.
After the hikes were completed, the Scouts spoke about their experiences to the other Scouts on Troop night. Six Scouts completed all 3 hikes and they were awarded the Hiker badge. The Scouts all did very well in raising £614.00 for Auditory Verbal UK.
We are very proud of all the Scouts who took part, especially towards the end of the second 20 km hike when one Scout found the going particularly tough. The group rallied round with encouragement and taking their kit in order that they all completed the hike together. It was inspirational to be a part of this as, to us, this was one of the true aspects of Scouting.