Four plucky young people from 3rd Gee Cross Scouts in Hyde were the stars of Tameside South a few weeks ago, when they competed in the national Border Hike challenge, and achieved a fantastic result.

Presented by the County Commissioner, ‘The Folks’, our 3rd Gee Cross team of Callum, Honor, Jet, and Harris placed an incredible second.

The Border Challenge Hike, now in its 38th year, (and the John Bradbury Trophy for Exploders) is a circular incident hike, covering between 8-9 miles over hilly Derbyshire terrain with puzzle checkpoints and observational challenges en-route, with the Exploders having a 2 hour pioneering challenge to complete beforehand.

Attracting teams from as far away as Norfolk and the South Coast (some with a SIX hour drive each way), a team of volunteers was assembled and two girls and two boys entered, arriving at Gradbach Campsite in Staffordshire filled with enthusiasm and ambition.

The organisation and logistics for this event was nothing short of amazing and it was clear the staff and volunteers at Gradbach had a ton of experience in running this event and being extremely helpful to our first-timer questions.

The story starts…

“It was a chilly September Saturday morning when the scouts were turfed out of their warm tents at the ungodly hour of 7am and where they eagerly tucked in to a hearty breakfast to prepare them for the day ahead. They had a kit check at 8:33am sharp where they had to demonstrate the extensive list of equipment they were each required to carry – sun block, spare sleeping bag, spare socks, winter thermals, torches, first aid kids, more spare socks, bivvy bags and the obligatory mountain of sweets, and their challenge began at 8:50 having passed their kit check with 100% score. Two very proud-looking leaders waved them off and wondered how many of their sweets they would have left at the end (some actually came back!!)

A mere 9 hours later, 4 slightly less enthusiastic and energetic, but extremely happy and proud scouts passed the finish line (and then were made to pass it again so we could get a good photo) and for them the hard work was over. A hearty meal, and a good film laid on by the organisers, and all 4 were tucked up in bed fast asleep by 10pm.

The stories that came back from the hike were of challenges of skill, mind and body, but also of teamwork, friendship and maturity which left leaders very happy and confident that this was a such positive experience for an inexperienced team. There was an unplanned detour of an extra mile or two and the odd spot of rain, but for us leaders also as first time attendees of an event like this, it was an amazing experience to behold.

Our goal of participation and enjoyment achieved, we attended the awards ceremony with a jovial spirit hoping for a good result that we could take back to Gee Cross and show how hard our team had worked, and we were not disappointed. Both leaders will admit to possibly getting a little over excited about the result and embarrassing them all a bit (still not sorry) but the hard work, dedication and learning that those young people achieved in that one weekend reminded us of just what this organisation is all about.

Massive congratulations to all four of them from all the leaders, helpers and parents of 3rd Gee Cross scouts.”

“Special thanks also goes to Paul from 3rd Buxton Scouts for his help covering our camp!”

If you would like to help young people undertake challenges and succeed, join the Scouts by contacting Ken Marks at ken.marks@gmescouts.org.uk