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Operation Red Flare 2017

Congratulations to the winners St Nicholas (9th Guildford) ESU and to the runners up St Saviours ESU, Wimbledon & Wandle District (who also took the Ladies prize).

This year's County event took place on the North Downs near Dorking on the night of Saturday 4th March. 34 teams entered and 32 teams of between 4 and 7 walkers took part starting at 5 minute intervals from Boidier Hurst Scout Campsite. In addition to 24 teams from GLSW there were 4 Explorer Scout teams from neighbouring counties as well as 4 Senior Section Guide teams. The total number of Scouts and Guides participating was 148.

Weather conditions augured well as the teams left Boidier Hurst on their 24 kilometre hike over Boxhill to Ranmore Common and back via Headley Heath. The steep muddy paths just added to the fatigue of climbing 700 metres of ascent. Along the route there were 10 checkpoints manned by Adult Leaders, and at most of these there were activities to challenge brain as well as brawn. These included assembling, towing and dis-assembling a Scout trek-cart, negotiating a sisal trail blindfold, lighting a Kelly kettle from scratch, and miming a Scout or Guide Law. Points were awarded for correctly navigating the course, tackling the activities, and for time taken overall start to finish. There were also bonus points for having a picture taken at the 'horse's grave' and carrying a popadom intact throughout the competition. At the finish teams were provided with hot drinks before spending the rest of the night in tents they had pitched earlier. After a breakfast of delicious bacon rolls teams assembled for the results and presentation of the trophies by Terry Kingham, the new Region Commissioner for London.

The winners, St Nicholas ESU from Guildford had a score of 468 points. Their total time was 7 hours and 4 minutes, which was 35 minutes faster than the runners-up, St Saviours ESU 'A' from Wimbledon and Wandle District on 460 points. The winners of the Explorer trophy were Raynes Park ESU 'B' (383 points) and the winners of the Ladies trophy were St Saviours ESU 'A' (394 points). Only 8 teams completed the course in 10 hours, the maximum permitted time.

Altogether some 60 adults were involved in the planning, manning checkpoints, kit-checking, search and rescue, catering, central control and car park management. It was a great team effort and shows how strong we are when we all collaborate and work together as a team. The date of next year's event is Saturday March 3rd 2018, and details will be available in October.

Chris Dean
Deputy CC (Programme)

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What's coming up

County Explorer Mountaineering Weekend
28th October 2021, 17:00 -
31st October 2021, 14:00

'Operation Red Flare' (Explorer night hike) - Boidier Hurst
27th - 28th November 2021

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