Lockdown easing allows OSR Scouts to complete expedition

Photo of four scouts in hiking gear.
Start of Day 2 at Bitton Railway station. L-r: Daniel, Maya, Alfie and Emily.

By Andrew Phelps, leader, 1st Stoke Gifford Scouts.

The easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions from late March has allowed four Stoke Gifford Scouts to finally complete an expedition to satisfy one of the requirements of the Chief Scout’s Gold Award.

During lockdown, the Scouts from the Old School Rooms (OSR) troop spent time on Zoom videoconferencing calls planning and organising their two-day expedition as they couldn’t use the usual expedition routes due to lockdown restrictions meaning no camping was allowed.

However, a change in the regulations from government, the National Youth Agency and the Scout Association meant that we could now hold an outdoor activity, so the expedition was on!

Kitchen & Laundry Appliance Care.

Friday 2nd April 2021 was Day One and the four Scouts met at the start point, which was Aust Services car park, at midday. The leaders checked equipment, issued tents, first aid kits, maps, compasses and hi-vis jackets & rucksack covers. Mobile telephone numbers were recorded in case of emergencies and, after the briefing, the Scouts walked off out of the service area and out of sight.

Then came the leaders’ risk assessment and briefing, a quick chat and off they went shadowing the Scouts for safety – but at a distance so as not to offer any assistance unless in an emergency.
Four checkpoints had to be visited during the hike, leading the Scouts to walk through Olveston, Tockington, Almondsbury, Bradley Stoke and back to Stoke Gifford, stopping at the Old School Rooms. The Scouts were in high spirits and they made each checkpoint ahead of time, finally finishing the day 25 minutes ahead of time. They then had to get home, put up their tents, cook a meal and then sleep out during a cold night.

They started Day Two (Saturday 3rd April) at 9am in the car park at Bitton Railway Station where a quick check was made that they still had their equipment, as well as a medical check, and after a quick briefing they were off again. There were some sore shoulders and feet from carrying all their kit, but spirits were again high, coupled with a sense of excitement.

Photo of four scouts setting off on a hike.
Setting off from check point 1 at Warmley Waiting Room Café.

The first checkpoint was at Warmley Waiting Room Café, where one of the leaders had a breakfast baguette (it would be rude not to). The Scouts were again followed by leaders and met by a support vehicle at checkpoints to grab snacks, refill water bottles and have a quick rest break before continuing the hike.

The second day was chilly at first, but the sun soon burnt through the clouds and it became a glorious day. The Scouts walked along the Bristol to Bath cycle track through Warmley and Emersons Green, then along the A4174 footpath past Downend, Frenchay and into Hambrook. They then came up Hambrook Lane and into Stoke Gifford where they finished at the Old School Rooms, again slightly ahead of time.


What a great achievement by all four; Emily, Alfie, Dan and Maya who were all glad to get their rucksacks off and wait for their parents to turn up and take them home for a well-deserved rest and feet up.

This article originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on pages 10 & 11). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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