We win Gordon Shield 2019

With a strong competing field both teams performed wonderfully in a weekend when Sunday was characterised by heavy downpours of rain. Our first team comprised mostly experienced seniors, for many of whom it was their last Gordon Shield. One senior was unable to attend after a sporting accident the day before and one member went down sick during the competition. Our second team comprised nearly all junior scouts with no leadership experience (none of them, for example, are patrol leaders).

With this in mind we had outstanding results with our first team wining the Gordon Shield for the second consecutive year (for the 9th time in our history) and our second team coming an outstanding 12th. With this win, only 3 troops have won Gordon Shield more times that we have. The only one of these troops still in existence is 1st Pinelands who have won it 11 times.

Gordon Shield 2019

Well done to every member of the teams and thanks to the scouters who put in many hours of work behind the scenes and contributed to the competition as judges. For the second year in succession and for the second year in our history we hold both the Rayner Trophy and Gordon Shield. The trilogy of also holding the Upton Shield eluded us by a mere 2 points!

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/competitions-2/gordonsshield/we-win-gordon-shield-2019/

Contents – Smoke Signal 2019 Second Edition

Welcome to the second edition of Smoke Signals in 2019. Instead of a list of contents, you can skim this post and click on the articles that interest you. A different way to find content that interests you.

The Scouts started the term with a troop hike up Table Mountain  – have a look at the photos from the hike here. The troop was then involved in two competitions in this quarter and we reflect on our success at the Rayner hiking competition for senior scouts, as well as in the Upton Shield for junior scouts. In preparation, our junior scouts did a demanding hike in the Jonkershoek mountains with spectacular views

The Cubs have been busy this term – with an outing to Sakhikamva, some hiking, the Senior Cub Survivor Camp and a sleep over at the hall under their belts!

Have you ever wondered who your child was spending their time with? You can have a look at the 2019 Scouters Roll for the answer!

Planning ahead, the annual camp has been scheduled and will take place at the Scout Ranch at Hawequas. The updated schedule for third term for scouts is also available so make sure you have the time to enjoy the great activities that are planned.

And as always, we include the Committee notes and reflections from the Troop Scouter.

Smoke Signals does not include every activity that we do. You can also see two of our Springbok Pioneering Projects here and here and our involvement with the City Nature Challenge.


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Grace tells us about her first scout hike

We started off our hike in Constantia; all so excited for the unknown. This hike was my first hike being a scout. We were all singing, talking and having a joll up the mountain. When we got there it was freezing and we wanted to get changed into our warm clothes. We chilled the whole afternoon and I was getting nervous for my hiking supper. We ate and drank hot chocolate and all was good.

Later that night we went for a night walk and ventured to the shallow dams. We got back and played an intense game of cards. We were all exhausted from a really fun day. At 11:30 we got into our warm sleeping bags and had a good night’s sleep. We all woke up and had breakfast and did some scouty activities. An awesome morning but we had to head back down.

We went on an adventure down Woody Ravine. Knees tired and  just excited to get home. We finished the amazing hike as all good things come to an end .

Tired scouts at the scout hut

Related Images:

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Table Mountain hike: a photo essay

Read the report on this hike here

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We win the Rayner Trophy – and take the top two positions!

In March, 1st Claremont entered two teams into the challenging Rayner Trophy. I was a part of a team with APL Justin Cheney, P3 Matthew Gammon and P4 Simon Bean.

The Rayner Trophy is an overnight hiking competition, run within a 100 km radius of Cape Town every year. The first day of the competition starts with the teams travelling to a location posted on Facebook the evening before – usually a petrol station. The starting point of the actual hike is only revealed once the teams have reached this point.  We arrived at the Fresh Stop on the N2 and verbally received our directions to the starting point from the competition leader.

This year it was run at Hawequas Scout Ranch. It was a shorter hike than usual, with just 9 kms of hiking on the first day and slightly over 10 kms on the second.

The points that secure our place on Rayner are determined by how well each team completes the bases and Spare Time Activities, as well the meals they cook for the judges. It is a highly demanding competition physically, emotionally and skills-wise.

The first day was along a long, flat path; so flat, in fact, that our team and a couple of others saw fit to climb halfway up a mountain in the wrong direction to spice things up a bit. Upon realizing our navigation lapse, we proceeded to sprint down the mountain again and hand in an STA. We found the bases on day one relatively simple – one base required us to build an easel, which was accompanied by an original work by our resident artist Justin (which coincidentally depicted us winning a trophy…). The first aid bases were also a high point.

A pivotal point on day one was a base at the Hawequas Dam. We were supposed to make floatation devices out of our shirts and float simultaneously with them for one minute. As we were waiting for a judge to become available to watch us, I saw team by team settle with half-marks because they were getting cold and couldn’t get their team to float uniformly. It was then that our team looked at each other and agreed that no matter how long it took us and no matter how cold we got we would not give up the invaluable points that this base represented. In the end, the teams that gave up placed infinitesimally lower than us on points, and our perseverance set us apart in this way.

Supper was served and night bases ensued. We had to estimate the height of a flagpole, decipher codes, cross ditches and other challenging exercises. We eventually went to bed at midnight, only to wake up at 4am to carve (and attempt to eat) a bar of soap.

We realized on day two that there were a great deal less bases and Spare Time Activities on this particular Rayner than we had seen in previous years. We decided as a team that this must mean each base, each activity and each interaction with a judge meant even more, as each point counted more. We become even more determined to give our best on the final day. Though we saw this as a challenge, the trust we had in each other and our skills, as well as our unified objective of doing our best, definitely drew us together during the competition.

We started out hiking, and found ourselves leading the pack through the bush on a nonexistent path. The second day of hiking was definitely a bit tougher than the first, with bundu-bashing, never-ending hills and even a hidden “observation” base, which we were horrified to have missed. We made up for it, however, with a very entertaining skit about mugging and by trying to complete a back splice with telephone-pole wire.

The hike ended back at Hawequas, where the two Claremont teams sat together relaxing, waiting for the PLs to finish their battle for more points. At the closing ceremony, we waited with bated breath as the top ten places were called. I, for one, dared not look at David or Susan as the top five and four were called. Both Claremont teams were called up for the top three positions, along with a 6th Rondebosch team. Third was 6th Rondebosch, 2nd was Claremont B, and our team came first! After a grueling weekend with fierce competition, we finally pulled through to secure the trophy a second time running – this time grabbing both first and second place. Well done, 1st Claremont!

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Upton Shield: a photo essay

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Rachel is part of the Upton Shield team

Upton Shield this year took place in a beautiful nature reserve in Somerset West called Helderberg. 1st Claremont had entered five teams. We had done lots of training beforehand, so all the teams were well prepared. 1st Claremont’s results were very impressive. Out of the 63 teams that had entered the competition, two of our teams came in the top ten and all of our other teams did very well.

On the day of the competition the hiking conditions were very good. The total distance of the hike was about 6 kilometres, with 24 bases along the way. The bases ranged from identifying bird species to Kim’s game. Some of the bases my team did well in were the first-aid base, the aquatic biodiversity base and the bird identification base. Some of the bases we struggled with were the map reading base, the emergencies base and the code we were given at the beginning of the competition. My team included Nina,our patrol leader, Rozanna, Taybah and
myself. I think we worked very well together. I think Upton Shield this year was a good learning experience which everyone thoroughly enjoyed!

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Upton Training Hike: Jonkershoek Panorama

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