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

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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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Zoe tells us about the Upton Training Hike in the Jonkershoek Mountains

Although the Upton training hike in the Jonkershoek was long (18km in total) and particularly tiring, it was excellent fun. We did a lot of interesting bases to improve our skills and walked far to improve our endurance and, by the end, we were definitely ready for the shorter, actual Upton Shield.

We had to wake up before 6am on the day, which was hard to do as it was a public holiday and the rest of South Africa was sleeping in! Once we arrived in the reserve, we started the bases. We did a range of bases, from creating a patrol song to mapping skills. By eleven o’clock, we had finished the bases and continued hiking. Our patrol started hiking at a quick pace, no sooner to realise how tired it made us. We were at the back, but then started to speed up, and ended up at the front! We ate lunch with a view of the Berg River, and then, we just kept hiking up! We came across an oddly cute baby snake. It was quite a steep and slippery hike down, but for once I didn’t fall.

After being on the mountain for over 8 hours, we were all dead tired and just wanted to go home and sleep. But of course, we had to study! At least we were fitter and smarter and ready for Upton.

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Camps, hikes, flight simulators: we did it all!

We had a packed second term at 1st Claremont Cubs. This term our cubs explored the environment through an evening hike in De Hel and a Saturday hike up Chapman’s Peak. They explored their five senses; held a cubs olympics; had fun in a flight simulator and made leather key ring decorations by hand. We also learned about the sustainable development goals on poverty, health, and clean water as part of our Challenge badge for the year! In the middle of all of that, we also held a cub sleepover at the hall for our younger cubs and our senior cubs took part in the Senior Cubs Camp. Most of all, our cubs had fun, made friends and learned more about the world around them.

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