For our Silver Duke of Edinburgh practise hike, we (myself, Jacob, Josh, Amber and Seb) trekked through the wild fields of Brentwood and Billericay. On Friday (our first day) we were waddling through the long grass, with the weight of our bags dragging us down. To contradict the difficulty our bags gave us, the weather decided to be understanding and it remained fairly dry throughout the day. Our journey was smooth sailing (which is surprising really as only one bearing was taken that day). Our only wrong turn was during the last leg onto a woman’s farm, which seemed to annoy her judging from her passive-aggressive tone when leading us back to the footpath. From then on, it was a straight path from her farm to
Skreens. With aching feet, we collapsed on the grass, however, this moment was gone all too quickly as the rain was due to start pouring and our tents weren’t up. The moment we finished putting the tents up it chucked it down. We legged it to Paul’s car to take cover. It seemed the rain didn’t want to stop, so we proceeded to eat dinner as it poured. We definitely deserved a nice snuggly night in the tent and got just that.
On the morning of day 2, we awoke to the patter of heavy rain on our tent. To escape the rain, I did the only logical thing to do – fall back asleep. I found out later, this wasn’t a shared approach by my fellow teammates, causing me to be the last ready. However, we set off at 9.00 at this moment in time very jealous that dry, warm beds awaited the scouts doing their bronze Hike. Ahead of us was eight hours of walking, more rain and a bunch of overgrown footpaths. The state of these footpaths made Saturday particularly difficult, as the long grass resisted us. The weather was so changeable. Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold. We spent most of that day taking our jackets off and then putting them on again. It was probably this that prolonged our journey to Thriftwood. On day 2 we made a couple of wrong turns, although none of them were too detrimental and we got back on track quickly. I was really proud of how we got through as a team and kept each other going. Unfortunately, Seb had to be picked up by the leaders as he injured his leg, but thanks to him all our tents were up by the time we got to Thriftwood. That night we had a blazing fire going as we ate and sipped on our hot chocolate. Due to the intense day we’d been through we all slept super well, perfectly rested for our final day.
We were ready to get the job done! We set out knowing we didn’t have far to go. However, our plans of a quick finish were soon spoiled by private roads. In the end we met with Paul and Gavin and Gavin accompanied us for the next part of the hike in an attempt to encourage us home. Once we’d munched on our lunch, me, Amber, Jake and Josh did the last leg on our own. We all did a great job and the hike was an amazing experience. We can’t wait for the real thing!
Written by Hannah (Explorer)