I’ve just returned from a fun few days in the Peak District with Phoenix Archer Explorer Scouts and thought I’d do a quick blog about what we got up to!
We’ve been to Gradbach Scout Camp before; having wanted to give the young people a bunkhouse experience we found what we were looking for in the Peak District years ago and decided to return again this year.
Motivating young people, especially from an urban population such as Swindon, into hill walking can be hard at times. Although we have the Ridgeway a short ride away not many of them use the green spaces or go beyond the entertainment areas but, being Scouts, they do get out and about and we like to offer them different opportunities away from the town; so twelve young people joined us on the adventure!
The bunkhouse has bunks that they loved. Ideally, they sleep eight per room but they all managed to bunk in together in one…
I wasn’t present for the first days activities, I was on the train from Swindon to Macclesfield… the fourth national park I’ve managed to travel to via train and one of the easiest – Swindon to Reading to Macclesfield (then 20 mins by vehicle to the site) and in the same amount of time it would take to drive there. Simples.
For the second day they decided to have a small walk in the morning and explore Buxton in the afternoon, so we started off at Speedwell Cavern car park, up to Hollins Cross, along the ridge to Mam Tor then a walk down Winnat’s Pass to the minibus (which, started to roll down the hill due to the weight of all the Explorers sat on it! THAT was a moment of panic and having to get them to exit the bus quickly!)
The next day, I’d planned a route which involved a grade 1+ scramble up Red Brook to Kinder Low area. We had some Explorers who had been to the Peaks with us before, so had to change things up for them as well as planning a route to keep newer participants interested!
The weather was on our side and the scramble was great. At first, it was just a bog slog to get to the lower parts but once on it, it was a lot of fun!
Will definitely be coming back here to do that again! It did take a while to get to it but certainly was more exciting than walking along the top of Kinder Scout…
To break up the boredum, the Explorers did their usual “how many can we get on the boulder?” moments…
There were a lot of tired faces and sore feet when we got back. Overall it was easily 25K on the route, a welcomed evening of Spaghetti Bolognese and sleep was needed!
I can’t say more than just that I had a fantastic time, I think the Explorers did as well. They’ve decided they want to do a lot more scrambling in the future and more exploratory routes on harder ground. Once certificate comes through, a Scouting hillwalking permit is next and we can start planning to go elsewhere and further with them!
More photos can be seen on the Phoenix Archer ESU Facebook Page