The Southern 50 challenge is a gruelling annual hiking competition which WWESU regularly enters teams for, with 30km, 50km and 50 mile routes there are different levels of challenge, but none of the routes could ever be called easy!
On Friday, we arrived at Icknield College in Tring, the starting point of the hikes we would be doing the next day. We were some of the last teams to arrive so, after registering, we had to try and squeeze into the small spaces in the sports hall packed with Explorers.
Alarms started at about 4.30, then, after a few attempts at falling back asleep, we got up. We packed up our kit and went to get breakfast. After a nerve-wracking kit check, constantly worrying we’d forgotten something, we were given tracker bands and we queued up, ready to go. Our team was the second of the 30km teams to leave, at 8:15, and we had a pretty quick start, overtaking the first 30km team almost immediately. The two other 30 km teams from WWESU left around 50 minutes after us.
Checkpoints supplied us with sweets, chocolate and other useful supplies such as roast potatoes as we continued the route. The surprisingly warm weather, combined with the not-too-hilly route made for a surprisingly enjoyable hike!
We arrived back at the school, after exactly six hours. As the first team back, we reserved a corner of the hall for WWESU, had a not-ideal-temperature shower and waited for the other teams to get back. After cheering the other teams’ arrivals, we had some time to relax and had baked potatoes for dinner, before we went to sleep.
The next morning, we were woken up at 7.30, we packed up all our kit again and then had breakfast. Then it was time for the awards presentation, where each team gets their certificates and awards. Our 30km teams were 2nd, 3rd and 7th in their category and the 50km team was 5th! All satisfied with our results, and exhausted but happy, we set off on the ride back to Scout Park.