February half term at WWESU means one thing, the Southern 50! This year we had three teams participating in the annual hiking competition; read on to hear the Explorers’ own tales of how their weekend went…
“in the end we managed to reach the finish which felt like such an amazing accomplishment.”
Keeping a happy face on even in the wind and rain!
After we all arrived at Scout Park, we collected the last bits of team kit, like compasses, maps and hi vis jackets. Then we set off and drove for about twenty five minutes before pulling into a McDonalds to get some snacks.
We rested there for about fifteen minutes and then set off. After about twenty five minutes again we arrived at Tring School, where the Southern 50 event was being hosted. Team One and Two checked in, while Team Three had a member join and had to wait to sign in the next morning with the arrival of their 4th member. After Team One and Two had signed in, we went to the sports hall to set up our overnight stuff. We had a late bedtime, before falling asleep.
Our team hike started with an amazing speed of 6.7 km swiftly moving through the first few checkpoints. We were gunning for first, so while we all had energy, we were running as much as we could. Storm Dennis hit at about 15km and the going got tough but we powered through as a team and made it back in about 5 1/2 hours.
Our team was Wild Wolf 2 and it was really fun. We started of excited and super motivated to get the end. We got to about halfway between checkpoint 10 and 11 and unfortunately one of our team mates was struggling to continue, so it took us a bit longer to get there, but eventually we made it to checkpoint 11.
We had our lunch and were going to set off but one of our team members decided to retire. As there were only 3 of us in the group to start with and we had someone drop out, the remaining people had to form a scratch team. This meant that we joined onto another team that was at the same checkpoint as us. Joining the scratch team was a bit nerve-racking at the start because you didn’t know the other people or if they were going to be difficult to work with but in the end it was really enjoyable.
“we didn’t want to buckle under the pressure of storm Dennis so we pushed through”
The group that let us join them were really nice and it was a cool experience to have joined with and met new people. During the second half of the hike we got lost a couple times (plus the weather conditions were really bad which didn’t help!) but as a team we managed to get through the cold and rain and in the end we managed to reach the finish which felt like such an amazing accomplishment.
Once we had left the start we were in high spirits and looking forward to the hike ahead. The storm had not yet hit and we were hoping to have fairly mild weather.
However, we soon realised that would not be the case when they rain really started to fall and the wind speed picked up. Around half way through, we started to slow down and get tired but we didn’t want to buckle under the pressure of storm Dennis so we pushed through to the last checkpoints until we finally saw the flashing lights of the finish!
After an extremely tiring day, everyone had a great sleep and woke up sore but refreshed. We had a selection of pastries for breakfast before heading to the Award Ceremony.
All of the teams did brilliantly, despite the horrendous Storm Dennis, with Wild Wolf 2 completing the 30km in 11 hours.
Wild Wolf team 3 placed 13th against the 33 teams taking part in the 30km event, after completing the course in 8 hours and 16 minutes.
Finally, having been the last team to leave and one of the first few back, Wild Wolf 1 managed to achieve a time of 5 hours and 39 minutes and for this they received the runners-up trophy.
“All of the teams did brilliantly, despite the horrendous Storm Dennis”
Everyone did an amazing job and should be very proud of themselves for completing the Southern 50 this year!
“Overall, the weekend was full of ups and downs. It challenged us not only physically but also mentally and we have all come out of it with new skills for life.”
The award ceremony and event video were great but we were really happy to be heading home after an exhausting weekend. The journey back was fun although it was raining heavily. We made it to the scout park about an hour later but it felt a lot shorter. When we arrived at the scout park we took all of our things out of the minibus and went home.