The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Of Cubs, Scouts and Gear

Sunday evening saw Mick and I packing our backpacks, an exercise that made both of us eager to go somewhere and to camp on a hillside.

However, this packing exercise was not for a trip. The contents of the packs were the same (or as close as we could get them, given the demise of some kit) as we carried for our LEJOG jaunt last year. Our destination was a church hall in Oldham, with an audience made up firstly of 127th Oldham, St Thomas Moorside, Cubs, followed (after a frantic repacking exercise) by the Scouts.

After a brief outline of what we had done, both groups were eager to take it in turns to try on the packs and try out the Pacerpoles for a turn around the hall, before out came all of the gear for some demonstrations.

By the end of the night Vera Voyager was set up on one side of the hall with Wendy Warmlite on the other (with chairs in lieu of pegs), a chilli and rice had been rehydrated (and despite initial reluctance to try it, every last scrap was eaten), and various bits of kit had been received with enthusiasm. I think that the outright winner for the Most Popular Item was the fire steel. What is it with boys and fire, eh?

Other popular items surprised us: the sunglasses, the hats and head torches and gaiters.

“Look, I’m all kitted out” said one lad and when we turned to look he was wearing a beanie, a Tilley, a headtorch and some sunglasses!

All of the Cubs were eager to climb into Vera, into a sleeping bag and pretend to be asleep, whereas all of the Scouts wanted to climb into Wendy – apparently all at the same time. Now, I know that Wendy is big, but maybe not quite that big (perhaps we missed a trick there: the world record for the most Scouts in a Warmlite 2R!).

The Cubs managed to listen to us for half an hour, and the Scouts for an hour and a half. Congratulations go to both of them for the feat, particularly as their attention only drifted a few(!) times.


  1. Excellent!

    Well done on exciting future hikers and walkers.

    I wish you had been around when I was a cub and then a scout.

  2. aways a delight when you see that spark kindled, and hope it leads to another few backpackers to pass the torch onto