Prestbury Scouts have come a long way since the troop was resurrected in September 2011. This month that journey takes another step forward.
Scouts from the 1st Prestbury Troop have been donning layers of warm, waterproof clothing and heading for the hills over the past few months.
They are in training for this month’s Macc Hike. Six pairs of scouts will be tackling the 17.5km walk which includes an overnight camp and a further 10 scouts will embark on the 15km the following day.
The annual event, run by Macclesfield and Congleton District Scout Council, will take place over the weekend of 16 and 17 March.
Each team must walk 17–20kms over hilly terrain on day one, with each scout carrying a full pack weighing up to 20kgs. And if that is not enough, on arrival at camp the scouts then have to pitch their own tent and cook their own dinner before getting their heads down for what is normally a fairly chilly March night under canvas.
The next morning they have to cook their own breakfast, strike camp and hike a further 15kms to the finish. Only then can they relax as they are greeted with warm drinks and very proud parents.
The scouts must plot the pre-determined route and then use their own map reading skills to ensure they stay on the correct paths and trails. Errors can cost them time and energy, but with a support team of 50-plus adults and leaders, safety is always a top priority.
“We take safety very seriously and practise what we preach – be prepared,” Tim Hope, leader at Prestbury Scouts told us. “A safety net of chase teams, check points and continuous radio contact ensure the scouts are never quite as alone as they may actually think they are.”
However, without the generosity of the Prestbury Village Hall Trustees, the scouts would not have been able to take-up the challenge this year.
After an 18-year absence, Tim – known by his troop as Skip – resurrected scouting in the village in September 2011.
“Following the demolition of the original scout hut, the challenge of restarting the Group was daunting. There was literally nothing and we had to start from scratch.
“Whilst we are extremely grateful to the generosity of the parents who have taken the time and made the financial commitment to keep their child in scouts, none of this would have been possible without the amazing support of the Prestbury Village Hall Trustees.”
Nick Hine, assistant leader at 1st Prestbury Scouts, takes up the story: “The majority of the equipment bought by the troop has been made possible due to the generosity and determined approach of the Village Hall Trustees. The funds donated have not only helped us to get the scouts back in business more quickly but, also, it means that we are well-equipped and confident to take part in such character-building challenges as the Macc Hike.
“The funds have been used to purchase tents, stoves, tables, benches, water carriers, safety equipment, pioneering equipment, cooking pots, maps, compasses – the list goes on.”
In preparation for the Macc Hike, the majority of the scouts have experienced up to three camps, including a week inDorsetlast summer and a weekend over October half-term at the International Jamboree at the Barnswood District campsite on the Cheshire/Staffs border. In addition, the Troop has been building-up confidence levels with other local scout groups, including 19 modules of training and a multitude of shared events including skills camps.
“It is really great that we can enter teams for the Hike this year,” commented Tim. “Aside from the fact that children from the Xbox generation are more than happy to give up their Saturday and Sunday mornings to get out into the countryside, and that parents are willing to pay for the appropriate clothes and food to enable them to do that, we have also been able to provide them with the maps, compasses, light weight tents, stoves and cooking pots – items that cost a lot of money that we cannot expect the parents to buy as well.”
A member of the Prestbury Village Hall Trustees said it is fantastic to see the scouts back in Prestbury and in such great shape.
“Having experienced first-hand the amount of work the leaders put in to getting them back on their feet, and the obvious enjoyment the scouts get from the meetings and activities, as a committee we were delighted to offer our support. They are a vital part of the community in Prestbury,” he said.
Fund raising at local events, such as the Christmas Street market in Prestbury, which was not only great fun but helps to ensure the community knows there is an active and thriving Scout Group in the village, can only take the troop so far.
With Beaver, Cub and Scout sections to support, the purchase of large capital items needed to give the group the equipment to enjoy safely and confidently the adventures synonymous with scouting, required more significant levels of help, maintains Tim.
“As such, the experience we have been able to deliver as leaders would have been very different without the support from the Village Hall Trustees and for that we are very grateful,” he said.
1st Prestbury Scouts hold weekly gatherings on Thursday evenings at Prestbury School Hall. They form part of a thriving scout group which also includes a Beavers’ Section meeting also on Thursday evenings and a Cubs’ Section which meets on Monday evenings.
The Scouts’ section is currently going from strength to strength with 16+ enthusiastic boys from ten to fourteen years old getting involved each week.
The Cubs’ section has fifteen 8-10 year olds, and the Beavers’ section has eighteen 6-8 year olds. The group is looking to consolidate and build upon the foundations already in place, including establishing a group committee which can plan and prepare for a sustained and strong presence of scouting in the village for many years to come.
Further information? Contact Tim Hope: email@example.com or telephone: 01625 827818.