Earlier in the year, Taceham Hundred Explorers teamed up with Peak District Explorers to organise a joint trip to Kandersteg International Scout Centre (KISC) in Switzerland.
The build-up to the trip kicked off in April with a weekend in the Peak District where the Explorers from Taceham Hundred and Peak District got to know each other whilst enjoying hiking and rock climbing. This was followed up with a training weekend at Youlbury Scout campsite where Explorers and Leaders practiced skills needed for the upcoming trip, working together in teams to complete activities, and getting used to a busy daily schedule.
On 14th August, the Explorers set off with a flight to Geneva, followed by a train to Kandersteg, and a walk to the KISC campsite nestled amongst the surrounding mountains. KISC was setup by Baden Powell as a permanent Jamboree and as soon as the Unit had pitched its camp, they were introduced to the friendly Spanish Scouts camping near them.
The Explorers spent the first full day acclimatising to the altitude and weather with a trip up to Oechinensee lake for a ride on the Rodelbahn and a quick splash in the lake to keep cool. There was also a chance to explore Kandersteg village and the KISC campsite.
Having got a taste for life at KISC the next 4 days saw the Explorers following their personalised activity programmes. Numerous high adventure activities were undertaken including white water rafting, via ferrata, mountain hiking, zip lining, high ropes, and rock climbing. There were also lower adrenaline, but no less fun, activities including a visit to the Callier chocolate factory, a day trip to Thun, and trips to the outdoor swimming pool. The Explorers settled well into the routine of busy days and early starts, with everyone taking their turns to cook, clean and even washing their own clothes.
On Sunday, a break from offsite activities allowed participants to take part in the weekly International Day. This was a great opportunity for the Explorers to meet other Scouts staying on the site and to swap badges and neckers. The Explorers took it in turns to cook hundreds of scones which were served up with cream and jam on a stall at the International Evening. As with previous trips the scones went down a storm, and we asked everyone to vote on the correct pronunciation of scone and whether it’s jam first or cream first.
Following the International Day were another four days of activities. These included canyoning – a very popular choice with almost everyone going on one of the sessions – and the ‘Snow and Ice’ trip which involved a walk up to 2,500m for an overnight stay in an alpine hut, followed by a guided exploration of a glacier – a highlight of the trip for many. The opportunity to take part in activities like the glacier exploration, canyoning and via ferrata, which are not possible in the UK, is one of the reasons for making the effort to go to KISC.
All too quickly it seemed the trip had to come to an end, but with so many awesome shared experiences there was plenty of good feeling as the Unit packed up.
“It was fantastic to see how well our Explorers came together and coped with the full of schedule, making the most of the activities and opportunities to meet Scouts from around the world,” said Explorer Scout Leader, Emma. “We lost count of the number of times Explorers (and Leaders) said ‘that was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life’, often followed by the same comment by the same person on the next activity. It was certainly well worth the effort that went into preparing for the trip and before we’d even got halfway through the trip we were already discussing the next one. With that in mind if anyone would like to know more about running trips to KISC then ask the ACC International to put you in touch with us as we’d be happy to share advice and assist you with your plans.”
Some of the comments from the young people who attended included: “I had alot of fun in Kandersteg, it was great to hang out with my friends”, “I actually really liked the climbing”, “I liked making new friends from another Scout District”.
Huge thanks to Taceham Hundred for sharing the memories and the photos from an epic trip. Why not share your travel adventures with us? Drop a line to our County media team: [email protected]