June 12 - Expedition Challenge
Seven Scouts and three leaders took part in this very challenging weekend hike and camp in the South Downs near Eastbourne.

After being dropped off by minibus we started off on the South Downs Way from Eastbourne at 1030 and after everyone was warmed up we sent the Scouts off ahead by themselves with a walkie-talkie. We met up again later at Jevington church for lunch. The summer fete was on but we filled our water bottles and carried on with our expedition. We split up again at Lullington Heath Nature Reserve and met an hour later at Litlington church after being in constant radio contact. From there it was a short walk together through the woods to West Dean church and more water) before arriving at Exceat to meet the minibus. We then had to carry our luggage and camping equipment 1 mile from the minibus to the campsite.

The campsite at Foxhole Farm was empty apart from us but our tent raising was made more difficult by a slight gale. This helped to cause damage to one of the tents that made it unusable but luckily we had a larger spare tent already erected.

Saturday was a very long day and took a lot of energy and stamina to accomplish. Everyone coped really well.

On Sunday everyone was up just after 0600, washing and stuffing into a cereal and boiled egg breakfast. We were all packed and on the move by 0900 but had to take our camp stuff back to the minibus first. Quite a shock to the system after shortly waking up from yesterday's exertions, but again, with a little encouragement they all managed surprisingly well. Then we were able to walk over the hill back to the farm without any packs whatsover, taking in the morning view of Cuckmere Haven and it's famous meanders. At the farm we took up our daysacks and continued on the SDW at 1045 via a downland shortcut.

Lots of uphill and lots of downhill for the next few miles over the amazing Seven Sisters to Birling Gap for lunch. Then up and up all the way to Beachy Head. We made steady progress along the cliffs and looked properly at everything that we came across, including lots of plants and fungi and the remains of birds left by Peregrines. We even got to see one swooping down a few hundred feet and landing on the cliff.
The white cliffs, the green downland, the bright blue sea and the two lighthouses looked fantastic in the sunshine and there were quite a few tourists to share the walk with. By the time we got to Beachy Head most people were starting to tire but luckily from there on it was all steeply downhill to the waiting minibus.
We were back at the hut by 1645.

All boys walked the full distance of 19 miles. They followed their journey using maps and compasses and by correctly using the footpath signs along the way. On top of this they had to set up tents in difficult conditions, cook their evening meal, take care of themselves properly and at the same time gain information from all around them to help compile a Hike Report.

The Downs were in great condition after all of the recent rain and many plants and flowers were in bloom with lush growth and tall grasses everywhere. This enhanced the already stunning views and everyone enjoyed and appreciated this beautiful area to the full.