Ten of the Poindextor Explorers enjoyed a fantastic trip to Switzerland to visit the International Scout Camp at Kandersteg. As part of the County Expedition of almost 600 – mainly Explorer Scouts – we had a great time enjoying many and varied activities as well as meeting other Explorers from the UK and abroad.
The weather was mixed with both bright sunshine and torrential rain and hail stones although not always on the same day! However this did not stop from doing any of the activities we had planned- we just needed to make sure we had both water proofs and sun cream in the rucksack.
A combination of local activities – hiking from the top of the Sunnbuel cable car, exploring the village and the locality as well as ranging further afield to the thermal baths at Briggerbad, white water rafting and a visit to a chocolate and cheese factories made this a trip to remember!!
Some contributions from the Explorers:
D – For many of the Explorers, the overnight hike was dreaded; however we all found it a rewarding and enjoyable experience in the end. The stay in the picturesque mountain hut and the breath-taking views when we reached the peak were real highlights of the trip.
Back in the camp, we passed the time with group activities set up by GLMW. These included a scavenger hunt, games and quizzes. The unit made a great effort in the scavenger hunt and county quiz and won both these events! We also spent time with our duck mascot, taking pictures of it whatever we were doing.
Overall, the trip was a resounding success. For those who had been before, it was a great reminder of why we enjoy the international scout centre so much. We are very grateful to our leaders Paul, Doug and Preti who made sure our time was so enjoyable.
J – I thought that Kandersteg was a great trip and I really enjoyed it. The rafting and the tobogganing were the most fun activities on the trip. Overall the trip was great and I would like to thank the leaders for giving up their time.
M – The best part about the trip was going tobogganing as that day had the best weather which just consisted of sunshine without much rain and because we didn’t have to hike back down a mountain which took longer than needed when we did a hike session. Another good experience was going on the chocolate tour as we got to see how the chocolate is made at the factory and see the different variants of chocolate they make there which is a lot compared to most. The worst day that we had in Switzerland was one of the earlier days as the tent I was staying in flooded due to the weather raining all day, making us spend at least 40mins drying the tent up so that we could sleep in it.
A – For me, the best part of the expedition was the incredible scenery and vivid landscape that we were immersed in for the entirety of our trip. Mountains, rivers, waterfalls, forests and glaciers were just a few of the incredible features of the area’s landscape, which never became old. Hiking thousands of metres up to the top of a mountain against a vast Swiss backdrop was unbelievable, and was loved by everyone. However, the unreliable weather became an immediate annoyance, but in between vicious hailstorms and furious sunshine we found ourselves doing brilliant activities and interesting challenges which none of us will ever forget. We did all discover the bizarre act of scratching sunburn in torrential rain during the trip, but even that has become just another memory forged on an extraordinary camp.
R, N – Each night, we had food from different countries and it was great to experience new tastes. We had a fantastic walk to Oeschinensee, a mountain lake, after taking the cable car up, where we had a lovely picnic in the sun followed by delicious ice cream. We also loved doing the Rodelbahn (tobogganing) and managed to persuade our leaders – Doug, Paul and Preti – to do it too! There was another walk up to the Schwarenbach Hotel, after which we walked down underneath the cable car route. The high ropes course at Interlaken was another highlight, and we spent most of the day up in the trees. Our overnight hike up to Gfellalp Hut then over the Lotschenpass was challenging, with thousands of metres of ascent and then descent, but it was thoroughly rewarding. The evening in the hut was also really fun. Taking part in the County Quiz and Scavenger Hunt also paid off, as we won both, being presented with two duck mascots at the Closing Ceremony!
Finally, a massive thank you to the three leaders!
H – We travelled to hundreds of places, from Abelbodden to Zurich, for a wide range of experiences. The rain at the rapids made white-water rafting intense but froze us once we had got out, where high ropes was warmer than we would have liked yet both were fun and made our trip unique.
G – I really enjoyed going away to Kandersteg because of the people I went with and the activities we did. We did a wide range of activities from a country and western karaoke to high ropes to doing an over-night hike.
There were lots of memorable parts during the 10 days we were away. One of the best parts was Disco Debbie’s unforgettable dancing during the karaoke as she made it a night to remember, as well as Gareth G who sang Tainted Love with one of his Scouts. Another memorable thing that happened was Rishi having the idea of having fly and wasp traps and making them out of the resources that we had. Probably one of the most memorable things to happen was R’s reaction after we left when we found out that we had won the quiz and scavenger hunt.
There were some bad parts when we went away. One of them was having to set everything up on the first day in the rain. This was because the rain had slowed us down and we didn’t have a lot of time to set up, cook and get to bed. Another thing I didn’t like while we were there was the over-night hike as it left everyone exhausted. But that didn’t put us off playing Irish snap and joking about. Another thing was that we had to wake up between half 6 and half 7, and that was hard for some people.