By Denja Otte
From the 6th to the 7th of August Scouts and Guides were able to enjoy the thrill of the 45th annual battered boot night. The hike – which has become a tradition in the Northern Cape Scouting Community – saw 14 Patrols with 4 to 8 members participate. This years’ winners were the Ranger Guides Patrol “The Sunflowers” with 249 points and the Gladstone Girl Scout Patrol “The Swifts” with 240 Points.
“The aim of the Battered Boot Night Hike is to provide Scouts and Guides with invaluable practical experience and also test their ability to operate as a completely independent and self-sufficient unit”, explains hike organizer Mark Orton. “The young hikers also learn how to behave in situations when they are tired and cold. They learn to navigate at night using a compass – not a GPS.” At the start of the hike each Patrol received a blank map and coordinates in order to calculate their route. These maps were then handed in to the event team. If incorrect a correct map of the route was given and at 19h00 the first Patrols were set of with their map, compass and kit.
The 12-14 kilometer hike had various check points. The Guides and Scouts needed to pass at least five of them. “This year the hike challenged everybody who took part! Even some of the parents had to endure the cold while manning check points at temperatures as low as -7 degrees”, elaborated Mark. Once the Patrols completed the hike they had 2 hours to complete their logbook with a 6h00 cut off.
“The most important thing for me is that the Scouts and Guides complete the Hike and enjoy themselves” says Mark. “I am happy that the event went well and everybody came home safe.” It is clear that the Scouts and Guides had a lot of fun during this long, exhausting and incredible Hike. Congratulations to all for challenging yourselves and completing the Battered Boot Night Hike 2016!