“Be prepared” – that’s the Scout Motto.
A group of eight boys and girls, age 12 to 13, hiked 20 kilometers on mountain trails, on their own, without the help of adults.
It took almost a year of preparation to get the expedition off the ground. Several SIS young adults had already gained experience joining 20K and 30K expeditions organised by older Scouts, as well as multiple wild camps.
Lionel Troy (Y9) did five recces and worked out an original and highly scenic route, snaking around six reservoirs in Aberdeen and Tai Tam country parks. Unfortunately, he broke his wrist at PE just days before the expedition. Charles-Gautier Joly, with the help of Johnathon Cheng, rose to the challenge, and led the hike.
The Scouts were a little nervous, but excited, as they set off into the wild from Wan Chai Gap on Saturday morning. Lucas Chan (Y8) was the main navigator, and he used a mix of traditional map reading and hiking apps to lead the group along a complex route, mostly off-the-beaten tracks.
The group reached Wong Nai Chung Gap shortly after 1:00pm and celebrated getting to the half-way point by raiding the petrol station for snacks. They then looped around Violet Hill, over Repulse Bay, and along the Tai Tam reservoirs. They even found energy to run towards the end, reaching Tai Tam Scout Center shortly after 4:00pm. The Scouts were also responsible for preparing a camp plan, sorting out equipment, food, sticking to a budget, as well as transport.
A team of four experienced leaders from 150th Hong Kong Scout Group ensured everyone was safe. The hikers regularly updated their location on a Whatsapp group. They carried two first aid kits and were fully briefed on emergency procedure. One leader, with extensive knowledge of first aid, was on “mission control” throughout the day, monitoring the progress of the expedition, keeping a close eye on the weather, while several other leaders were on standby to help. Two leaders camped overnight in torrential downpours at Tai Tam Scout Centre.
The Scouts felt a real sense of achievement at successfully completing the expedition on their own. This was a great opportunity to show leadership, teamwork and be self-reliant. In addition, the younger Scouts gained valuable experience that will enable them to plan their own expedition next year.
A second team of younger Scouts, aged 11 to 12, took part in a 10 km hike, accompanied by two leaders and parent volunteers. They worked on their map reading and compass skills, as well as safe hiking techniques. It is all part of a step-by-step programme to teach key outdoor skills.
Scout Leader, 150th Hong Kong Scouts