Would you enjoy Kayaking, raft building, sailing, hiking, flag symbols, pioneering, learning to rig a boat, first aid and team orienteering race around the lake? All this in one weekend? 1st Highworth (Northview) Scouts did, at the District Sailing Regatta.
From the moment the Scouts arrived at Bowmoor Lake at the beginning of July the weather was stunning. The sun shone and the lake glistened invitingly to the eager Scouts, most of whom had never sailed or even been on the water before! Team names such as The Fried Sails’ and ‘We are Sunk’ were selected, tents pitched and briefing attended before food, sports and finally bed for a good night’s sleep ready for the exhilarating day ahead.
The Scouts awoke to hear leaders rustling their tents and wild geese honking over the lake. After a kings-size breakfast the teams enjoyed a relaxing kayak around the rippling lake. The competition was about to start though with the first activity being the sailing heats and as most of the Scouts had never sailed before it was completely out of their comfort zone. Of course they didn’t give up and persevered, mostly exceeding their own expectations and enjoying it immensely.
After the sailing, the last activity of the morning was raft building. One team built an impressive structure but unfortunately it soon drifted apart as the raft was lowered into the water causing hilarity as they stretched every muscle to keep it together. After a well-deserved lunch, one of the teams went off to take part in the dry land events completing: flag symbols, a hike around the lake, pioneering, learning to rig a boat and first aid.
Then it was time for the sailing races! First, the semi-finals took place, which saw success for Highworth Scouts, Matthew, Jack, Fin and Harry. The final race of the day saw 8 boats take to the water, enthusiastically supported by all 18 Scout teams. After a quick dash from the start line the boats soon spread out and it became clear that there were two front runners. As they neared the finish line the leading boat, crewed by two members of 1st Swindon Sea Scouts was edging ahead with the other boat, crewed by Matthew of Highworth Scouts as a solo pilot, just behind. It was an extremely tight finish, neck and neck as they sped into the shore, but suddenly the wind changed and Matthew’s new found sailing skills meant that he could edge just ahead to win the race.
After such an amazing finish all eyes turned to the leader board. Remarkably, Northview came 2nd overall out of 18 teams, matching our 2nd place in the Les Barnes Competition which was also organised by 1st Swindon Sea Scouts. It was an excellent finish to a brilliant Scouting term, most of which was spent outdoors, camping or hiking.