The Chiltern 20 Report: The Banana Bunch

Every week Roni takes a bunch of people upstairs to do some map and compass work with; and every week practice our skills…mostly. Every now and then we go on a hike and test out our map knowledge. Every year there is the District 25K Hiking Challenge, called the Chiltern 20 after its original 20K route. Luckily, after applying, 2nd Edgware got picked to enter a team of five. At first we had too many. On the day of the hike only three of us could make it: Serena, Rohan and myself. The week before we chose our team name (the coolest one EVER): The Banana Bunch; not only does it alliterate but it can be used in more than one way-and the one thing cooler than our team name? The fact that Serena and I made a team flag, and the Scout paparazzi were all over it!

We set of about 5:30 in the old minibus at the Scout Hut. The leaders and Serena were somehow amazed about how energetic and happy to be up so early me and Rohan were; and even more amazed that we had the energy to sing and shout the latest Scout song hits all the way there at the top of our voices. After one exciting journey there, we passed our bag check (to make sure we had everything on the list- a Scout is prepared), and Roni said goodbye to Sami- probably thinking how lucky he was to be stuck with us all day! Before Sami went he promised us Baskin Robbins: Where hot meets cold: Brownie and Ice-Cream if we win. With our eyes on that (and the prize) we set off and won. Well, we won in our hearts, so I think we still deserve it.

We set off at 7:51am and started the hike. We walked through the town, up a hill, down the same hill realising following other troops isn’t the best idea, and then hiked on to our first checkpoint. Hiking and eating, singing and smiling we all were in a great mood until Rohan needed a toilet. It took us two checkpoints until there was one provided, and when we reached it he ran in there. For the next ten minutes Serena and I plotted the next points, wandering whether the toilet had eaten Rohan! We signed in and enjoyed the music that was playing at the checkpoint. I ate a biscuit the checkpoint gave us, but I wasn’t very nice. I ate it anyway.

On we went through the Chilterns, admiring the scenery and loathing my map mistakes. Just before lunch we got a bit confused to our whereabouts, which only angered Roni. Soon we sat down on the top of a massive hill and (finally!) ate lunch. Not only could we see a large landscape of hills and scenery, or taste our ever-so tasty food, but some Kites (or at least we think they were) put on a bird show for us. We saw them gliding around the sky for at least 5 minutes whilst we ate, and watched them diving down on the ground in front hunting for prey. We spent time and enjoyed our lunch, but seeing there no other Scout troops around for miles started to give us the impression we weren’t first.

On the next hill Rohan found a friend, Tristan. Tristan was a special friend. Tristan was a stick-good enough to classify as a stave. He was Polish and had holes in, where he had been fighting against countries in wars. Rohan wanted to get rid of Tristan so I volunteered to carry him as well as our team flag which I’d been carrying all day (that’s a good thing, I like carrying it). We soon approached the checkpoint we were supposed to have lunch at-the one were they stop our time and give us a break as big a we like. Instead we (Serena) plotted the rest of the points and then we (Rohan and I) ate some snacks. Even though we could’ve had lunch there, we much preferred having it where we did, regardless of timing. The lady at the checkpoint made another hole in Tristan, to blunt our pencil.

Later on we marched up a big hill and bumped into 23rd Southgate, who were tired and didn’t want to go on. We bumped into them again later, and Roni offered for them to tag along with us. When we bumped into them, at a checkpoint, at which I may or may not have forgotten Tristan there lying against a wall. We only noticed he was missing when it was too late, and Roni wouldn’t let us phone the checkpoint and ring Tristan. Tristan went home to his family, which is a shame because we were going to invent him on Tuesday.

23rd Southgate tagged along until eventually we’d had enough of them. The ironic thing was, we had borrowed 23rd Southgate’s maps at the start of the hike! We tried, but didn’t get along very well. We hiked on ahead to our final checkpoints. To help us get through I pulled out some magic medicine: Smarties, which helped us get through. Some people getting tired, some (me) still full of energy, we approached the second to last checkpoint. Unlike the checkpoint earlier, the biscuits they provided were very tasty. By now it was 6:00pm, and we’d been hiking for over 30K (including getting lost time). We made our own Banana Bunch team chant, sung along with the Banana song (it was only appropriate). Eventually, past 7:00pm, we came back and received a big cheer. Apparently the winning team did it in just 4 hours. We were told we weren’t last-guess who was? Yep, just 3 minutes behind, 23rd Southgate! We’re still proud they carried on and made it.

At the start/finish line (a school) we were given chips and ice-cream. We drove home in the minibus, and Rohan and I were singing and chanting at the tops of our voices all the way home. I couldn’t quite here what Serena was saying (someone was singing very loudly), but I think she wanted us to stop. When my voice started to run out her wish came true, but that was only for 5 minutes.

My favourite thing: Food? Chanting? Map work? All great, but my favourite thing was the fact that I had been hiking all day, and would happily hike over 30K every Saturday, and wake up early!

So what happened next? My voice slowly recovered, and we told everyone on Tuesday at Scouts all about the hike. Roni wasn’t at Scouts. He was probably more exhausted from being with us for over 10 hours than Bear Grylls wrestling a bear, so he probably took the week to recover!

So what happens next? WE WANT OUR BASKIN ROBBINS!!!


– Joshua T (The really loud, crazy one)

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