3rd Gidea Park Scout Group
web site . . .
HQ. The Rowswell Hall, St Michaels Church, Gidea Park.
 Beavers (6 - 8 years) Tues & Fri | Cubs (8 - 10.5) Tues & Fri | Scouts (10.5 - 14) 7:30 Thur
 Chief Scouts Challenge Switzerland 1993 Diary



Day 1

7:00 James wakes up and says "Oh no we going to have to get the cable car to Stock!", everyone goes back to sleep.
8:00 Dragged out of bed by Alan. Got up and cooked breakfast (ham fritters, very nice really) David ate everyone else's in the patrol. Had to edit the route cards before we could set out (highlight of the whole camp). Jon's rucksack weighed the same as a small boulder. Malcolm redistributed the weight for him.

Both party's walked down to Chalet where we had stone fight with party B. Andy went into the chalet to book us all out. Ten years later (half an hour) he came out. We set off for Stock. The other party had left twenty minutes ago. On the way to the cable car station we over took party B (haha) From inside the cable car we saw party B resting due to the difficult and strenuous walk to the cable car station (about a quarter of a kilometers walk on road!), showing off, Jon managed to fall over backwards nearly breaking his legs.


Arrived at Stock. David studied maps and took compass bearings. James studied the large yellow sign posts.



Walked along Gemmi Pass to the Hotel Schwarenbach where we sat down, picked up menu, saw the prices, and put it back down again quickly and got out our Mars bars. Well most of us did apart from David and James who ordered banana splits which set them back six francs each. When they arrived, James noticed that they were covered in nuts, which he is allergic to! He then spent half an hour picking out the nuts while David devoured his banana split. After this David was still hungry, so he got out a Mars bar and then went to the slightly cheaper hut to buy some more for the journey: 

Dave "How much are the Mars bars?"
Shop Person: "Why?"
Dave "Because I want to buy one" 
Shop Person: "What do you want to buy one for, you've got one in your hand." 
Dave: "Were walking and so I want one for later." 
Shop Person: "No! No! No! You don't want another one, all they are is glucose you need fruit, apples you only want one of them a day" 
Dave "We've got fruit. So can I buy a Mars bar please?" 
Shop Person: "No! No! No! You don't need any more!" 


David walked away, gob smacked money still in hand. Quite an easy walk to lake Daubensee. At the North end of the lake we found a large rock in the lake and noticed a good photo opportunity. So Ross and Craig jumped onto it and climbed to the top (E9 6a.7a)

then traversed to the front where Gemmi was written on it. David took a photo and then decided to join us. We then discovered that the way back was a very long jump without a run up! Craig jumped back missing the water completely. Then a man with a camera took a photo of David jumping and getting completely soaked as he landed in the middle of the water. 

More walking to the Gemmi-Bahn cable car station where we just missed the last cable car. As we went to pay, Craig produced a one hundred franc note and the mans mouth dropped open and he nearly had a heart attack. Squeezed into the cable car which was packed. Whilst descending David tried to get to the front of the cable car to get some good photos of Lukerbad (which would be a miracle!) but some stupid French bloke shouted at him in French. James and David tried to work out what he was babbling on about.

Then in English the French bloke told him to stop touching him (which was very difficult because there were about twenty people in the space of an average toilet cubicle!) Squeezed out of the cable car. David studied the map while James counted tents in the campsite opposite! 

Dave So where's the campsite then? 
James Could it be the large field with tents in opposite us? 
Dave  Oh yeah! 

At The Bottom of the cablecar in Leukerbad

A Goat Statue in Leukerbad

Two steps later James and Craig go to book in and found that KISC hadn't made us a reservation (typical!). Mean while David recovered from the mental strain of all that difficult map reading! James and Craig returned and we pitched the tents. After that we went into town. In town we visited the local supermarket, well, minimarket! We also raided the Tourist Information center and cleared them out of leaflets. After our little shopping spree we returned to camp to cook dinner. David decided it would be a great idea to melt some of his recently purchased chocolate in the trangia frying pan. Bad idea, it burnt and ended up as if someone had super glued it to the frying pan. David eventually removed it using a potato peeler. Going to bed goodnight, 

Ross, David, James and Craig.

Day 2


Woke up after getting a cup of water in the face from James. We had breakfast which was porridge.


We all went to the sports centre and played mini golf where David practised all the holes and then went on to win the game. We returned from playing golf and went in to town and bought lunch (compliments of Andy Jones) Lobster and Salmon Paté. After buying lunch we returned to the campsite to pack up the tents.


 Left campsite clean and tidy (really!). David studies and orientates map, James follows sign posts!


Stopped for our lunch which we bought earlier in Lukerbad (Salmon paté, lobster pat6 and French stick!). After lunch we came across an extremely dodgy footpath which consisted of ladders and rock climbing.

Are you sure the path goes up there?

On the way we passed a number of grave stones dotted around (very reassuring). Reached the top at last and rested at the cable car station, which was deserted and empty. It took a long time to find the water tap which eventually turned out to be in the girls toilets (the only working tap in the place!). We filled our water bottles from the tap and made a hasty retreat! Looked around for signs of life and perhaps a restaurant or somewhere that sold something, the search was a failure. We moved on, hungry as we were (paté may sound and look nice but it doesn't fill you up!).

Resting on the way to Leuk

The sky seemed to turn from blue to black very quickly and we thought it was going to rain so we all walked even faster. In the end it didn't rain, we were lucky. After a while we arrived in Leuk after David's map reading and James' big yellow sign post following. 

After arriving in Leuk we walked for twenty minutes and found absolutely nothing so we searched for the tourist office and eventually found it. That was when we realised that we had another kilometer to walk before we would be at the campsite. We also thought that we were going to be staying at the crème de la crème of campsites until James pointed out that it was miles away from where our campsite was on the map. Everyone's hopes fell! David complained like hell all the way there (we got lost a number of times). 

The View Down On Leuk

When we reached the campsite (in the end!) we put up the tents again and David had a hot shower!

The campsite in Leuk

Then we had dinner, 2 beanfeasts and rice for 16! James threw all his away, David and Ross ate all theirs and most of Craig's who's appetite leaves a lot to be desired. Then we went to the pub, which we were about two steps away from, for a drink (non-alcoholic of course!), thanks Andy! We came back and wrote this while being bitten to death by gnats and listening to the rubbish on James' radio. 


David and James have squashed 101 gnats and the tent has now got red spots! Goodnight, Sign off, Bye Bye, James, David, Ross and Craig

Day 3

7:30 Got up and made breakfast, porridge (Nice big portions Alan). Packed up tents.

James went into the pub to pay and we left the campsite. We walked along the valley for about an hour, had a short rest and started the uphill climb to Goppenstein Station were we would catch the train back to Kandersteg.


After climbing for about half an hour James noticed that heavy black storm clouds were beginning to descend over the mountains and there was a wind blowing them in our direction. As we were approaching one of the highest points in the hike and there was lightening all around we decided to take our emergency route and walk to Gampel where we could then catch a bus or walk to Goppenstein Station

The sky turned from blue to black

We arrived in Gampel and looked for a bus stop. After about a 15 minutes we found the bus stop we where looking for and discovered we had a two hour wait for the next bus to Goppenstein. So we all sat down at the bus stop and waited. After about 1 hours waiting we were suddenly engulfed by the largest thunderstorm since the last largest thunderstorm which had engulfed the Alps, we all ran like headless chickens to cover under some sort of hut and got our survival bags out and put them over our heads and pretended to be people with survival bags on our heads.


After the massive thunderstorm and nearly suffocating to death with survival bags on our heads the bus came and took us to Goppenstein.


We got off the bus at Goppenstein and made our way to the Railway Station. James bought the second class tickets while David took photos of the tunnel entrance (interesting!). When the train arrived we made our way to the first class section of the train, knowing that we wouldn't be thrown off in the middle of the Lotschberg tunnel and the next stop was Kandersteg anyway. There didn't seem any difference between first and second class except for a bit of bog roll with "First Class" written on it above the chair and a cheap and nasty fold down table that you'd have trouble fitting a match box on.


Arrived Kandersteg station completely shattered. Set off for campsite again, took the short cut to the chalet where we first met Tony and asked him to take a photo of the explorers returned (that's us!). Then we met Dorothy who made us lots of toast and tea (we ate more then than we did in the whole expedition put together, thanks to Alan's generosity!). While we filled ourselves with toast Tony explained how party B (led by the master of map-reading Jon) managed to mess up their expedition completely. 

Log of party B's mess ups 

1. They had Jon as their leader. 
2. It took them 3 hours to find their campsite. 
3. Because of the two above reasons they did not complete part of their expedition which they should have done after setting up camp. 
4. Jon and Philip managed to get lost on their way back from the Kandersteg cable car station (you could see the campsite from there), they managed to end up in an army base and got a lift back to the campsite. 

Jon's list of excuses for not finding their hike campsite

1. They moved the campsite. 
2. The campsite wasn't on the map (how did Andy know about it then?). 
3. Due to the magnetic deviation caused by a nearby sign post saying "Campsite lOmins ==>" their compass bearings were 0.00000121 degrees out and so they missed the footpath leading straight to their campsite.

n.b. Enough taking the mickey out of party B (it's so easy though, isn't it?). 
After hearing the news we all fell about laughing and made our way slowly back to the campsite. David had a dream about everyone being there to welcome our return with fireworks, presents and Dinner. "Oh your back then" was the greeting we got from Chris. So we had completed our Chief Scouts Challenge Expedition and our reward was to cook dinner for ourselves and "the scout. leaders (as we always do because they're about as good at cooking as Jon is at map-reading). We would like to personally thank Alan for the extreme generosity with the food and don't forget the tea bags. 
We took the mickey out of Jon a lot, none of it's personal but unfortunately it's all true. 

Thanks for reading!


Born in defiance of its pugnacious neighbours, Switzerland dates its beginnings from a 13th-century defence pact formed by the valley communities of Uri, Unterwalden, and schwyz. Strong democratic traditions and an unflagging policy of neutrality bind together peoples of disparate cultures within a country that recognises four national languages.

AREA: 41,288 sq. km (15,941 sq. mi).
POPULATION: 6,349,000, including one million resident aliens.
CITIES: Zurich, 357,000; Basel, 178,000; Geneva, 159,000; Bern (capital), 142,000; lausanne, 121,000.
RELIGIONS: Roman Catholic, Protestant.
LANGUAGES: German, French, Italian, Romansh.
LITERACY: 99 percent.
ECONOMY: With few natural resources other than hydroelectric power, Switzerland imports raw materials for factories renowned for producing quality goods. Exports make up 25 percent of the gross national product, and Switzerland enjoys one of the world's highest per capita incomes.
INDUSTRIES: Machinery, metalworking, chemical and pharmaceutical products, textiles, watches, tourism, international banking, insurance.
EXPORT CROPS: Dairy and tobacco products.


This is my main project.

The word land use means what do the people of Switzerland do with the land they have e.g. arable land, pasture land, even any unproductive land? This is the table which shows how the Swiss use they land.
e.g. snowfields, glaciers, bare rock, lakes.

In kandersteg it is part tourist and part farmland. It has four hotels, and just to liven it up it has a very big camp site [where our scouts stayed]. But also it has 26 different kinds of orchids, which are found locally. Then we went up a cable car. We went past lots of unproductive land mostly, rocks then we went past forest, but then it was all pasture land and cows. Then we saw a cheesery higher up the mountain, we also saw parer-gliders jumping off the middle of the mountain and going right down into a landing site in kandersteg.

Land Use Around the Rhoten Rhone

Leuk is mainly a farming town. There is a river running through the town, which is called the Rhine. Around the Rhine is mainly farmland. This is flat land. As you get higher up there are vineyards. The grapes from these vineyards are used for making wine. Leuk is the biggest town that we visited. Unlike all the other towns Leuk is an agricultural town, where as Lukerbad and Kandersteg are mostly tourist towns. The crops grown around the river were things like corn, maze, etc. There were very few farm animals kept, mainly crops. This is what keeps the town. Leuk is also an industrial town more than Lukerbad and Kandersteg. Right up in the mountains are the cheeserys. They are self sufficient and often run on solar energy. They keep their own cows, which graze in the mountain pastures. When the cheese is made it is sent down to the towns using private cable car.

Lukerbad is a tourist town it has loads of hotels and even a sports centre, supermarkets, two campsites, ski lifts, cable cars, car parks, tourist information centre and loads of shops. This town very new, new houses, new blocks of flats, which were still being made.

Our campsite was next to the sports centre on one side, but on the other side was a farmer's field growing maize .You could see the two contrasts between land uses in lukerbad.


The November/December issue of the County Newsletter contined a paragraph in the awards section of the noticebaord page congratulating our boys on thair achivement and describing briefly the hike.



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