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3rd Gidea Park Scout Group
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 SWITSERLAND 1996

During February 2020 this page was refreshed and re-published. It had been absent from our website for a decade or more. It was always the intention to restore it but doing so was always a long way down the to-do list. The original pages were some of the earliest published on the 3GP web site and so dated from the time when the web site was by Venture Scouts and for Venture Scouts and therefore not always appropriate for parents to see. Not that any parents had internet access in those days.

Nobody is entirely sure when work on the 3GP website started. The domain name was registered in the summer of the year 2000 but the original version of this page was on the web before then.

Summer Camp Switzerland 1996

L to R: Malcolm Goodwin, Duncan Harvey, Andy Jones, Jem Jackson, Mark Hutton, Allen Tench, Jenny Hill, Andy Lannin, Nicki Hare, Allen Matthews, Chris Eary

L to R  (& in front row) Darren Thorndyke, Nick Eary, Nicola Goodwin, Ben Moleneux and Jon Goodwin.

The above photo was taken from the Golitschen Chesery (Alt 1832m) At this time, the four members of the Venture Unit in the picture below were on a Queens Scout Expedition. The picture was taken to commemorate the fact that we had just walked up to the cheesery. A climb of 652m from the valley floor.

24 years later, all three warranted leaders depicted in the above picture had retired but still have some links to the group. Five of the Venture Scouts went on to become warranted leaders but 24 years later only two of those are still active in the group.

L to R: James Logan, Dave Gardner, Ross Denton, Mr X


 
 AROUND THE CAMP

The camp site in Kandersteg is in a steep glacial valley. During the summer around 800 scouts from all over the world will be staying on the campsite at any one time.

Arrive

The Scouts and Ventures had travelled to camp on the overnight train. Our kit had been driven out by a leader and unloaded onto our camp site.

Setting Up

After hardly any sleep as the train travelled through Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland we had to pitch our tents and gather wood for the first night's meal.

At 3rd Gidea Park we're real scouts and hence cook on open fires everyday for both breakfast and dinner. 

Venture Kitchen

Pictured is the ventures kitchen shelter (above), a laid back social centre where the work almost seems to take care of itself.  A harsh contrast is the lowly scouts kitchen shelter (below).  The scouts were misguided by an older group of lazy ventures who treated these boys like slaves.

[With the benefit of a quarter of a century's hindsight I would say that those "Older Ventures" learnt a lot about Scout Leadership from that camp. One obvious change is that we would never let a Scout cook in flip flops these days!]

Scouts

Scouts

 
 SWISS NATIONAL DAY

Breakfast

Swiss National Day is held on August 1st and is a day where the whole campsite comes together in joint activities.  The day starts early when the campsite staff wake everyone on the campsite by banging pots and pans outside your tents.  Expert revellers will attempt to counter this by staying up late the night before and sleeping through it.  Once awake, everyone on the site has breakfast on the sports field (above).

Game

After breakfast the fun continues on the sports field when a number of stalls are set up by the staff and by some of the troops camping.  The annual classics are the ducking stool (pictured below) and the apple juice stall - one glass per boy, as Allan Matthews would say.

In 1996 the 3rd Gidea Park troop entered into this frivolity whole heartedly by setting up their own stall (Right).  The rules to the game were a mystery to everyone involved, however it did involve many people and a few small pieces of wood.  Sadly no other troops were brave enough to take us on at our own game, but it wasn't all a waste of time because it did keep most of the RVU happy and out of mischief for an afternoon.

Pictured below is another photo demonstrating how much of a bunch of pretty boys the RVU old boys were back in 96, main offenders were Mark, Jem and Lannin.

Game

Swiss Nat

THE DUCKING STOOL (Nicki gets a good ducking)

NickNick

Nick

Nick


 
 AROUND THE CAMP
During our stay in Switzerland we try to make the best use of the mountains.  Most of the scouts enjoy hiking in the mountains around Kandersteg even if they are not keen hikers before the camp.

One of our first hikes is to Lake Oschinese.  The lake is formed by glacier melt and is therefore very cold.  Once the scouts arrive they must swim in the lake as part of the high adventure award.

Far left: Climbing up the steep valley sides.
Left: A short stop at the bridge.
  

The Bridge

Above is the whole group on the bridge. We take a picture here every year. At this point the group had just climbed 336m from the valley floor in a little under 1km

Right shows the lake and nearby restaurant.  To get here from the above bridge the group would have descended 182m and then climbed a further 253m so a total of 589m climbing for the Scouts on their first day!

For those who feel they need more of a challenge, there is the optional hike to the SAC Doldenhorn Hut. (Alt 1916m)

Below left is a picture of the hardy mountaineers on their way down from the Hut.  Below right is a picture at the top of the Hut, those who made it were Mark Hutton, Andy Jones, Andy Lannin, Jem Jackson, Ross Denton, James Logan, Dave Gardner and Allen Tench. For them the total ascent for the day was 983m which is 5m more than Scafell Pike. Quite enough for Englishmen for one day. Or so you would think...

 
 

 
Frundenhtte

For three members of our group, 983m on day 1 wasn't enough. After lunch they decided to add an excursion to the Frunedenhutte (altitude 2561m) which is 1039m above the lake and giving them a total of 2022m ascent for the first day.

CHEESERY AND MOUNT FIRST HIKE

Hiking

Once the group is a little more used to walking up big hills with very little food provided we hike to the cheesery and Mount First.

Pictured left is the group in the valley before the ascent really starts.

In 1993 when we reached the top of First, we met some crazy guy who had started many hours after us and run all the way to the top, where as we got the cable car some of the way!

Below right: Group photo at the cheesery.
Below Left: The cheesery at Golitschen.

StntFirst

Above the summit of Stand (alt 2321m) after we had climbed 1149m from the valley floor which is more than the total height of Snowdon. We then descended 40m before climbing up First. Total ascent for the day, 1418m which is of course more than Ben Nevis.

Below Left, Pondering the view from the top of First. (Alt 2548m)
Right: Everyone at the top of First (minus the people with no pluck who went swimming instead)


 
 GLACIER HIKE AND HOCKENHORN
Lotch

Above: The Lotschegletscher from the est moraine. In 1987 this was covered in deep snow an our Guide led us right up the centre.

Climb

Above: Starting the final ascent to the hut.


 

The glacier hike is the highest that most of the group will reach during their stay at Kandersteg.  The hike stops for one night in the Lotschenpass Hut (Alt 2691m) situated on the Lotschen Glacier itself.  The hut may look small from the outside but it sleeps 35 people on the floor of the loft.

In 1996, the main group hiked to the hut where they met up with four adventurers who were on a four day Queen Scout Award hike.  It was decided that those members of the party with a little pluck should get up at 3am and attempt to climb the Hockenhorn (3293m) in time to be back at the hut for breakfast.

Pictured left is the Lotschen Hut. Below we teaching Scouts to use Ice Axes.

Axes
Hut

Left - The hut. When we were here 9 years earlier it was all covered in snow!

In 1996 the Scouts started walking from Selden (alt 1537m and so climbed 1153m (More than Snowdon) to the hut which is at 2690m.

The oldest Ventures started at the camp site and so climbed 1504m on the day, well over Ben Nevis.

Below: One of the Scouts practices his ice axe skills near the hut.

Ice

Nick

Above: Nicki Hare reaches the end of a snow field and tries to avoid falling between the snow and the rock.

The Hockenhorn was a first for this generation of 3rd Gidea Park Scouts. Many of the party had been to Kandersteg before and gone through the usual motions, including the attraction known as Blausee. However in 1996 Andy Jones decided that we should have a go at something new and so off we went at 3am in the pitch dark onto a mountain and promptly got lost. Well some older members of the RVU may deny we were ever lost, but the younger members know we were. The saying older and wiser was disproved on this hike by Andy Lannin who went without an ice axe, preferring instead a state-of-the-art half an old walking pole. Well we did finally manage to get to the top just as the sun came up, which was nice.

This picture below shows the ice field at approximately 3050m altitude just after sunrise. The pointy summit is Kleinhockenhorn and the larger summit behind is the Hockenhorn itself. Our route would take us directly across the ice before heading up the left ridge to the summit.

Ice Field

Sun

Above, Andy Points to the sun just before the last ascent to the summit.

Hock View

Above: The view from the Hockenhorn south to Goppenstein 2000m below. The Weisshorn (4506m) is on the right in the distance.

Ross and Dave

 


 Close up of the Weisshorn and the Matterhorn to its right.
Weisshorn
Balmhorn

The above picture was taken at the saddle between the Hockenhorn and its child on the way back down. The Mountain in the background is the Balmhorn (3698m) It would be 2003 before 3rd Gidea Park got up there. We had a couple of more visits to the Hockenhorn first.

Lotch

We descended to the hut where we met the rest of 3GP. What followed was a 1300m decent in about 5k to Ferden and a bus ride to Goppenstein from where the train was taken back to Kandersteg. The Scouts in 2006 walked the extra 3.5k all the way to Goppenstein but they were a mad bunch.


 
 CLIMBING AT BURGHOLZ QUARRY
Climbing is something that the 3rd Gidea Park Scouts have always been good at.  Pictured left is Chris Eary who is almost as good at climbing as he is at posing.  On the right is Dave Gardner having a look to see just how far away the floor is.
 
Andy Andy Jones sporting a KISC t-shirt, long shorts, or are they short longs?; and nice red socks.  However, this picture goes to show that Andy has always been ahead of the fashion as every dapper young fellow is now sporting a pair of not-quite-long-enough trousers (correct at time of going to press - July 2000).
Dunks

Far left: Ross on what can only be a very easy climb.

Left: Duncan doing what Duncan does best; belaying.  It's not that Duncan isn't very good at climbing, far from it, it's just that he's much better at belaying, this could be down to the amount of practice he gets!

Lunch

Someone tipped our leaders off about Burgholz Quarry for our 1990 trip to to Kandersteg. It's a disused quarry located about 30km from Kandersteg and crucially just 1k from a railway station. Typically one vehicle drives to the quarry containing lunch and as many adults as possible. One leader draws the short straw (See Malcolm's face below) and accompanies the Scouts on the train. We catch the train from Kandersteg down to Spiez and then change onto a branch train which follows the route of the "Golden Pass Line" to Burgholz. The trouble is that Burgholz station is a request stop. What normally happens is, we get on the train and then realise none of us can remember the name of the station or how long the train runs for before we need to request the stop. Anyone who has been there before (normally just once and three years previously) has to stick a head out of the window and see if they can recognise a landscape that looks vaguely familliar before pressing the stop button.

The good thing about the quarry is that it seems to have been adopted for climbing with some bolted belay points and plenty of trees to use for setting up climbs. There is a also a handy shelter for lunch. Handy because the altitude is just 750m and the quarry is SW facing. As such it is a sun trap and very hot.

By the time we arrive, lunch is normally prepped and served while leaders and Ventures set up the climbs.

Station

After a good day's climbing, and a downpour, 3GP take over the entire station. Task 1, work out how to stop the train at a swiss request stop.


 
 RVU CLIMBING THE ORTELEHORE
RVU CLIMBING THE ORTELEHORE - Andy Lannin, Mark Hutton, Jem Jackson, Dave Gardner, Ross Denton & Warren our guide
 
BACKGROUND

One fine day a group of older RVU members set out on an expedition to climb an ice peak above the Kanderfirn glacier.  They took with them a younger inexperienced member of the RVU to make up the numbers, and with their guide, a bloke called Warren, they set off.  The first day's objective was to reach the Mutthorn Hut which could be reached by crossing the Kanderfirn glacier.  The Kanderfirn glacier was reached in good time by the group, but it was here that things started to go wrong.  At the time, the changeable alpine weather was rain, lots of rain.  Sadly none of the group were really prepared for this eventuality, or the accompanying cold.  Jem's packer-mac was not really up to the task and by the time the group was about to venture onto ice for the first real time everyone was a little dishevelled.  Warren, our fearless leader, saw us for what we were, a useless bunch of ill prepared layabouts who were clearly not up for the task today.  So we turned round and headed back to Kandersteg to console ourselves in a local tavern by the name "The Alpine Rose".

[Actually it was thunder and lightning. During a lightning storm, one thing you do not want to be is the highest point on a large flat expanse of ice with a metal ice axe in your hand. We were six shuffling lightning rods! That was why we retreated... via a couple of bars.]

Our guide Warren who we had hired for the two days suggested that he take us out the next day to climb the Ortelehore, a smashing idea!  The next day it became apparent to the select group of mountaineers that a little too much consoling had been done in the Alpine Rose the previous night.  However the group were not to be put off.
 

Above: Mark looking suitably scared at the bottom of the first pitch.
Right: A night out with the hat.

[I suspect in the above picture, Andy is putting on a silly face. I don't mind admitting that I was genuinely petrified for the entire climb and that expression is genuine! But I loved every minute of it!]


 

The expedition started badly.  After everyone assured Warren that we were competent climbers we began the ascent.  Dave started the small traverse round to the start of pitch one by trying to explain to Warren that he didn't need a rope for this pitifully easy climbing.  Two minutes pass before Dave pulls off a small boulder, hits himself on the head with it and promptly falls off the easy traverse.  Dave then managed to climb/fall down and end up 20ft lower than he should have been.
So finally Ross and Warren start leading the first pitch.  After about 20ft of climbing Warren pulls off a small planet and hurls it at the crowd below (accident of course).  A relaxed cry of below follows as the waiting crowd scatter to avoid this asteroid.

Right: This is Jem right at the start, getting tot he point that Mark and Andy are sitting at in the picture above. Only a 100m vertical drop below.Climb

Above: Warren and Ross lead the first pitch

So after the first pitch has been climbed by all, our guide decided that we were incompetent climbers who had all spent too long in the Alpine Rose the night before.  The rest of the route was climbed "alpine style" up an easier gradient.  This means that two people get roped together so if one falls off, he takes his mate with him (joke).  The idea is to always have a bit of protection (climbing term for wedge shaped pieced of metal fitted into the rock) on the rope so that if one falls, no one falls.  However, Ross and Dave being the best climbers and so at the back, tended to get handed pieces of kit by people saying "erm... this one fell out as well, sorry!"

Dave Climb

Picture Above - For most of the day, there was no way I was going to be fiddling with a camera. We were all clinging to the rock for dear life! This was taken near the end of the steep Alpine Climbing section as it started to level off, it looks almost tame from there. Cracking photo though!

As the weakest climber I was in the lead pair with Warren our guide for the day. This section was where it started to become slightly less steep but footholds and hand holds became looser. I was sitting on this slope clinging to a rock with one hand attempting to take pictures with the other and trying desperately to cling to the mountain with my back side!.

The middle pair were Andy and Jem. They simply had to follow us and not knock the belay gear out of the rock. They succeeded with the former task and failed with the latter. But by this stage there wasn't really anywhere Warren could securely position any gear. Behind Jem you can see our final pair consisting of Dave and Ross, our strongest climbers.

Dave Climb

Above - Dave our last climber. By this stage it was starting to level off. Its almost a path that! Cracking photo though!

Top

The top of Ortelehore and the end of our climb. "H-U-Z-Z-A, Huzza Huzza Huzza Zey!" The climb had been approximately 180m. We now had the small matter of a 1400m descent to make... and Jem needs the toilet and there is literally nowhere to hide!

Top


 
 3GP BEAVER SCOUT CHALLENGE

The Beaver Scout challenge had something to do with two flags we took with us to Switzerland and also something to do with Dorothy Jones.  I'm sure that fairly soon someone will include on this page a description of what the Beaver Scout challenge was, but until then here are a number of photos of the RVU old boys holding up a big yellow flag with "3rd Gidea Park Beaver Scouts" written on it and a smaller obviously homemade white flag with "1st Romford Beaver Scouts" written on it.

 

[So much for very soon. I'm writing this 20 years later, it was a celebration of ten years of Beavers being officially part of the Scout Movement in the uk. Each colony had to make a flag and get it photographed in interesting places over the summer. We took the 3GP flag up mountains everywhere. Dorothy being a retired Akela and member of the district Cub team had friends in other groups and agreed to take the 1st Romford flag with us.]

Summit
The Summit of Gallihore.

Lake
 
Left: The flags make an appearance at Oschinese.
Above: Flags at the top of a mountain when the weather wasn't very nice.

Below: More pictures of flags at the top of various mountains.

Ridge
Somewhere along the Uschenegrat with Altels in the background.
Flags
The flags at the Frundenhutte.

 
 MOUNTAIN TOPS
The tetley challenge was a blatant excuse for the RVU old boys to drink beer at the top of mountains.
 
Of course 3GP don't condone drinking beer at the top of a mountain, it is a silly thing to do. Carrying extra weight up each mountain!

 
 3GP ROWSWELL VENTURE UNIT
 

 
During camp there is normally one or two photos that turn out to be absolute corkers.  This picture of Ross is a fine example of a corker.  The infamous "Ross in Raincoat" picture which Ross has never quite been able to forget.

After a hard days walking there is nothing quite like a relaxing beer at one of the local establishments, for those that are old enough - of course (see below.)

Left: "Ross in Raincoat"

Below right: Ross sports casual catalogue pose.

Below Left: Dave sinks his fourteenth (usual lunchtime then).


Andy Lannin with "those sunglasses" shortly before he lost them

Jem gets dressed up.


The Man Himself

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Although a lot of time in Kandersteg is spent hiking, there are many other activities that are undertaken as well.

One day the troop did a hike with a difference - they hiked to a waterfall instead of up a mountain. Pictured left are the troop approaching the waterfall and then actually in the waterfall!


 

Cold

A visit to a swimming pool always makes a good day out. This open air swimming pool had many different pools, slides and attractions. On the left you can just make out the rapids pool which is the pool with the large bend in it.

The trip to Blausee is an experience although in 1996 some members suggested that a third trip was perhaps unnecessary. This was because some of the troop had been to Kandersteg twice before with the Scouts.

3rd Gidea Park Scouts and Ventures take on the world - and lose (although they did do a lot better then the bookies anticipated.)


 
 AROUND THE CAMP

The camp site in Kandersteg is in a steep glacial valley. During the summer around 800 scouts from all over the world will be staying on the campsite at any one time.

Arrive

The Scouts and Ventures had travelled to camp on the overnight train. Our kit had been driven out by a leader and unloaded onto our camp site.

Setting Up

After hardly any sleep as the train travelled through Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland we had to pitch our tents and gather wood for the first night's meal.

At 3rd Gidea Park we're real scouts and hence cook on open fires everyday for both breakfast and dinner. 

Venture Kitchen

Pictured is the ventures kitchen shelter (above), a laid back social centre where the work almost seems to take care of itself.  A harsh contrast is the lowly scouts kitchen shelter (below).  The scouts were misguided by an older group of lazy ventures who treated these boys like slaves.

[With the benefit of a quarter of a century's hindsight I would say that those "Older Ventures" learnt a lot about Scout Leadership from that camp. One obvious change is that we would never let a Scout cook in flip flops these days!]

Scouts

Scouts

 
 EXPEDITION

At 3GP we love a good expedition and 1996 was no exception. Four Venture Scouts embarked on a high altitude four day Queens Scout Award Expedition. Regrettably there is no log in our archives so we know very little about it except that they met the rest of the group at the Lotchenhutte for the last night. But as we know, they didn't cross any snow because that wouldn't be allowed.

Expedition

Expedition

ABOVE: Outside the KISC office.

Expedition

ABOVE - Any modern 3GP Scout would point out the tenderfoot (Trousers?)

Expedition

ABOVE: This looks like the Inner Uschenne looking towards Kandersteg.

Expedition

ABOVE: This could be near Gallihore

Expedition

ABOVE: It may be looking towards the Schwarzgratli.

Expedition

ABOVE: this may be Leukerbad at the South end of the Gemmi Pass.

Expedition

Expedition

Expedition

Expedition

Expedition