Fergus’s Field Faux Pas

We heard this story of Explorers sleeping out and knew it is worth sharing. While Scout leaders do their very utmost to provide amazing experiences for their groups, things don’t always go as they should…

We heard this story of Explorers sleeping out and knew it is worth sharing. While Scout leaders do their very utmost to provide amazing experiences for their groups, things don’t always go as they should…

Fergus’s Field Faux Pas

One Explorer leader had planned a Scout Expedition in exquisite detail – transport, venues for day activities, days off to explore, food and transport. Everything was sorted. Even one night was to be spent in bivvy bags under the stars.

In true Scouting form, the leader ensured that all permissions were granted – especially checking with the landowner. They were kind enough to suggest a specific location that had stunning views and water nearby. Awesome.

As it happened, quite surprisingly for UK, the weather was stunning for the overnight sleep. By 10pm, final checks had taken place – kit, location, emergency back up plans (a leader stayed behind at base with a vehicle in the event of an issue), phones checked for charge. All good.

The Adventure Begins

The group hiked. Over an evening dew-laced field, across a stream, up a path, across another meadow on to their destination. It was the height of summer and the sky was surprisingly light for some of the hike. The group arrived at a junction of the paths and there, a little way down on the left, was the gate. A gate that they should jump over and, going beyond it a little would reveal a clearing that was to be home for the night.

They found the clearing. It was a little more hilly than they had hoped for. But the view was outstanding. The group laid on tarpoulines, in bivvy bags with sleeping bags in a row. The hill allowed a perfect view across a valley to the other side. As midnight passed they watched the moon float through the starlit sky. Come 2am, moonlit mist rolled down the hill opposite creating a visual treat.

Okay, so not much sleep happened. On average it might have been 3 hours. The morning light revealed a couple of things; one, that they had been lying on and around cow pats (there was a tarp, don’t forget!) and two, that a plastic bivvy bag on wet grass can slide. One Explorer slid down the hill by 10 metres or so over night.

Comparing the lack of sleep and discussing the stunning display of nature, the group stumbled its way back to base where good coffee and breakfast was waiting.

Successful Mission Completed

Recounting the tale to the local contact, especially the amount of cow produce around, the group was told that there shouldn’t have been any of the stuff as cows don’t use that space. And no, the gradient of the ground is not steep enough to slide on. This caused confusion.

Slowly the leader verbalised the steps taken along the route and identified the place that the group slept. It transpired that the group had turned left at the junction and not right. The gate they needed had been along to the right.

Ah, the local contact explained. “That’s Fergus’s field”. Made slightly awkward that the group had slept on someone’s field without his permission, the leader asked “Do you think he will mind?”

The reply?

“Hard to say, Fergus is a Bull!”.

 

Do you have a sharable* tale of where things haven’t quite gone to plan? Have you had an experience that will help other leaders with delivering amazing Scout Expeditions? Contribute here.

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