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For around 10 years, we have helped Poole Athletics Club with their ‘Beast’ half-marathon in the Purbecks by running some of the vital water stations for the runners as they tackle the course. Of course, as Scouts we also use this as an opportunity to camp and do other Scouty things too!

Saturday 2nd September

Meeting at Bournemouth Station on Saturday, our Scouts made their way to the iconic Corfe Castle by train, completing part of their journey on the heritage Swanage Railway line; which now connects with the main line at Wareham. Each year, we camp just a stones-throw from the ruins of the castle in a large field just west of the village.

After establishing camp and having lunch, the Scouts set out on a short hike from Corfe Castle to Harman’s Cross, another station on the Swanage Railway line. Along the way, the Scouts worked on the photography badge by taking action shots of the heritage trains as they went by the level crossings, as well as landscape shots of the picturesque Corfe Castle.

Of course, there was also a fair share of mishap on the walk too, such as an impromptu romp over a marsh, and being more closely acquainted with a horse than we were expecting – at least Akela made a new friend!

Nevertheless, we all made it to Harman’s Cross after a very successful walk, and we all look forward to seeing the Scouts’ photos; and comparing the digital photos with the ones taken on the ‘old-style’ film camera.

After returning to camp, we all sat down to a nice dinner of Akela’s speciality camp dish – spaghetti bolognese, of course – washed down with a hot chocolate and a few banterous games of UNO… what a classic! We also had a go at a “campfire”, but unfortunately the barbeque charcoals we had didn’t allow us to produce a fire to our usual 28th ‘inferno’ standard… a slightly smouldering ash had to do, but watching our Scout and Beaver leaders trying to get it going for about an hour was perfectly entertaining!

Sunday 3rd September

The group woke up to light rain, but everyone felt better after a nice crispy bacon butty and a hot drink. Organisers from Poole Athletics Club started to turn up to set up the infrastructure for the day’s event. Each year, the 28th help the Club with their ‘Beast’ half-marathon through the Purbecks by running two water stations for the runners on their tough 13-mile route. After finishing breakfast, we split into two teams and made our ways to our water station sites: One group in Worth Matravers; another at Afflington Barn near Kingston.

Unfortunately, the weather was the opposite of the nice sunshine of yesterday: Before we’d even finished setting up the stations, we were all soaked to the bone. Nonetheless, in the spirit of Scouting, we carried on and were ready for the arrival of the runners in their hundreds… even if we did have to seek refuge in a storm survival shelter for a while!

We were amazed at the intrepid bravery of the runners for getting out and running in the inclement conditions and were very grateful for their words of appreciation as they made their way past our stations in their hordes. We hope that they all made it round safely and finished with a time they can be pleased with. Results of the race and further details of ‘The Beast’ can be found on the Poole Athletics Club website.

Naturally, we would have preferred dry weather and we were much more determined to leave the site as quickly as possible this year. Despite this, we are extremely grateful to Poole Athletics Club for allowing us this opportunity each year, and being such generous supporters of the 28th. Not forgetting also the Corfe Bakery for their very delicious Cornish pasties which we purchase for our lunch each year.

We hope that the Scouts, despite the rain, have warmed up back at home and are looking forward to the new Scouting term when we start meeting again on Thursday.