Epic Easter Challenge
CategoryNorth London Hospice
Over the Easter weekend, four members from the 22nd Southgate Scout Group took part in the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race. This annual event covers 125 miles from rural Wiltshire to the finish line at Westminster Bridge and is regarded by many as the canoeist’s Everest. The origins of the race go back to the late 1940s, when Rover Scouts, paddling home built double kayaks, would aim to complete the distance in under 100 hours. It is a very different race today with almost 200 kayaks and canoes taking part in the four-day challenge, paddling on average 36 miles a day and camping overnight in freezing temperatures. Over the last six months, Gemma and Alva, two Explorer Scout Young Leaders and Thomas Nagle and Kieran O’Connor, both Scout Leaders at the 22nd have been preparing and training for the race both on and off the water. Regularly battling against strong winds, freezing temperatures and frozen canals – it was all good preparation for what turned out to be the coldest Easter for 50 years. The race was a major triumph for the girls, who were not only one of the youngest crews in the race, but also the only Scout team in their Junior Doubles class, completing the race in a time of 28 hours. The leader’s crew, paddling in the Endeavor Class, also had success as they beat the only other Scout crew in the race and finished fourth overall in their class with a time of 22 hours. All four were paddling to raise money for the North London Hospice. Originally aiming to raise £1000 they have now nearly tripled this figure.