With the Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts from across the District about to come together for our first New Forest District Camp, many of our Explorers are choosing to help out this time around rather than as participants. Many went along to Ferny Fest back in February instead – here’s Xavier’s perspective on the event, an Explorer Scout from Magellan.

Not long after, he took to organising activities for Scouts and Guides as Copythorne’s Wally Mansbridge challenge night took off.

Image courtesy of Hampshire Scouts


We shall begin our literary expedition with Ferny Fest, which took place at Ferny Crofts Scout Activity Centre from the 23rd to 25th of February. Once arrived, we swiftly made our way over to our designated camp site and received rather swanky looking lanyards with our names on them to prove that we weren’t local yobbos trying to sneak into the festival and take part in the many activities for free.

We set up our tents, then meandered slowly over to the opening ceremony which involved two different bands performing. The very air vibrated from a cocktail of the powerful speakers and the frenzied dancing of all those listening to the heavenly sounds.

For the less adventurous people *cough* lame *cough*, there was also a choice of watching Cars in a nearby marquee. The night stretched on for what felt like an eternity, yet still there wasn’t nearly enough. So electric it was! We begrudgingly trudged our way back to our tents afterwards.


The rest of the weekend passed by in a flurry of activity, that consisted of a lot of shooting (laser clay pigeon, air rifle and crossbow), table football and mud.

And I mean mud. There was no longer a field, it had all been churned and mushed about into one gigantic mud puddle, there was no escape, I would’ve preferred sand as at least that didn’t stick to things and could be easily be hoovered up. But alas, no sand. Only mud. And despair at getting all my worldly possessions muddy.

On the other night there was a disco, which was quite fun but a little vanilla in terms of music choice in my opinion. Then came the packing day, when we were whisked away back home.

A rather fun weekend I must say, albeit tarnished by the mud, rain and a scout leader commenting rather loudly at 2am as most of the other New Forest Explorers had made a fire at the firepit and were talking and listening to music. For the most part definitely a worthwhile weekend, and I am satisfied with that being my last Ferny Fest.

Wally all the way

On the 28th of February, at the scout hut, we planned for the much fabled Wally Mansbridge competition by splitting into three groups and deciding on what activities to challenge the different younger scouts and guides on. For my group it was a far greater labour. We were all stumped, time was running out as I wracked the cobwebbed bookshelves of my decayed mind for an idea. Then I had it. Memories trickled back, slowly at first as then more swiftly, like water coming out of a tap that hasn’t been used for a while.

I remembered last Kudu (which my explorers unit won, too easy), where we had to do the gonk challenge, in which we had to build a structure out of spaghetti and jelly tots to surround a small plushie gnome. The others in my group were all enamoured with my recollection, and we agreed to make it the challenge. But, as teamwork was one of the qualities we were judging them on, we decided to make them more reliant on each other by making a rule that they could use only one of their arms so they’d have to collaborate more rather than taking on the challenge solo and leaving the others in their group to do nothing.

When Wally Mansbridge came, my group had three people in it. We arrived yet again at the Stanley’s Own scout hut, did our risk assessment and headed off to our allocated zone. The night passed swiftly, with some groups doing far better than others. Now feeling slightly shattered, we returned to the hut for the winners ceremony, I never slept as well in my life as I did that one enchanting night.

An Explorer’s Eye View of Ferny Fest and Wally Mansbridge
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