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Explorer Belt – Guiding’s ultimate challenge!

Congratulations to the 12 plucky IGG Leaders who took part in Explorer Belt – Guiding’s ultimate challenge!

Explorer Belt requires participants to hike 180 kilometres over 10 days in teams of two while carrying all their camping and cooking equipment, food and water, and surviving on just €3.25 a day.

Successfully completing the challenge also involves keeping a log book and completing a series of projects along the way … all without the use of a smartphone! And, just to add to the challenge, participants have no idea what country the event will take place in until they turn up at Dublin Airport and receive their boarding passes!

Reading the snippets below from participants’ log books will give you some insight into the event and what it felt like to take part:

  • I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat, if it weren’t for the walking!
  • Our high point today was helping children with pony-trekking at a stables.
  • I’m happy I took the plunge to seize the opportunity!
  • I realised I can be personally resilient; once we took that first step, I wasn’t going to stop – even if I had to lance blisters!
  • Then all our prayers were answered and we came across a little stable.
  • We got some ice-cream – very nice ice-cream! – and some cold drinks, and we sat down and consulted our map for the 1,500th time that day.
  • He said, “Have a great holiday!” and we cracked up – this is no holiday!
  • It turns out throwing your rucksack around the place isn’t a great idea.
  • I know this is cheesy but, when I waved my necker, another pointed at his and it felt great to have a connection with a complete stranger.
  • They must have thought I was so weird!
  • I could almost imagine what it would be like to go over the top of the trench on the sound of the whistle.
  • I was tending to my feet once again and I prayed that I would make it to the end of the Belt – or rather that my feet would make it.

Five of the six teams successfully completed the challenge and received the much coveted Explorer Belt. Unfortunately one team had to pull out of the challenge three days before the end for medical reasons.

To read a full account of the challenge, see Anna Higgins’ blog post here.

Explorer Belt is usually only open to Senior Branch members aged 18-30. To mark Senior Branch’s centenary year, however, this year’s Explorer Belt was open to members aged 30+ too. Helen O’Reilly, one of the over 30s who took part, also wrote an interesting account of stepping outside her comfort zone, which you can read here.

You can see lots of photos of all the teams in our album on Facebook.