(Continued from First Class Journey Saturday)
Sunday, 19th September
Weather: Fine, and warm. Mist in early morning. Approximate mid-day
temperature 70° Wind South, rate 2-3.
Time 06.30 (AM): I awoke to the crowing of a cock and much clatter from the farm. From
the mooing I assumed that the cows were being milked. Our
nightingale had gone but a blackbird had taken his place and the air was
alive with country sounds. A wasp came droning round the tent but
fortunately went away again. I attacked Bill, who was still asleep, and
tried to drag him out of his sleeping bag. Battle royal ensued, which
ended in a stalemate with both of us flushed and breathless. I looked out
of the tent, and beheld a misty dew-soaked world.
"I've a jolly good mind to wear shoes and socks," I said,
"Be hanged to barefeet and plimsolls on a morning like this."
"You'll get your socks soaked if you do. And what would Skipper
say? You know he always insists that no one wears socks on the dewy
"Well Skipper isn't here - and there's no need to say anything in
"Not putting it in the Log won't stop you getting a lousy cold
through hiking all day with wet socks."
"No, I suppose you're right, blow it!" - and so saying I put
on my plimsolls and emerged thinking that most of these rules and axioms
of camping exist for good reasons and we do well to observe them whether
anyone is by or not.
I went off to the farm shortly, where I bought our milk and obtained
water. While I was away, Bill got busy preparing to light the fire.
I soon returned, and then I remembered - "We haven't done any
morning exercises. Let's have a run round the field!" We did, and
returned breathless and panting but so much warmer, that after doing B-P's
6 Exercises, we were even able to face washing with comparative
equanimity. Soon we had washed, cleaned our teeth, and lit the fire.
Suddenly a happy thought struck me. Bill doesn't like porridge, while I
do, particularly on a hike, when I think it gives an excellent solid
warming start to the day. I had, therefore, brought porridge whereas Bill
had brought cornflakes.
07.45: "I say, Bill. You'll have to cook my porridge for me while I
prepare your cornflakes. Mind you don't burn it".
"What! I'm not having that. It's not fair. Why I'll eat porridge
if it chokes me." Reluctantly I had to agree in the end that we
should each eat porridge with cornflakes on top. As I had eaten first at
supper, I had to cook first at breakfast. I soon got cooking, while Bill
wooded. The menu was as follows:
Grapefruit; Porridge and Corn Flakes; Egg, Bacon, Tomato and Baked
Beans; Twists; butter and Marmalade; Tea.
08.30: By half-past eight we had finished eating and we cooked for each other
the sausages which we intended having cold for lunch, and then got busy
clearing up, though we didn't feel much like work after such a fine
breakfast. We washed up thoroughly and burnt all our rubbish and began to
pack up. It is always rather fun deciding what order to do things in and
what to leave till last. So far as possible, I like to clear the site and pack, leaving out only washing
gear, and wash and change into uniform very last of all; if you wash
earlier, you may get dirty again filling in pits and so on; but if it's
raining, you have to leave the tent up till last of all because you'll
want it to dress in; and you'll also have to dress in the tent if there
are houses or a road near, or people about. On this occasion, however, we
were able to take the tent down early, which is a good thing because it
will not be needed again and can go right to the bottom of the backpack.
The fire should be put out as early as possible and water poured on it,
but the putting back of the turf should be left as long as possible -
until just before washing - in order to let the fire cool right down.
Turves must never be put back on a warm fireplace, as this kills the
grass, and it will never grow again. At the same time, however, the fire
should not be put out until the site has been cleared pretty well, as one
always tends to find lots of paper and feathers from one's flea bag which
want burning just after one has put the fire out! As soon as we had got
the tent down, therefore, we scoured round, collected everything that
wanted burning, burnt it, put the fire out, poured water on it, and then
cleared the ashes and surplus rubbish which hadn't burnt and put these
into the wet pit, which we then filled and covered. There was a little
firewood left over, unused, which we then took back into the woods and
scattered. We also put the bricks and stones we had used in the fireplace
for resting our billies on, back where we had found them, leaving the
fireplace smooth and flat, to cool off ready for recovering. We then
packed, putting in the tent and billies first, with our pyjamas and other
things we should not need again, leaving out only the trowel, with which
to cover the fireplace, our washing gear, uniforms, and such things as our
capes, first aid kit, and food for lunch, which we should need during our
hike and wanted to pack last of all. We cleaned our shoes and put the
cleaning materials away. During the course of these operations, each of us
in turn retired into the woods for a "rear".
After all else was finished, the gear packed as far as possible, and
the fireplace re-turved, we carefully went over the site to make sure
there were no bits of rubbish left about, and then had a thorough wash. We
had cleaned our teeth and had a quick freshening up wash when we first got
up but this was a proper strip to the waist affair, behind the ears, legs,
feet, and everything. As the mist had completely gone by now and the world
basked in glorious sunlight, we felt much more inclined for washing than
earlier on. We packed our washing gear and towels and at last changed into
our uniforms, packed our plimsolls and camp kit, and put in, last of all,
the things we should want on our way, and strapped up our backpacks. We were
ready to leave at last. As I had taken prayers at bedtime, it was Bill's
turn now, so we stood at the edge of the
wood and bowed our heads for a moment. We stood in silence for a
while, collecting our thoughts, and listening to the busy murmur of a
glorious autumn morning - the birds, the rustle of the leaves, the
occasional bee buzzing past, the barking of a distant dog, and all the
sounds of the country. Then Bill took prayers:
"Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for a peaceful night, for rest and
quiet; for the beauty of the morning, and for all the good food we have
eaten; and also for the happiness of the homes to which we shall be
returning. Teach us to be grateful for all good things; to our parents and
those who care for us; but chiefly, O Lord, to Thee, for Thy great
goodness. Be with us throughout this day; guard us from harm, and from
temptation; and guide our steps into the paths Thou wouldst have us tread. Help us to do our best to live out
our Promise as Scouts, that we may do nothing which is unpleasing in thy
sight; support us when we falter, and be quick to forgive us when we fall."
After this we picked up our packs and went over to the farm to thank
the farmer, in order that we might comply with B.P.'s injunction that when
leaving a site we should leave behind (1) Nothing, except (2) Our thanks.
The farmer was in the house just finishing breakfast but he came out.
"Good morning, Sir. We're just off, we've called to thank you for
"Oh, that's all right. Did you have a good night?"
thank you sir; fine".
"Good. Well, come again any time you please. Goodbye".
"Thank you very much indeed, sir. Cheerio!" - and with that,
09.45: We had to return into the woods just behind our quarry in order to find
GRYM'S DITCH. We looked for this for quite a time before realising that it
was nothing more than a shallow depression in the woods, completely
overgrown and visible only in places. On account of this we had not a
little difficulty in following it.
After about a mile we joined a muddy cart track which ran parallel with
a tiny lane. We followed this for a further 1/2 mile and then struck a
10.15: We crossed over and continued along a footpath which our map told us
followed the Grym's Ditch, of which there was now no trace whatever,
probably owing to ploughing. We then came to the village of MACEY, beyond which the Ditch
turns away to the North East. Here we were to depart from it and cut
across in a north-westerly direction until we should come to the Upper
10.30: We stopped in the village to sketch the old pump.
A sweet shop was open and we went in to buy some pop. Inside we miles
found two other Scouts of the 2nd Disborough Troop, who appeared to be on
their Journey, too. We shook hands and chatted. They were going to follow
the same route as ourselves as far as Loopey Row which was a mile or so
further on, and there they intended to follow the road round to the left,
while we were going to keep straight on by a footpath. We all drank pop
and then picked up our kits and continued on our way together. One of our
new friends was a rather tubby boy who staggered under an enormous rucsac
and who walked slowly and looked most uncomfortable. The other was a tall
lanky lad, who seemed to have hardly any kit at all —just a small rucsac
with hardly anything in it and who wore boots and obviously wanted to
stride out but couldn't because of his friend.
" Isn't it going so well?" I asked the tubby one.
" No, it isn't. Like a fool I came in brand new shoes which I
hadn't got used to and they're killing me. I'm crippled with blisters.
I'll never wear new shoes on a hike again. A good old comfortable
well-worn pair for me in future—stout, strong and in good condition, of
course, but shoes I've already broken in. I've brought far too much kit,
too, and my pack's miles too heavy. It's nearly breaking my back. Still at
least I was warm in bed; more than Dick was "—indicating his friend—"
why, his teeth were chattering so much he kept me awake half the night
" Yes, it was quite a cold night ", I observed.
"Cold!" said Dick. "I've never been so cold in all my
life. I wanted to cut down my kit to the absolute minimum, so I only
brought one blanket, and golly, I was frozen, particularly my feet. I
hardly slept a wink all night. However much I cut down gear in future I
shall always make sure I take enough bedding. I don't want another night
like last night, it's not worth it."
We all agreed that the kit one
should take on a hike is a question of striking the happy medium between
freezing to death by night, or being crushed by an insupportable burden by
day! This led to a discussion on how to decide what to take on a hike. The
fat boy, whose name was John, said he had made a list of everything he
thought he would need and put it all in. After a lengthy debate, we
decided that it is better to compile a list of those things only which one
cannot do without, provided it is granted that one of these is enough
bedding to be warm on a cold night. Bill and I had gone into this question
fairly carefully and were finally able to convince the other two that our
own kit list, which we have given at the end of this log, is as good as
We argued for some time about the items on this list.
Firstly, the tent; what type should one take? This, of course, depends
on what one can get. We had brought an Itisa; John and Dick had got a Good
Companion. A really good lightweight tent, by a reputable firm, like
either of these, or like the Scout Shop's Gilwell Hike, is the best
possible tent for the job. Failing this, any type of hike tent which is
both light and waterproof will do. If it has enough room to move about in
so much the better; true one can put up with being fairly cramped for just
one night, though camping, as B-P. has said, is not a question of
"putting up with things"; it is a question of making oneself
really comfortable with the minimum equipment and expense.
As regards the other items on our list, Dick and John were surprised
how many things we were sharing, which it is usual for each person to
take. One bar of soap, one tube of toothpaste, one nail brush, one set of
darning and sewing gear for socks and buttons, will serve for two people,
though two can scarcely share a toothbrush! If both have shoes or boots of
the same colour, one brush and tin of polish will suffice, so will one spare pair of laces; it is most
unlikely that both parties will break their laces. Both people should,
however, take matches; it is a mistake to rely on one box; it will either
get lost or damp. A hand axe is not absolutely essential; in well wooded
country it should be possible to find enough wood lying around for
ordinary purposes which doesn't need chopping, but it is an asset if a
small, light one can be obtained. A torch should be taken, in case one
either has nocturnal visitors, or wishes to get up in the night. Whether a
candle should be taken is debatable. If it is late in the year and it gets
dark early, a candle is much better for writing up notes and for lighting
the tent than a torch, but a candle in a tent is always a danger; it is so
likely to fall over and tents catch fire very easily, and in any case
candle grease is terribly messy.
Regarding the items on our list of personal gear, we all agreed that if
possible the backpack should be one with a good stout frame, which must be
tried out and the straps adjusted properly before starting the hike. A
sleeping bag is better than blankets, though if it is a thin bag a blanket
may be needed as well. If one has no sleeping bag, then the number of
blankets which should be taken depends, obviously, on the weather and time
of year. On a very warm July evening, one may be enough, but usually two
will be necessary and if it's very cold three may be needed.
We disagreed as to whether pyjamas are desirable. Personally, I like
them and always wear them, but Bill sleeps in a spare sweater and a pair
of shorts. The important thing is not to sleep in any of the clothes one
has hiked in or worn during the day. I like to wear a vest under my
pyjamas, so take a spare vest accordingly.
By this time we had passed through LOOPEY ROW, and had to part. We
agreed to try and persuade our Scouters to arrange a joint camp between
our two Troops, and said goodbye. Bill and I watched the others walk off
down the road, Dick striding out in front, John grunting on behind. I must
say they looked a bit incongruous. Apart from anything else, they hadn't
taken much care of their uniforms in camp and their hats looked frightful
and their scarves little better. It isn't much trouble to fold one's
uniform up, and keep it smart, while wearing camp kit, and scarves in
particular must be folded very carefully, otherwise they look ghastly. Our
two friends provided quite a good object lesson on this. We watched them
disappear and continued on our way.
11.15: We had been going downhill for some time now and found that our
footpath continued to descend steadily, for the Upper Icknield Way runs along
the foot miles of an escarpment, and the Lower Way follows the line of the valley. As
we crossed the field we saw a fine pair of magpies fluttering about in the
hedges. We also saw several rabbits, which scattered as we approached. At the
bottom of the hill, we turned right on to the UPPER ICKNIELD WAY. This is
one of the ancient roads which was a trunk trade route even before the
Romans came. We thought a report on the present condition of the Way could
profitably be set as an object on some future hike. The part we were on is
still as it has been for centuries past, just a muddy cart track, flanked
with hedges mainly composed of thorn.
After about 1/2 mile we crossed a
minor road and continued, passing many trees standing in the hedgerow, one
or two sycamore, horse chestnut, beech of course, and one very fine ilex,
or holm oak. After we had gone some little way on, we suddenly noticed a
lady walking ahead of us carrying two baskets which appeared to be heavy
to judge by her laboured footsteps. "Good turn!" we both thought
instantly and hared off after her. The lady looked over her shoulder
somewhat fearfully, and seeing us charging after her increased her speed;
she couldn't have known much about Scouts - or perhaps she did!
this doesn't succeed, I give up!" I muttered. We overtook the lady
near the gate of a cottage.
"Can we help you carry your baskets, madam?" Bill spluttered.
The lady turned and smiled on us with positive relief. "Well,
thank you very much, boys, but I'm not going any further. I live here. Good
morning." And so saying, she turned into the cottage.
"Well?" said Bill.
"I give up," I replied.
12.10: Just past the cottage we came upon another road. Here we turned right,
leaving the Icknield Way, and climbed a very steep hill, until we
found ourselves beneath HIGH LEAF CROSS. We decided to have lunch at the
top, above the Cross, and climbed straight up the centre of it. It was of
chalk, cut into the side of the hill, and at the bottom was very steep and
very heavy going with backpacks. However, we made it, and eventually got to
the top, very puffed out, and were rewarded with a magnificent view, which
it is commonly said extends to seven Counties on a clear day.
12.30: We dumped our backpacks on the ground, got our capes out, as we did not
wish to sit on the ground which was still damp from the dew, and
then began to prepare lunch, our menu being as follows:
Lettuce, tomatoes, watercress, onion, cucumber, cheese and cold
sausages; bread, butter and marmalade; biscuits, buns, oranges, apples and
nuts; lemonade (mixed up on the spot with powder, water and sugar).
We did not, however, have sandwiches but cut our bread and prepared our
food as we wanted it. Sandwiches are always pretty grim unless eaten on
the same day as they are cut as the bread gets terribly stale. After
lunching, we wiped our plates and cutlery on the grass, for our flasks had
contained enough water to make the lemonade, but none for washing up.
We then lay on the grass for some time, resting. I was writing up my
notes, though I found I was more interested in watching the activities of
a sparrow hawk which hovered about overhead. Meanwhile Bill was studying the map.
Suddenly an elderly gentleman came wandering through the bushes and sat
down between us.
"Hallo, lads. Hiking?"
We suspected him at once. Only a Scout Commissioner would ever ask such
a silly question! And sure enough he was wearing a Scout badge: our
suspicions were confirmed. I remembered the 5th Scout Law just in time to
stop myself saying "No, we're fishing" and said "Yes, sir.
We're on our Journey."
"Good. Please don't get up," and he shook hands with us where
we were, very informally! He asked us our Troop, and we told him. We chatted
about our Journey and told him where we had been and showed him our notes.
"Well, it's been a good weekend for it. Have you enjoyed
"Yes, sir. So far, very much."
"Fine. That's the important thing, you know. Provided you try
hard, learn something and have a good time, nothing else matters
We got chatting about Journeys in general and logs in particular.
"One thing I've wondered about, sir. All the Journey Logs I've
ever seen have been written in short notes, not in full sentences - you know the
kind of thing."
"Yes, I know. 'Followed road SSE 2 miles. Turned left Rd. Junct. 143856. Passed church and public house. Sketched latter. Continued ESE
1/2 mile. Turned right on to path at stile.' - That's what you mean, isn't
"Yes, sir. That's right. Must a log be written like that, or can
you write in proper English if you prefer?"
"Oh yes, of course you can. The point is that the Log is a record
of what you did and where you went; it isn't an Essay or a Composition and
the Examiner is only interested in your Scouting; he doesn't want to test
your grammar, so most boys prefer the short note method and in any case it
is shorter and more concise. If you have a flair for descriptive writing,
then you would do well to make use of it in your log, just as the boy who
is good at sketching makes use of his talents."
"Yes, I see. And that's another thing. Why is so much stress
placed on sketching in logs? It's all right for people like Bill here, who can
draw, but I couldn't do a decent sketch to save my life."
"Well, firstly, sketching is good observation training. You really
see a thing if you've got to draw it; you may only look at it if you're
just going to describe it. Secondly, a sketch gives a much clearer idea of
an object than a verbal description. Thirdly, lots of people who think
they can't draw find that they are much better than they thought they were
when they really try. Does that answer you?"
"Yes thank you, sir".
"If you aren't very good at
sketching, use small simple sketches, thumbnail size, with match-stick
figures, but put in as many sketches as you can; they make your log
interesting. Put in other things as well - birds' feathers, plants,
Next we talked about mapping.
"Why do we have maps in a log?" he asked.
"Isn't it because the idea behind a log is that anyone who wanted,
should be able with the aid of the log and nothing else - except perhaps a
compass - to go over the same route as we followed, and they would want
maps to help them?"
"Yes, that's about it. So what should your maps include?"
"Firstly, the north point and scale, then the exact route taken,
every road and path traversed, with turnings off, and as much country on either
side as could actually be seen."
"Yes, that's right. Make your maps as neat as possible. It's
better to include less detail and have them tidy and nicely finished off,
than to smother them with all kinds of details which don't really concern
your hike, and make them a messy eye-sore. You should do several maps of
fairly large scale instead of one big one, though it is a good idea to
have in addition one big map snowing the whole area covered, to act as an
index to other maps. Use plenty of colours - water in blue, main roads
red, 2nd-class roads yellow, woods green, and so on, and always give a
legend or table of all the conventional signs you have used. One good idea
is to affix tracing paper over your maps and show your route, camp site,
lunch halt and such things on this. Still, whatever you do, be consistent
about it, and remember that neatness and clarity are the important things.
"Well, that's enough on mapping. You know how to set out your log,
"Yes, sir," replied Bill, who was feeling a bit left out of
things. "You have columns on the left and right for the time (using
24-hour clock) and the mileage respectively. You start with a proper form
of heading, give a report on the weather each day, and end with a kit list
- and you have to sign it at the end."
"Yes, that's right. What do you put in your headings?"
"Well, the area of the hike, the map used, who the log is
addressed to, who it's by, the special object, if any, the date, and the
name of your companion."
"Good. Also, you either give, in full, the instructions you were
given, or else attach them. One of you will have to copy them, the other
can attach them. By the way, don't forget to include the menu for your
meals; Scouts often do. Whether you give it at the end, the beginning, or
in the text is immaterial, but don't forget it! Anything else?"
Neither of us could think of anything.
"Well, there is one thing. Try to emphasise key words - such as
place names - in some way. You can put them in block capitals, or
underline them, but draw attention to them. I have seen a log in which all
place names were underlined in red; all historical references, in blue;
all those referring to nature study in green; and all references to the
specific object, which was something about farming methods (the boy being
interested in farming) in yellow. Perhaps that's taking things a bit too
far but you should make important things stand out. By the way, what's the
time? I believe my watch has stopped."
"It's a quarter to two, sir", I replied.
"Good heavens, is it really? I must go. Cheerio lads, and good
luck. I hope you pass, in fact I'm sure you will!" - and with that he
shook hands with us and left as quickly as he had arrived. It was high
time that we, too, were on our way, and having consulted the map and
decided what route we should take, we donned our packs and started.
13.50: For the first time our feet felt really frightful - red hot - as if we
were walking on pin cushions! It's funny how one's feet always feel
much worse after a rest during a hike. For the first few yards we felt
crippled and just hobbled along, but as we got under way we soon felt
better and before long we warmed up and were going as well as ever.
We followed a path along the top of the ridge, walking almost due East,
and at the far end we found a footpath by which we began to descend
rapidly into the depths of a huge beech-wood, going S.E. roughly. By the
time we had reached the bottom, however, we had lost the path and were
staggering about through beds of leaves and thick brambles. After a while
we found ourselves getting hazy about our direction and we had to admit we
weren't sure where we were.
On referring to the map we found we had veered round too much to the
East. We therefore struck due South and ploughed on. We climbed a hill and
before long found ourselves on a road, not far from Longdown Farm.
opposite we found a footpath, which we followed. It brought us out on to a
track which took us up a steep incline, and soon we were near the summit
of LECTERN HILL. A short scramble took us to the top. We sat down and surveyed the
"I'm going to take a look at my feet," said Bill. "I
believe I've got a blister". He had! It was quite a beauty.
"Ought I to prick it?"
"No. Here, put on this Elastoplast. Look! do you see that hole in
your sock? I expect that caused it. You'd better put your spare pair
Soon Bill had patched himself up, and changed socks, and we were ready
to move on. We decided to make a bee-line for Cymbal's Mount, so we worked
out the compass bearing, and then set off along it.
By now, however, our packs were beginning to feel really heavy and our
backs and shoulders were aching. As we left the summit and descended into
the wood we noticed that the outlines of the camp, which according to our
map had in olden times stood upon the crown of the hill, could be seen
fairly clearly. Three defensive ditches could be traced in a series of
furrows and ditches. We thought that the task of mapping and attempting to
reconstruct these could make quite an interesting object for a Journey.
15.00: It was just over a mile between the two hilltops, and by 3 p.m. we were
on the summit of CYMBAL'S MOUNT. As we wanted to get home in time for
church, we didn't stop, but descended the hill and climbed over a wall out
on to a road.
15.30: We turned left, and followed the road to the West. Soon we arrived at a
Road Junction and turned right. A short way up the road we found LITTLE BIMBLE STATION. Our hike was over. We found that we had fifteen minutes
to wait for our train, so we bought our tickets and sat in the waiting
room and got on with our notes.
15.45: Just after a quarter to four, our train pulled in. We boarded, and were
soon comfortably settled and on our way home.
"Well, it's been a grand week-end", said Bill.
"It's a nuisance about the Good Turn", I replied.
"I wonder whether he'll fail us on account of that?"
We finished off our notes and put them away. After some time the train reached Bybridge Station, from where we had started the previous day.
We looked out with interest on a busy platform.
Suddenly, as the guard was shutting doors and thinking about getting
the train away, we saw two Sea Scouts staggering along carrying a heavy
Kayak full of gear towards the Guard's Van, which was next to our
"Come on. We'd better give them a hand", said Bill.
"They'll never catch the train otherwise."
We jumped out, and helped carry the boat, which was a really lovely
job, and just got it loaded in time. The Sea Scouts joined us in our
compartment, and the train moved on.
"Thanks a lot", said one of them. "That's your good turn
for the day!"
"Why, so it is", I said. "I suppose that'll count all
right. Saved by the gong!"
Our new friends had been doing their Journey by water and we passed the
time by discussing our experiences.
We listened enthralled as they told us of the joys of doing a Journey
by water; of weirs, and locks, and of getting slapped broadside by the
wash of steamers, and many other things of which we had little idea.
Their object had been to explore and sound a number of backwaters and
note landing-places and depth and breadth of channels and so on, and they
had also had to do a short hike ashore. As we thus compared notes, it
seemed to make the journey much shorter. We all agreed we had thoroughly
enjoyed ourselves. At Jenning's Cross they got out and left us to
ourselves for the remainder of the journey home, which was without
incident. We finally arrived home at 5.30 p.m.
17.30: So I regretfully bring my account of our hike to its close and submit
my log to my Examiners - you who read this booklet. Whether you pass or
fail me for my Journey, the hike was well worth while. We thoroughly
enjoyed it, full as it was of interest, and new experiences. The great
thing about the Journey, is to take it as a challenge to one's Scouting, and to enter the fray determined to get as
much out of it as possible, and to have a really splendid time.
I can only hope that other Scouts will get as much fun, interest, and
happiness out of their hikes as we got out of ours.
Eagle Patrol, 2nd Mudbury Troop.
LIST OF KIT CARRIED ON HIKE
JOINT KIT WHICH WE CARRIED BETWEEN US
Carried by me