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For a second year, a large group from 1st Tambourine Bay decided to attend the annual ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Splendour Rock in the Blue Mountains.

It’s a 28 km round trip hike – this year made all the more difficult by thick undergrowth on the tracks caused by the fires a year earlier.

The group split into two teams – a day-hike team, leaving in the morning on the day prior with a plan to camp overnight at Splendour Rock and awake early for the Dawn Service – and a night-hike team who left much later that evening – around 10pm – hiking overnight and arriving just before dawn in time for the service.

Eight Venturers, a Rover alumni, three Scouts, an amazing Cub, three Leaders and a supportive parent headed off from Dunphy’s.  They hiked over fire trails, overgrown tracks, resting at Mobbs Swamp, over more overgrown tracks and climbing steeply up the side of Mount Dingo to reach the endpoint known as Splendour Rock.

The reaction of the night-hike team – who arrived nearly two hours earlier than anticipated, was very positive.  It was their first experience at night hiking.  Here are some of the reactions: “Hiking at night is so much better.  Our packs are so light.  It’s not hot.  It’s easy with so many torches. Time almost vanishes – everything goes quickly.”  The reference to lighter packs surely comes from having no tent, sleeping bag etc.

This year’s interesting twist was the primary organiser, a Leader who had previously hiked the route a few weeks before making sure it would be suitable for a night hike and was unable to attend at the last minute.  Consequently, overall leadership of the night hike team was passed to two Queen’s Scout candidates who took on the role of leading the night team, navigating the unfamiliar route with its challenging undergrowth, and doing all of this by torchlight.  The Venturers easily rose to this challenge.  It also demonstrated the value of a well-researched and communicated hike plan and reflects positively on the skills they developed over the many hours of preparation they had put into their own Venturer Award and Queens Scout expeditions over the past year.

There were other Rovers, Venturers, and Scouts from other Groups attending – maybe about forty Scouts in total – and an overall crowd of approximately 100 people attending this most moving experience in a remote, beautiful and majestic location.

It’s a very fitting way to combine an outdoor and community service activity into one.

Well done Tambo!

Kim Loane, 1st Tambourine Bay Sea Scouts