County International Trip to Switzerland 2018
Our group of 15 gathered at Manchester airport at 5 am. Parents were waved off and after we progressed through the airport check-in and security, it soon became apparent we’d be delayed by 10 hours! Without one complaint the group got the card games out and chatted the hours away. When we finally boarded there was another hour delay. No problem – we had a tour of the cockpit, and chatted to the aircrew and passengers.
After an unplanned night in Geneva, we continued our journey by train to Kandersteg. As we stepped outside Kandersteg station, a breathtaking backdrop of high mountains and blue sky greeted us. We hopped on the local bus to Kandersteg International Scout Centre (KISC), which was our base for the week. We were greeted by a ‘Pinkie’ from New Zealand. The Pinkies were the volunteer staff who ran the centre with so much fun and enthusiasm.
During the week we were surrounded by groups from across the world; trading badges, neckers, songs, conversations and friendships. One of the highlights of the trip was an overnight hike to a mountain hut, Gfellalp at 1,823 m. The Guides found it a real challenge, but we made it. We slept in the old ammunition store before following the route of the torrential River Kander back to KISC.
We also took a trip to visit Our Chalet at Adelboden in the neighbouring valley, where we brushed up on some of our Guiding history on a tour of the Chalet.
We celebrated Swiss National Day on 1st August with the locals of Kandersteg. A whole day of activities including a friendship breakfast, environmental/ solar workshop and bushcraft skills. In the evening all of the groups from KiSC, approx. 1,500 people, paraded to the village of Kandersteg for a campfire, fire works and music.
The group did not know each other very well before the trip, but I think they have made friends for life – who knows where their next international adventure will take them!
Anita Dodd – Group Leader