This Saturday afternoon (6th July) the Explorer scouts entered the Guildford Lions Raft Race. We had a built the raft during unit meeting on Monday evenings and had given her sea trials on Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago (see Messing about on the water). We took the raft to Guildford and sat her down on the bank waiting for the start in torturous sunshine, I thought the barrels might actually melt. The competition looked strong and the fancy dress looked amazing. We where all humbled by the sophistication of some of the rafts and the dedication of some of the fancier dressed contestants.
3:00 pm came round and the rafts started to launch. Our boys pushed off and took up their position before the bridge. Before I had realised, they had crossed the start line and were off. Those of us following along the tow path had to work hard to catch up. No mean feet in the heat that prevailed that afternoon. We eventually caught them up and they had made some good progress. They chased and overtook every raft that lay ahead of them. It was clear from their exertions that they were going for it. Despite a serious attack of water bombs from the bank side, the boys powered on relentlessly.
Soon the finish line was in view and a little of the exertion was starting to show. They dug deep and crossed the line in a final sprint. A good race had been paddled and they had given their best.
We loaded up the raft and all settled with a drink and a burger waiting for the results. The wait dragged on as the final few comedy rafts crossed the line but then finally at 5:00 pm they announced the results. First off they announced the youth teams results and we all wished our lads had entered as a youth team as then they would have had a chance. Then they announced the other prizes, starting with the general class. The class that most of the other rafts had entered, the class with all those big mean looking guys.
And the winners of the general class with a time of 39 minutes is……..Take 4 Surrey Hills Explorer Scout Unit. We couldn’t believe it. Our boys had one the overall race. Fantastic, Amazing I was lost for words. Ed, Aiden, Triss and Jamie went up to collect their trophy.