I blame the weather – yet another fine September weekend meant that I had to go out again. Quite a surprisingly large number of last year’s Bronze DofE group decided that they were brave enough to do Silver, so we rewarded them by making them walk eighteen kilometres over five summits. Unfortunately we didn’t work out that the Pentlands Push, a charity walk which covered some of the same ground, was the same Saturday. We normally checkpoint the kids on distant hilltops by counting heads and looking for colours (Oh look, there’s a group of five up there – one of them’s taller than the rest and one of them’s wearing pink, that’s group 2). As a system this only works if there are comparatively few people out walking, not the six hundred plus there were on Saturday.
So we gave them walkie-talkies (no mobile signal) and told them to call us whenever they reached the top of a hill and let us know where they were – there were three groups, and five hills which meant that we spent most of the day with radios warbling away in rucksack pockets. I foolishly thought that walkie-talkies were sufficiently old-style technology for them not to be very exciting, but no, they were unfamiliar and therefore had to be played with – eventually (once I knew all the kids were safely on the right route) I switched mine off in self-defense.
They did well – and several people managed to get free biscuits from the Pentlands Push sponsors. Some of those people may have been grown-ups… well, they were handing out caramel wafers!