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Sir Chris Bonington was appointed as a Cumbrian Scout ambassador on Sunday at the finale of the Counties Dragnet competition at St Johns in the Vale. The internationally renowned mountaineer joins Carlisle MP, John Stevenson and Carlisle construction company chief, Fred Story, as Cumbria Scouts third ambassador.
Explorer Scout leader, Eddie Ward from Carlisle, who is the County Leader of Ambassador and Luminary Relationships explained, “We are seeking to gain the support of high profile Cumbrians from various walks of life to advocate on behalf of local Scouting. Our ambassadors have been a great success. Following the boost from the initial publicity, they have continued to provide great support and help to raise our profile.”
Sir Chris was appointed at the end of Cumbrian based national Explorer Scout & Scout Network event Dragnet. One of the toughest and most challenging events on the Scouting calendar.
Dragnet has been run for 38 years, and the event has grown year on year to now hit a maximum of 60 teams of four, from around the County and around the UK. Up to 240 young people stretching and challenging themselves over this 36 hour 40 mile event.
This years event was based at St Johns in the Vale, diocesan youth centre. They arrived on Friday evening to check in, in torrential rain, before having their equipment checked and receiving a briefing. They were then transported by coach and dropped off at the secret start point at Lindal in Furness just after midnight. One hour after the teams were dropped off teams of leaders commenced the hunt, to chase, catch and entrap while at the same time support, encourage and ensure the safety of the Scouts.
The object of the event is to navigate back to base as a team, with the maximum of their three lives intact and nearest to 11.00 am exactly on Sunday morning (teams can run in between 10.30am and 12pm).
Thankfully for the teams the weather improved greatly over the weekend, but with saturated fells the conditions were no less challenging. Sir Chris arrived at the diocesan youth centre to witness the excitement of the run in at 11am. Chris said, “I was immensely impressed by everything I saw, the quality and spirit of adventure shown in the challenge, the spirit of the participants and just how well it was organised”.