Scouting Snapshots

Youngsters from 3rd Blackpool Beavers and Cubs faced their fears when Little Zoo to You visited the group.
Youngsters from 3rd Blackpool Beavers and Cubs faced their fears when Little Zoo to You visited the group.
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Youngsters from 3rd Blackpool Beavers and Cubs faced their fears when Little Zoo to You visited the group.

Gemma Murphy, who lives in Pilling, visits groups, schools and nursing homes to give educational talks and give a hands-on experience with animals people might never normally see.

She had been working for a company called ZooLab in Yorkshire – where she originates from – which also offers animal-handling, and then saw a gap in the market when she moved to Wyre for her degree at Lancaster University.

Among Gemma’s menagerie are giant African land snails, millipedes, hissing cockroaches, a snake, tarantula, tree frog and ferrets.

The youngsters and leaders had a fantastic evening and enjoyed learning about the different animals while the mini beasts were passed around for the children to hold.

Lorraine Crossen, Beaver Scout Leader, said: “We had a very exciting visit from Little Zoo to You. Gemma brought some fascinating creatures with her, including a hissing cockroach, a scorpion, a white Australian tree frog and a giant African millipede.

“The children got to see all of the animals up close, and even hold some of them.

“Gemma shared her amazing knowledge of all the animals.”

Explorers bring home the trophy from mountain challenge

Blackpool Explorers triumphed at the Mountain Activity Challenge – beating teams from across Fylde, South Ribble, Preston and Chorley to the winning spot.

The Mountain Adventure Challenge is a weekend of mountain backpacking in the Lake District for West Lancashire Explorer Scouts, Scout Network and leaders and takes place in early April.

After pitching their tents, teams are provided with Saturday’s route in the form of grid references of a set of checkpoints, from which they compile a detailed route card.

They walk the route and then camp at a rough campsite before working out Sunday’s route from another set of grid references.

There are three classes over the weekend: bronze, silver and gold.

Bronze is the same as the silver class, except that the strength and stamina requirements are reduced as the bulk of the heavier overnight gear is transported to the overnight camp.

Silver is targeted at Explorer Scouts and gold is aimed at Network Scouts.

Points are allocated for route planning, route completion, timings, equipment, speed, campcraft and menu, and emergency procedures.

The winner of each course is the team with the most points.

The weekend is supported by a team of mountain authorised and qualified leaders, including holders of the Summer Mountain Leader Award.

They are based at different checkpoints.

Teams visit each checkpoint in turn and arrival times are recorded by checkpoint staff.

The checkpoint staff do not assist the teams, but check that they are fit to continue.

The overnight camp is on rough terrain, so experience and team work is essential.

Congratulations to the Blackpool Explorer Scouts!