Autumn 2003 event
After two fantastic events in the space of just 12 months it was going to be tough to organise a better one, but everyone agreed this far exceeded their expectations.
As well as the regular teams that had taken part in the past, new teams turned up for their first taste of the Apex Challenge from all over the North of England. Surely none of them who arrived early that Saturday morning could have visualised walking over the top of a hill to find a tent with computerised disco dancing challenge to test their skill and coordination.
The sun was shining as the teams started to arrive at Stanage Edge. More than thirty teams had already registered for the event meaning we were expecting well over a hundred Scouts to turn up. That made it the biggest event of the ones organised so far. Both the previous events had gone down very well, but we were determined to pull out all the stops and make this one even better!
Teams quickly registered and were given the usual event briefing. Breaking with tradition, there were even some questions from the floor. Matt had been taking bets the night before on what he should deliberately leave out so it could be picked up by someone in the audience. (Note for next time – think up the most obscure question you can and it’ll make him very happy! Though he was quite taken aback by the question about why teams couldn’t wear jeans so well done for that one!)
Soon teams were off around Stanage in search of the nine activity bases. The fun of the Apex Challenge is, you know where bases are, but you’re never quite sure what you might find when you get there. You can have an educated guess; if it’s a rocky cliff then the chances are you might be abseiling or climbing, but then we might just be trying to trick you…!
Certainly no teams imagined they would find a tent in the middle of one of the fields with a televised disco dancing machine inside.
Below’s a breakdown of all the main activity bases that were on offer…
A – The Grovel
Squeeze over, under and between rocks and boulders to reach the hidden control point.
B – Dual Ascent
Two team members scale a rocky crag simultaneously to reach the control.
C – Up And Over
Using whatever sticks you are given, construct a wooden ladder to reach the punch swinging high above you.
D – Get Down
The team abseils over a craggy edge to reach the control point at the bottom.
E – Quarry Quandary
Use your skill and ingenuity to guide a marble around wooden course. You’ll need a steady hand and a patient mind.
F – Righting The Rung
The punch is high above you and all you’ve got to reach it is a load of rope. Maybe a ladder’s the best idea?!
G – Disco Fever
Put your best feet forward and take the disco dancing challenge – in the middle of a field. Fancy footwork’s a must!
H – Fast Lane
Carefully navigate a sit-on lawn-mower round an obstacle course. It’s harder than it looks!
Here are just a handful of the comments we got from teams taking part in the event:
“It were good. It were well good.” (Wonk Toad)
“I’ve been to all three events now and this was even better than the others!” (Norton Nemesis)
“Thanks for a great day. Overall it was really good despite what sounds like a hectic day for the team organising.” (Warley Warriors)
Many thanks to everyone who sent their own reports on the Autumn 2003 event in to us. They were all read by an independent writer who made comments on them all and chose our eventual winner.
Congratulations to Fiona Thompson from the Network team 3 Guyz And A Gal whose report won her a Pod rucksack, MagLite torch, penknife and a bag of glowsticks!
What the judges said: “I thought the winner was colourful, and pictured the event well, especially for someone like me who wasn’t there. It was also concise and interesting throughout. Generally the best written.”
An Early Start
Well, Saturday morning and it’s 7 in the morning, 7 IN THE MORNING!! I’m getting ready to be picked up for the Apex Challenge happening in the Peak District, West of Sheffield. The rest of the group will be here at half past seven, and I’ve been told to be ready. Due to living in Doncaster, we have to set off early. I haven’t even had time for breakfast. Before I even know it, it’s half past seven and we are on our way. It only takes 35 minutes to get to Sheffield, but not knowing where we are going and how easy it is to get lost in the city centre, it’s better to get there early rather than late.
Half past eight, and the lads have found a bakery, eating time at the zoo. We are back on our way within 10 minutes and getting lost in the countryside. We get to the meeting point at just gone nine.
We have everything we need, the map, a pencil and the marking card. We join up with everyone for the briefing. After I fell down the slight hill, the briefing begins. There are only two network teams here today, so we have a good chance of winning something. Ten minutes later, we know where we should and shouldn’t go, what to do if we get lost and lose our map. Just need to wait for our time so we can start the challenge.
It’s our time, 10:58am and we have registered, had our picture taken and we’re off. We decided to walk down the road heading towards the first point we can see. After working out which wall it was we needed to follow, after walking through a field and getting the first point, we’re back on the road. We walked past the first challenge on our list, but we found toilets. Thank goodness, I was dying for a pee, so were the lads.
We worked out where the first challenge was, shame that we had to push the lawn mower round the cones. After all, I had to push the heaviest person around the course, yes you can all feel sorry for me, please. We walked up the hill, half way up, we thought we were going to have to call for an ambulance as Dale – one of the lads – went white, sweating buckets and generally didn’t look good. Carl thought he was going to have a heart attack. But we carried on anyway after a short rest.
The next challenge was a great laugh, the disco fever one, seeing three grown men dancing on a dance mat.
A couple of hours later, we were waiting outside the forest for a challenge. It’s our turn and we walk into the forest to find out that we had to carry a bomb, round the forest. A BOMB!! I hate bomb and everything to do with bomb but I joined in to carry this bomb round to the end. Half way round and Carl and I were holding it, Andrew and Dale had just passed the bomb to us, we stood still, waiting till we both had a proper hold on it, then suddenly, Dale fell over a branch and the bomb went off. When we had all stopped laughing, we carried on. We only set it off once, which I thought was good. Right, on to the next challenge.
We did another challenge, and a couple of other pointers and then it was time to get back to base. The only problem, we had half an hour and about an hour’s walk if we didn’t come up with a short cut. So we made our own, right through a field full of heather. Dale fell over a few times, very funny, and so did Andrew. It seemed we would never get out of the heather but we did. We made it back to camp with 12 minutes to spare. We registered and then sat on the field and relaxed. We had done it!!!
After a short while, the results were read out. We came second!!! Yah!!! Not bad for a day’s work, a day out to Lightwater Valley and two games each at Hollywood Bowl!! I have never been to either of them so I’m excited to be going. I can’t wait for the next challenge. I’ll be going again!!!
What the judges said: “An interesting, behind-the-scenes account of the day, complete with smelly feet and cheesy music!”
My day at the Apex Challenge
They entered the Apex Challenge for climbing, map reading and abseiling, but none of them expected to find a full blown disco in the middle of a dense forest. This was no lightweight base. A room was constructed out of tarpaulins uniquely attached to convenient trees. Inside this woodland location were flashing lights, strobes, a wooden dance floor, 2 dance mats, Playstation, projector screen all powered up by a vociferous heavy duty generator. My strategy was to help my Dad at the base our Scout Troop were organising.
The first part of the day was all sweat, carting all the equipment up into the woods from the scout bus in the car park. Once the base was constructed a queue soon developed. Teams were trying to work out what the base was all about; nobody expects to find a disco in the middle of a wood. It has to be said that initially the female team members were keener to give it all they’ve got on the dance floor, but the lads soon got well into it. “Video Killed The Radio Star” was the starter and competitors had to match their dance steps to the movements on the screen and each person was given a score. The winners from each heat then took part in the final, dancing to a record of their choice.
So, what was the benefit of this base in an adrenaline pumping competition such as the Apex? Mainly it tested a team’s ability to deal with the unexpected as well as having a bit of fun at the same time. Most teams did themselves proud with only one or two individuals appearing reluctant to have a try (probably because their feet smelt). For those that didn’t win the pink pompoms, wait to see what you can win at our next Apex base.
P.S. I can’t stand the sound of “Video Killed The Radio Star” after hearing it so many times but I can’t get you out of my head as Kylie keeps saying again and again and again…but there again I didn’t get any blisters.
What the judges said: “It was a very detailed account of the day, and it’ll capture the event well enough for everyone to remember for years to come.”
My Day at the Apex Challenge
We didn’t have the highest hopes in the world, never mind in the Peak District! We thought that we would have done well if we came in the top half of the teams.
Most of the teams at the Apex Challenge had the maximum number of people – four. In my team – Norton Air – there were only three of us. We were all thinking that this would be a disadvantage to our team, but would it? We were also one of the youngest and with only one of us having done the Apex before we thought we were one of the most inexperienced as well. The time was about 9:15am when we arrived at the starting point so we got ourselves signed in early and realised that we were being set off third. When we were given a map we planned a route which we thought would enable us to go to as many bases and punch points as possible and clash with the least people waiting in queues. Considering we weren’t a team of people so serious to run round the whole thing, we decided that taking the most direct route from one place to another would be a good idea! But heading of to our first destination we discovered that this might not always be the most sensible thing to do as we found ourselves struggling through a mile of dense seven metre tall bracken. Eventually we realised that the going was just too tough and we decided to get going, and headed back to the path and lost about ten minutes!
The first base we went to was base F; it was the furthest away base so from here on it was all down-hill. After completing the marble run and taking our fifty points we headed across the cliff top, collecting numerous points from punches along the way to the next base which was abseiling. I had never done proper abseiling before so I decided to be one out of the two of us that actually did it. I went first and after getting over the edge it was easy going. My mate Richard came after me and had to punch the card half way down the cliff face. The base after was still on the cliff face, even if on this base we were climbing up it rather than climbing down! Since I’d done the practical climbing we swapped over and I did the belaying for one of my team-mates. After the climbing we headed down the hill only missing the most un-crucial punch points and whilst waiting for bases re-planning parts and going over the rest of our route.
The rest of the bases heading down the hill consisted of weaselling and bomb disposal. With only having to wait a maximum of 15 minutes for the busiest bases we must have had a reasonably good plan.
Going down the hill, we only missed one base – C. It was an hour’s queue if we would have waited and I think we made the right decision leaving it out. We had a long walk to D but with the boost in points from the far-away punches that we collected we were on target for a place in the top half of the results. After D we had an expedition through some bracken where we had some five minutes of fun jumping into the overgrown mounds of the stuff before we decided we needed to make up some time and set off at a slow run to look for base G.
After a good 15 minutes searching, and time running out we made the decision to miss G and make sure we got the remaining two bases and punch points. These two bases were J and H. We found them both reasonably well and after some lawnmower madness and some disco dancin’ we needed to run to receive the points for the two punches and get back in time.
When we reached the car park we were looking for the marquee and praying for the smell of hot dogs! And as we turned the corner (drum roll please) they weren’t there!!! Not even the smell!!! We were re-directed to where the marquee had been put up and when we reached it we handed in our form with two minutes to spare. After a small rest and a hot dog or two, or three, or maybe four, as well as a few more which might have slipped past, we gathered round for the results to be read out. After a reassuring comment from base J, and I quote: “This is one of the best score sheets I’ve seen all day” we were looking slightly more towards the top ten than the top half (even if there were only three places separating the top half from the top ten.) As our group got awarded best base award for the dance mats we were already revved up for the places to be announced! As thirteen team names were read out we were still in there and that meant in the top half, so we had out-played our leaders’ expectations at any rate! Three more names gone which meant we were in the top ten, top nine, top eight, then our name still didn’t come out which meant we were in the top six. Before the next team was announced, the man with the mike told us that this was where we didn’t want to finish because it was just out of the prizes, teams six and five had got the same number of points. We were one of those teams and the other was last year’s winner. Points tied it all came down to how much time the teams had left when they returned. Would Norton Air the underdogs’ two minutes be enough to steal them 5th place??? It wasn’t! But we were sixth best out of the 28 teams who had entered, and to started off we were only hoping to be in the top 13. We had done ourselves proud! Even if we did miss out on the glow sticks!
We headed off back to our bus, and after a slight hold up waiting for my team mate to run back and get his bag; we were driving home (Not literally! The leader was driving of course) with big smiles on our faces, to go with the big blisters on our feet! Norton Air – sixth place in ‘the biggest scout event in Yorkshire’.
What the judges said: “A really well presented report, which included even the things that didn’t go to plan! Original and well-structured.”
Warley Warriors – We’ll Be Back!
From my point of view and I am sure many others as well there are only four reasons why you would take part in the Apex Challenge.
- Because you want a very enjoyable day out.
- Because you take things seriously and you want to win.
- Because you would love to get your hands on the ever popular glow sticks.
- Or because you are completely mad!
Most of the people taking part were doing so because of the third and fourth reasons. Yes, that’s right, most of us wanted to get our hands on glowsticks therefore we were very mad, me included!
Like any other Yorkshiremen I like my sleep therefore getting up at 6:30 wasn’t the best start to the day. Like a true Scout and probably many others taking part I was not prepared. Just like clockwork it was a mad rush packing my gear. It didn’t help when another member of the team had only just got up when we were about to set off. If you think that was bad enough we decided we were going to leave the car boot open while we were on our way to meet the others. So that’s why everyone was looking at us funny!
By 8 O’clock we were on our way. (With the car boot safely closed). With three cars going down for two teams one of us was bound to get lost. Sure enough, the moment we hit roadworks on the motorway we lost one of the cars. Even the GPS was confused.
We reached Sheffield around 9 O’clock and past Hillsborough we went. A few minutes later it became clear that the event was to take place in ‘the middle of nowhere’ as one of the lads put it.
We reached the venue around 9:20. By this time it was very busy, all we wanted to do was sleep. But, after all, this was the Apex Challenge and we had been looking forward to it for the last couple of months.
The first thing we noticed was no marquee, no music and no big screen. This was just one of the many things which went wrong during the day. Apparently the warden had been and taken the marquee down, very nice of him!
After registering with the team we were given our start time of 10:49. After everything was explained during the briefing teams started setting off instantly at one minute intervals.
Teams were setting off in all directions, along the footpath, down the road and across the field, you name it, teams did it!
Our strategy was as simple as can be, ‘we didn’t have one’. With it being our first time taking part in the challenge we didn’t know what to expect therefore it was a case of trying to reach all the bases and checkpoints and don’t wait at a base for any longer than 10 minutes. Obviously, we didn’t stick to this as on a couple of the bases we were waiting for around 20 minutes, this cost us as we were really pushing for time.
We decided we would take to the road first instead of cutting through six foot high greenery. We set off down the road (after having a picture taken of our ugly mugs) we soon reached the first check point. It wasn’t the ideal start as we had to run a good three minutes out of our way just to get a checkpoint which was worth 10 points, but, every point counts and we were soon on our way again.
The first base we visited was ‘Fast Lane’. We decided between us this was our favourite base. The overall aim was to push a sit-on-lawnmower around a tight course while a friend sat on it. Trust me, with an 11 stone elephant sat on the lawnmower, it is certainly harder than what it looks, (it doesn’t help when you navigate it into a big ditch).
I hate to admit it but we all enjoyed ‘Disco Fever’. Put it this way, dancing in the middle of a wood (with really poor music) wasn’t exactly our thought of ‘normal’. And I must say, I got the lowest score and I’m proud!
After a long day with many blisters to prove it, it was nice to get to the finish (and yes, the marquee was finally up), the atmosphere was great, with good music, good food and a good position of 10th place to top it all off.
Anyway, on to the food at the BBQ. To be honest who ever cooked it deserves a medal, but who ever bought the buns for the burgers, they deserve a lesson in cooking. The burgers were huge, so in the ideal world you expect a ‘huge’ bun to go with them, but, this is the Apex Challenge and we got a bun which was, only just, a quarter of the size of the burger.
Our position of 10th was respectable for us. We were aiming to get in the top 10 and we only just made it. But, please Matt, say sorry, our team, including me, nearly had a heart attack while you were reading the results out. The story goes. Warley had entered two teams, While reading the results out Matt missed out our ‘b’ team therefore we had no choice but to think they had finished first. But, afte rall, this was the ‘Goons’ (as they are called at Explorer Scouts) and it was near impossible to finish first. It turned out Matt had missed them out and they had finished 21st.
Overall, it was a great day out and you can be sure we will be back next year to beat the rest! Well done guys and keep up the hard work.
What the judges said: “Snappy and to the point! Rah for the glo sticks!”
We came last in the Apex Challenge in September and I love glo sticks I love glo sticks I love glo sticks 🙂
What the judges said: “A great, original idea that made me laugh. Maybe time to give up training for the Apex Challenge and take up poetry full time!”
Apex Challenge 2003 – What A Great Time
I’ve done the Apex Challenge
And had a really great time
And now that I have had a rest
I thought I’d drop u a line.
My team they were from Tickhill
Our name was Lost Again
We came position seven
For next year we must train.
My name is James Webster
An organiser had this name too
A great day I’ve had, so many thanks
From me to ALL of you.