Whilst Earely Troop converged at Ingress Abbey they completed their route card, checking the equipment they had, the weather forecast, detailing the planned route. Before setting off, time was taken to look at and review the history of the stately home which is still a family home (Lord and Lady Hailes) which was built in 1831 from stones from the old London Bridge, the follies surrounding the gardens and the curse laid on Henry VIII and all future owners of the estate from the last Abbess of Dartford!
Our navigation course took us to the river front, which provided some impervious sized ferries pass in the golden orange sunset and geese flying in formation along the river. The route took us through the historic Greenhithe with the old town buildings dating from 1740’s with the Ship Chandlers sign still proudly kept long since its heyday, then around the new build complex and Asda’s, finding the public footpath sign taking us from lit highways to the Thames path heading east with way ahead being lit from the bridge and the constant river industry. After passing under the impressive span of the Dartford crossing the light of day had fully gone, with just a glow in the sky of the lights of London, we passed by the demolition site of Littlebrook Power Station, with it’s chimney still standing 215m high with the aircraft warning lights, despite the remains of the last few buildings resembling armageddon.
Passing the water works, we ventured past Dartford Marshes walking along the top of the flood defences to Long Reach, where we stopped in the darkness and took in the night sky, with the Moon yet to rise we identified Jupiter, Saturn Ursa-minor and Ursa-major using them to locate the North Star, checking that our compasses where still working. Taking a breather at the Dartford Flood barrier RVP we checked the mapped course along the River Darenth where the path meandering where the long rushes with their estuary birds calling out of the darkness. Finally we walked back to bright lights of the Town centre, and climbing the only hill of the walk back to Scouts Hall where Julie was there to great us with Hot Chocolate and biscuits.
Congratulations to all Scouts that where able to take part, they achieved all aspects of the “Hike Away Staged Activity Badge” and undertook various aspects of the navigation and astronomy.