Spearhead 2nd in the Explorer Dragnet Competition 2018

Dragnet is not for the faint-hearted. It encompasses at least 35 miles of hiking through open country over 36 hours whilst being chased by 'searchers'. The aim is to make it back to Base Camp closest to 11am Sunday morning with the most lives remaining. You have to be made of strong stuff to even think about applying. 2018 was the first year that Spearhead ESU entered a team into the competition. In the weeks running up to the event our weekly programme had involved map work, navigation, first aid and a day hike to prepare the team with the skills they would need to take part.
We set off on Friday 6th July in the District Mini Bus and headed to Base Camp at Finsthwaite Village Hall to register the team and for a full kit inspection. Our bags were noticeably smaller than other teams but we had the correct gear and the inspection was passed.
At 11pm the Explorers all jumped on the coaches with the other 36 teams competing and were taken on a drive through the Lake District to an unknown 'drop off'. Once here the teams were set loose into the Lake District and were at the mercy of the wild and the searchers.
Meanwhile, the searchers (made up of Dragnet veterans and leaders) had their searcher briefing and soon after we set off to track the teams down and take some life cards. The starting point was Millom and the general route headed up over the top of Coniston and down through Grizedale Forest.
Our searching team luckily never came across our own team throughout the entirety of the weekend but we did manage to bag a few life cards. Some were an easy take such as finding teams mid breakfast and dinner, others were slightly harder; after a 40 minute hunt through Grizedale and a leader's knee ‘popping out’ we finally managed to swipe a life from a team of Explorers.
At 10:30am Sunday 8th July we were geared up at the finish line eager to know how our team had faired and at 10:57:58 our team sprinted across the finish with 3 lives remaining!!
Congratulations to the four superb Explorers who worked incredibly hard as a team and group of friends to push through this difficult challenge and earn second place!! 23 out of the initial 37 teams actually finished the competition and between 1st and 2nd place... 12 short seconds, it was unbelievably close. To any Explorer or Network members out there, I wholeheartedly recommend this event. See you in 2019, Dragnet!
Andrew Tinsley
Explorer Scout Leader