Scout Ambassadors Phoebe Smith & Dwayne Fields visited Edinburgh on 3 December while on a 1300km journey walking from Dunnet Head to Lizard Point. A group of Explorer Scouts and leaders gathered to hear their story. Their journey takes them from the most northern to the most southern points of mainland Britain over 40 days. Both are raising money and awareness for an expedition to the Antarctic in November 2020 in which they will take a group of disadvantaged young people on an expedition of a lifetime. Two Scouts will also be invited to join the expedition and the selection process will start soon.
Phoebe talked about her upbringing in North Wales. Despite growing up on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, it took a trip to Uluru in Australia to make her realise the value of wild camping and exploring the great outdoors. Phoebe writes books and articles for travel magazines about the joys of wild camping.
Dwayne grew up in Jamaica with his great-grandmother and lived a carefree life spent entirely outdoors as his house had no electricity. At the age of 6 he moved to London to live with his mother and he struggled to fit in. At school he was asked to draw his favourite TV character – but he had never seen TV! Fortunately he was placed at school next to a boy who became his friend and who one night was taken to Cubs by the boy’s mother while she was looking after Dwayne. The Cub leader refused to let Dwayne sit and watch so he joined in and from that point on Scouting changed his life. In a more dramatic twist, Dwayne recalls the moment he was shot at twice by a gang member in a dispute over a bike. It made Dwayne realise that he should spend less time conforming and more time pursuing his dreams. In 2010 Dwayne set himself his first of many challenges, becoming the first black Briton to walk over 400 miles to the magnetic North Pole.
Phoebe and Dwayne described their journey since leaving Dunnet Head on 18 November and the kindness and interesting experiences they have encountered on the way. They are now a third of the way into their journey which ends at Lizard Point on 1 January 2020.
Dwayne was keen to quiz each Explorer on their favourite badges and what they did to achieve them. He also wanted to know what expedition each Explorer is planning. Perhaps hearing about this amazing expedition will persuade those Explorers who attended to go on an amazing expedition of their own in the near future. As Dwayne and Phoebe themselves explained, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams!