IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING THE 2020
Gradbach, Staffordshire. Thursday 28th May 2020:
As a Border Hike supporter we wanted to contact you with regards to the 2020 event which was scheduled for this coming September.
After considerable deliberation over the last few weeks we have made the difficult decision today to cancel this years event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which as you will be aware has seen a suspension of Scouting throughout the UK and Gradbach Scout Camp being closed since mid March.
It is disappointing to say the very least, on what should have been the events 40th Anniversary, but we feel that with all the supporting evidence we currently have available that it is the right thing to do for all concerned who would be involved in the weekend.
September may seem a long while off and circumstances surrounding Coronavirus may change in the interim, but the necessities of planning ahead, both for the hike itself and for attending groups (who may well not meet again before the event) would leave us with minimal time and the possibility of a late cancellation causing more disappointment for attending groups, than making the decision now.
Our primary concern when coming to our decision was social distancing. Unless social distancing was reduced completely it would render us running the event almost impossible, with the various scenarios from teams travelling to and from the event, camping (over 200 plus persons), our support staff accommodation and catering, teams walking as a group, incidents / checkpoints and transportation of retiring walkers, to name the most obvious problems we would encounter. Under the current situation we also had to acknowledge that we would be bringing a considerable number of people into a small rural community from towns and cities from all around the country when the possibilities are that there will still be some type of restrictions placed on us all for this kind of event. As you can imagine, as a scout campsite and the way that we operate we may yet be a long way off Gradbach reopening on a 'normal' basis, but lets hope we are wrong in that aspect !
Above everything else, as an organising committee we take very seriously our duty of care for both the competitors and our staff safety and we can't with any confidence ensure that we would be able to guarantee that under the current situation.
So sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I would encourage you to get out your diary and pencil in the 2021 dates, 24th-26th September, and we will have a second go at celebrating the 40th Border Hike next year.
Until then please stay safe, look after those around you and we look forward to welcoming you all back to Gradbach Scout Camp as soon as we can.
Tony Rushworth (Hike Controller / Secretary)