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Kandersteg Expedition 2011 – text of the message sent to all members in April 2011

Dear Scout and parents

This is the latest of the newsletters that we intend to send before
the expedition. It is intended to keep you up to date with the
expedition and to answer questions which may arise from time to

Expedition Payments

The instalment of £200 was due on 31st March. If you have not paid
this yet, please can you do so as soon as possible. We will need the
final payment of £250
by 31st July at the
latest. All final payments must be banked by 5th August
to allow for the final payments to be made to the centre.


Everybody will require their own individual passport, which is valid
throughout the period of the expedition, as we have said before. To
help with our contingency plans, we would like two GOOD photocopies
of your passport (the page with the photograph and the numbers) by
the end of May, please. (This includes the leaders!). We will
require your real passport shortly before we leave in August.


Everybody on the expedition will also require their own European
Health Insurance Card, which replaced the old E111 form in 2004 –
they are valid for health coverage in Switzerland as well as the
European Union. They are issued individually (and can be renewed
individually). They are available free from the NHS – visit  to apply
if you haven’t already got one. Please note that they expire –
please check that yours hasn’t expired (I checked as I was typing
this message and found that mine expired in 2008, despite going to
Europe since then!!!
). Again, please can we have a contingency
photocopy by the end of May, and the real one with your passport in


Kandersteg is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. During the
expedition, patrols will be doing activities on their own, from time
to time, both as part of our programme or with other Scouts staying
at Kandersteg. We strongly recommend that you learn some German
before you get to Switzerland, so that you can communicate with the
locals. After all, it would be a pity if you didn’t know how to ask
for an ice-cream! Based on Scouts on camp at Kandersteg during
previous expeditions there, knowing any French, Italian or
Portuguese may also be handy.


The outline programme (and much of the detailed programme) has now
been finalised. It is a little too large to be put in this
newsletter, so the outline programme has been put on the 1st
Finchampstead web site at
If you would like to see the more detailed programme, so that you
know what you are doing, with whom, and when, please ask Tim –
however this may still change, so we will publish the full programme
to everyone later in the summer term.

Pocket money

Obviously, you will want some spending money for yourself while you
are away. As Switzerland is more expensive than Britain, and as we
are away for longer, we are suggesting the amount of pocket money
will be a little more than normal Summer Camps. We would recommend
that the amount of pocket money is between £30 and £50 (no more).
We’ll let you know about the arrangements for pocket money soon.

While in Switzerland

It is important to remember that we are going to an International
Scout Centre in Kandersteg, not just to an activity centre. Some of
the time while we are there we will be spending around the
camp-site, and this is your opportunity to get to know Scouts from
many other countries. Scouting is a world-wide movement, and many
Scouts are justifiably proud of their countries, their uniforms and
their heritage. Make some time to find out more about Scouting in
other countries and to find how it differs from our own experiences.
You will also find that many Scouts like to collect badges from
other Scouts, to put onto camp blankets or just as a memory of times
spent together. If you would like to swap badges with other Scouts,
you will need to buy some of our badges well before we leave, so
that you have something to swap – it’s a bit late to ask once we get
there, so please order early (like now!).

Report Back

It may seem somewhat early to think about a report, but we be will
having our traditional report back after the expedition. Whilst we
are there, you may like to consciously take photographs for the
report-back and find out about something you would like to present.
This could be part of work towards the Entertainer, Hill-Walker or
Climber badges or you might like to think of completing the
International Award, or the Expedition Challenge.


A number of Scouts have been asking exactly what equipment they will
need to take to Switzerland. Obviously, we intend to send a detailed
equipment guide before we leave, but this section is intended to be
a guide to some of the things that you will probably need and
carries on from the explanations at Troop Meeting last term.

The main limit on what you can take are the restrictions on luggage
that you can get on a plane. We are travelling on an Easyjet flight
and you are allowed to take up to 20 kilograms of luggage that can
go in the hold and up to 5 kilograms of hand luggage (see Easyjet’s
web site for the current size that this can be). These are actually
quite a lot, BUT, when you get to Switzerland you have to carry your
own luggage around until you get to Kandersteg, so if you take the
full amount, you are going to be very, very overloaded. I would
suggest packing as lightly as possible, whilst making sure that you
have everything that you need. Note that the track to the Tower is
rutted and bags with lightweight wheels may not survive.

Sleeping bag: You may need a sleeping bag in Switzerland.
While we are staying indoors in a chalet, only some bedding is
provided – you might like to bring a sheet sleeping bag for use in
the Tower. Those of you who will be staying overnight in other
places during the expedition will need to carry a proper sleeping
bag with you. Make sure that you can pack your sleeping bag in your
hold luggage! Scouts that may need this are those of you going on
the Beginner’s Climbing, the Three Valleys Hike and the Glacier

Boots: At some time during the expedition, everyone will be
going on shorter or longer hikes and expeditions in the Swiss Alps,
either as part of their activities, or part of the sight-seeing.
Please make sure that you have boots that fit and are broken-in
before you get to Kandersteg. You have to get them there somehow as
well (wearing boots on a plane is not very comfortable but reduces the weight in your bag)!

Day-sack: You will need to have a day-sack that you can carry
everything you will need for a day’s expedition. Certain activities
involve an overnight stay elsewhere as well (see Sleeping Bags
above). You will need to have a day-sack big enough for your
activities, but if it is to carry such things as your sleeping-bag,
it may be too big to be used as hand luggage, so you will have to
get it there as part of your hold luggage – please make sure you
can. If you are using your day-sack as hand baggage on the
flight there, please make sure it complies with the Easyjet size

Waterproofs: We will be a long way south of Britain, and when
the sun shines, it will be scorching hot. However, we are still in
the mountains and bad weather, including drizzle and downpours, is
not unknown [this is Tim’s language that says he will arrange at
least one rainy day!
] If your chosen activities take you high
into the mountains, a snowstorm is not impossible. You will need
waterproofs that can withstand the weather.

Sun protection: When the sun shines it will be very hot and,
if you are high in the mountains, the UV rays can be fierce. Please
make sure you bring good sunglasses, a sun-hat and enough sun-cream.

Equipment List:
We hope to issue a full equipment list for the expedition in about a
month’s time. If you wish to discuss any equipment that you may be
thinking about, please feel free to do so. We arranged a troop
meeting where we discussed equipment last term, but please ask us if
you would like more advice on new equipment

Please ask if you have any questions about the expedition. Both
Chris Ramsay and myself expect to be at the Party in the Park on