Rangers on a Killer Trail in London

>>  Saturday, August 27, 2022

My last batch of Rangers are now all about to go to university, I'd been saying for a long time I would take them to London to get some experience of the transport systems and just to give them a confidence boost.

Covid and life got in the way, so we were up to our final possible date we could all make it and the weather annouced 35C.  I really wondered how sensible travelling would be and reconsidered my risk assessment a number of times, if these girls had been younger I would have cancelled but they are old enough and few enough that we could be very flexible with the plans.  

I had asked a couple of my now ex rangers that live and work around London what they thought might be good and cheap, these girls had done the monopoly challenge with me years ago. They recommended a 'killer trail'.  

So armed with laminated cards, a heavy duty sun umbrella, more water than I felt happy carrying and the refill app off we went.  It was interesting that I was the only person I saw using an umbrella for sunshade - the one I use now is a silver reflective vented one. It's fantastic and created shade for the whole group at the right angle. 

Luck was on our side, the long hot summer meant a track fire which had upset all the trains, initially it was a worry we would be able to get there at all but our planned train started at our town rather than the big stations further up line so we got onto an on-time empty train and had a 'converted to standard' first class carriage - we played cards all the air conditioned way in.
The tube was hot, but most people had decided to stay away I think and it was quieter than usual even at peak times.

We did walked our way around the WestEnd killertrail (murdermystery type tour/quiz). I recommend them as a cheap way to fill a 3 hours. 

You are looking for clues on streets, statues etc to help you solve a mystery.

It's not particularly hard but it is a better focus than just walking around,

We stopped many times, just sitting in a shady area, we took advantage of different places to refill water bottles some were happy to do so, some took a little buttering up, but a uniform and a necker can take you a long way and with a lot of neck I even managed to get Greggs to fill our water bottles whilst we were stood next to a fridge of bottles selling water!

We did also buy water on the south bank but also got Pret to turn on the refill tap so we could do a double top up, buy & fill. 

An ice-cream stop sat on the steps near the Duke of York statue lasted nearly an hour, just cooling, chilling, chatting, they even starting to sing some camp songs and tourist took photos of us!! That is the beauty of an itinary with no time pressures at all and the flexibility of rangers in small groups.  

I’m pleased with how I led them,  which was my usual style of from behind. I let them get off at the wrong tube station, work that out, all get back on and have another go, gives them confidence to know it doesn’t matter. Showed them that it’s normal to have 300+ people waiting for platform information before the barrier opens and those pushing through don’t know something you don’t! How to get water bottle refills without buying it! And how to manage ‘broken’ tickets (after one Ranger kept her ticket in her phone case). It was interesting watching what worried different girls at different times.

I was a little worried about taking them on my own, I normally like to have a second leader around to bounce off.  But actually it was a boost to my confidence in my leader skills too. Leading from behind is sometimes very swan like, you look calm and all knowing whilst your mind is constantly doing overtime! 

We did the trail, we had a bit of fun in M&M world, we had a wander to Horseguards and Downing Street, passed Westminster, a sit on the Southbank soaking up the buskers and summer atmosphere.

Before heading  home in a non-airconditioned train. Which was an opportunity to show them how long a bottle of frozen water can stay frozen in an isulated cover, how putting it on the back of your neck is an instant cooler - we passed it around the group each having a go more than once!

Another grand day out.


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