A Lucan Guide Leader has reached the pinnacle of Guiding by hiking 180km through Belgium in 10 days while carrying camping and cooking equipment, clothes, food, water, and surviving on just €3.25 a day.
Sarah Kenny (23), a dietitian in St James’s Hospital and a volunteer Leader with Tir na nOg Guides in Lucan, and her team-mate Sarah Canavan (22), were among 12 Irish Girl Guides members to take on the Explorer Belt challenge.
Held every three or four years, the challenge tests the skills young women have learned through their involvement in Guiding.
The two Sarahs also kept a log book and successfully completed a series of projects during their 10-day survival adventure in the Westhoek region.
The projects involved finding out about the local culture, history and geography (without using a smartphone) and doing a service for the local community.
Their route took in many of the Flanders Fields historical battle sites, as well as towns and countryside, and a day at the seaside.
“Overall, it was a great experience,” Sarah Kenny told Dublin Gazette. “There were many challenges and long days, but the people we met along the way were so lovely and so kind.
“One of the highlights was our first indoor night when we didn’t have to put up our tent and our lovely hosts made us dinner.
“Another was finding the most delicious ice-cream after a long day walking. Some days were hard, but I think we were both a bit too stubborn to give up!
“The biggest highlight was definitely getting on the bus at the end and collecting all the other teams and hearing their stories.
“Receiving the Explorer Belt, following the assessment interviews, was such a great feeling.”
She added: “We were extremely nervous beforehand, and had convinced ourselves we weren’t going to get it!”