Kohoutek returns!


Wednesday 29th of March 2017

In December 1973, a comet flew across the night sky, capturing the imagination of the public at large. Comet Kohoutek was a sight so wonderful, that it inspired an enthusiastic group of students at the University Bristol Scouts and Guides Society to launch a competition. Kohoutek was organised for the Scouts and Guides across Avon, and consisted of a series of challenges that each team must complete. The competition ran for over 30 years, until ending in 2006. With the recent revivals of Bristol and UWE SSAGOs, the two clubs banded together to restore to the competition to its former glory.

In October, a committee was assembled, with representatives from the two societies, and the Scouting and Guiding counties. The team set aside their degrees for 6 months, and with the help of student volunteers, they planned out a day-long competition of competitions. Since it was the first run of a revival, there was an initial plan to keep the event relatively small scale, however on the day, there were 200 young people, as well as a further 50 volunteers running the bases.

Fast forwarding to Saturday morning, at 9am the first participants started to arrive, and the day began! The teams scattered around the field before their initial briefing, to undertake a challenging quiz, based on the theme of Kohoutek: space. At 10 o’clock, the competition began in earnest, as the teams of Guides and Scouts were sent to their starting bases around Woodhouse Park, our host for the day. The teams were as given a “pilot” (an egg), who they had to look after throughout the day, not breaking it, and making sure it didn’t get stolen by members of another team, who would then gain bonus points. Throughout the day, pilots were captured, “hospitalised” and generally encouraged the spirit of competition between the teams (and some mischievous base runners).

There were 20 bases in total, including classic Scouting and Guiding activities such as a sisal trail in the woods, both a spaghetti tower and a spaghetti Martian building competition along with firing catapults the furthest. There were also a multitude of space-themed competitions, from moving the Moon and dodging comets, to human spaceships and blind spacesheep.

Special mention goes to “Lift-Off”, an activity in which the participants had to rescue a ping-pong ball from a leaking pipe, and Space-Suit, in which a space suit is required, to protect an unwitting Scout/Guide from the barrage of comets. Comets made of flour. The special mention is not just reserved for the two messiest activities, however. Special mention is deserved for the coincidental genius of having these bases next to each other, such that soggy participants would then be caked in a floury paste, much to everybody’s schadenfreude.

Once everybody had finished their activities, there was only one way to end such a great day. The whole site descended on the campfire circle, where there was a fire ready and waiting. Everybody took part in singing along to the campfire songs, until the organisers-inchief came down to announce the scores.

The University of Bristol Guides and Scouts & the Scouts and Guides at UWE would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped out on the day, both the organisers John, Matt and Shona, and the representatives from Guiding and Scouting, who helped out on and leading up to the day. We hope everybody had a great time, and look forward to seeing more of you next year!

The Scores

RankGroupTeam CodeScore
11st Portishead GuidesG311080
223rd Bath ScoutsS061015
31st Backwell ScoutsS191005
426th Bristol Scouts - TuesdaysS05990
540th Bristol GuidesG34980
61st Stoke Gifford GuidesG17955
71st Bradley Stoke GuidesG04950
840th Bristol GuidesG22925
8Knowle West ScoutsG50925
1077th Bristol ScoutsS11920
1193rd (St Albans) Bristol GuidesG21915
121st Worle GuidesG29885
1256th St Werburghs Guides G41885
142nd Portishead ScoutsS07880
15256th Christ Church ScoutsS16865
162nd Thornbury GuidesG07860
172nd Filton GuidesG01830
181st Blagdon ScoutsS09810
1928th Bathampton ScoutsS29800
201st Backwell Scouts S27785
214th Worle GuidesG25775
2126th Bristol Scouts - TuesdaysS32775
231st Stoke Gifford ScoutsS22755
24256th Christ Church ScoutsS01730
2513th All Saints ScoutsG11725
2640th Bristol GuidesG19720
272nd Thornbury ScoutsS03705
281st Frampton Cotterell ScoutsS14695
291st Wick Guides G23680
301st Frampton Cotterell ScoutsS08665
311st Hawkesbury Upton GuidesG36590
3126th Bristol Scouts - TuesdaysS25590
33183rd Bristol GuidesG03585
342nd Winterbourne Down GuidesG42565
34Long Ashton ScoutsS17565
361st Wrington GuideG28555
372nd Winterbourne Down GuidesG10550
384th Yate GuidesG18535
392nd Frampton Cotterell ScoutsS10525
402nd Frampton Cotterell ScoutsS15515
4129th Kingswood / 2nd Hanham ScoutsS02500
4240th Bristol GuidesG06480
4318th St John's GuidesG20465
4424th Kingswood Warmley GuidesG16455
45Cleeve Claverham and Yatton ScoutsS28445
4626th Bristol Scouts - TuesdaysS31395
471st East Harptree GuideG30330
482nd Filton Guides / 3rd Wallscourt Farm ScoutsG40295

* Photo credit: From the University of Bristol Special Collections: DM1815/5/7-8, Scout and Guide Archives