Apex Weekend Challenge - Harewood House 2015

Pooh And The Crew finished 33rd.

The Manc Rangers finished 16th. 

With vast open lakes, mysterious derelict castles and dense foreboding woodland, the Harewood Estate proved an incredible setting for this Autumn's Apex Challenge. And with so many equally impressive activities taking place right through the weekend, it was no wonder there was such an amazing atmosphere amongst the 400 young adventurers taking part.

The historic grounds were quickly filling up on Friday night as teams arrived from right across the UK. After passing through the huge Apex gateway, tents were being pitched, maps studied and tactical plans hatched as the 100 teams prepared for the weekend ahead. The sounds of team names were echoing around the estate as our sound system personally welcomed each team as they signed in. Supper was already being served from the Apex Café as the first event briefing drew nearer.

With lights, fireworks and a stomach-busting soundtrack the first presentation got underway. With more than 500 people packing into the marquee, the format of the weekend's activities was explained. But there was no time to contemplate what lay ahead as the events started right away.

Teams were soon racing over the huge inflatable assault course as they started their 60-minute 'Apex Intense' event – a sprint version of what was to come. But as teams scoured the moonlit grounds of Harewood House for Apex Points, an army of chasers were out to track them down and steal points back. Many teams managed to return while evading capture, but other weren't so lucky. As the early hours drew in, teams were getting to their tents to grab what sleep they could before the main event.

As Saturday dawned, the activity teams were out in force, building ropes courses, delivering sledges and launching canoes. Back at Event Centre, teams were putting the finishing touches to their event strategies, and then one-by-one they set off.

With six hours ahead of them they started their Apex adventure. From archery to rifle shooting, caving to canoeing, there were 14 tough activities to complete. But it wasn't just about the physical, they found their skills, teamwork and mental agility were being tested just as much as their athletic strength.

Navigation was proving difficult as teams plotted their own routes around the vast estate. All they time, they were picking up extra credits as they downloaded points onto their electronic tags.

Then there was the infamous parrot. Dozens of teams managed to track the wild bird down, getting an impressive 75 points for each capture. Some even managed the elusive 'double parrot'!

As teams started returning, the results programme was swinging into action. Competitors returned over the inflatable obstacle course to be instantly greeted with an animated map of the route and an ever-evolving leaderboard on the screen.

It was clear many were feeling the strain after six hours of intense activities, but there was no time to rest. Straight after tea, the results so far were revealed – and then it was time for Saturday Night Live – live music and a renowned DJ to take the event well into Saturday night. The music was fantastic and the atmosphere impressive as 400 adventurers partied through the night. It was a fun but exhausting end to an exhausting day, and it was little wonder the campsite was much quieter on this second night.

Then on Sunday it was the finale, time for the Apex Adventure Race – a brand new 5K route packed with obstacles for teams to complete. After an energetic mass warm-up the first teams were setting off – 20 at a time – to take on the toughest Apex course ever.

More than 12 obstacles packed the route including scramble nets, the mangle, walls, grovels, climbs and an impressive water splash. As teams made their way across rivers, down tracks, and through undergrowth the spirit and enthusiasm was clear to see. This was as tough as adventure events get, yet the Apex spirit shone through as every team completed the challenge.

Then it was time to relax before the crowds headed back into the marquee for the results. With cheers and smiles, everyone discovered how they had done and every team found out how their performance had compared to everyone else's. Prizes were given out, and tactics compared before each team left with their own personalised results pack.

As the camping field cleared and everyone started heading back to their own part of the UK, it was clear the Apex Challenge team had done it again. It has been another incredible event with the sort of atmosphere you can only get at the Apex Challenge. Now, let's do it all again next year!

(Sourced from here)

'My favourite part of the apex challenge was the night time, shorter, challenge. What made it fun was the thick fog which surrounded us in the middle if the field, then the fact that chasers were somewhere within it! Also, every two seconds we seemed to think chasers were in front of us, that got our hearts racing.' 

- Sam Burnett

Apex Overnight Challenge - Bramham Park 2015


On April 18-19th 2 teams of 4 Explorer Scouts travelled to Branham Park outside Leeds, to take part in the Apex Overnight Challenge, this is the shorter of the two Apex events this year.  We were led to believe that this was a different type of scouting experience.

We arrived sometime after 4pm and set-up our tents, then headed off to register this was the first clue that the event was different from the usual Scout activities as we registered on tablets on the wireless network, accompanied by the team names being announced over the loud speaker towers, that the event organisers had erected. The Explorer leaders that organised the event allowed all sorts of team names, and we played up to that, so I can only really write in one of the Team names in this report and that was Chick, Chick, Chick, Spud, the other team name can be found on the Apex website. Once all 105 teams had registered and we had all grabbed some chips from the chip van, all 420 participants crammed into the event marquee for the event briefing.

We were told at the briefing that the aim was to collect as many Apex points as possible in 6 hours.  The points could be gained tagging in at the various checkpoints scattered around the park, but the ones worth the most points were the ones with activities at them, whilst avoiding the chasers who could catch you and take points off you.  So far this sounded like a cross between an incident hike and an orienteering exercise.

The teams were set off one by one, but the start line was an inflatable obstacle course. After getting over the obstacle course, we set off trying to get as many points as possible. 

One of the more unusual bases was artificial cave that was built in a converted bus, which we had to crawl through to find the electronic tag to get the points.

Other activities included an active twist on the farmer, seeds, chicken and fox puzzle. Where the team member nominated as the farmer had to carry transport the other items, which where the remaining team members, around an obstacle course in a wheelbarrow.  Another enjoyable activity was grass sledging down a hill whilst trying to pop balloons with a stick. We also had other fun activities such as canoeing on a lake, a high rope course where one team member completed the route but the rest of us had the safety line.  Then there was the energy sapping activities, such as the one where we had to pass glow sticks between the team whilst we spread out and attached to bungee ropes that kept pulling us back. Finally there were the messy bases such as having to fill up a drainpipe with water that had holes in it so we all got soaked.

The bases could be attempted in any order, during the 6 hours and there were small value check points that we could get to pick up additional points.  An added complication to the activity is that there were a number of chasers out and about on the night that would chase you and take points from the team if they managed to catch us; unusually these leaders actually ran after us.

We had to get back to the start within the 6 hours, which was back over the inflatable obstacles course, one of the teams only just made it with 6 seconds to spare. Our scores instantly flashed up when we checked back in, both teams realised that they probably hadn’t won, as the some of the other teams had ran the whole course and were posting some impressive scores.  We were too knackered to remain standing much longer so we headed back to the tents to get some sleep.

After getting up and grabbing the breakfast provided, we trooped into the presentation tent to hear the results for the event, and a few photos of everyone that took part.  It was no surprise that we didn’t win, we didn’t expect to given that we hadn’t taken part in an event like this before.  Team Chick, Chick, Chick, Spud finished best of the two teams in 51st place, and we finished in 87th. Whilst my team were disappointed with finishing in 87th I’m not that surprised as one member of the team was ill over the weekend and had to drop out and visit the first aid tent after 3 hours of competing.

I’d like to say thank you to the Apex organisers as they did a fantastic job setting up and running the event over the weekend, we loved it. I’m definitely entering the next one in October, and next time we will be in fancy dress like many of the teams.

All eight of us in our two obligatory  teams.

 “Apex was cool. We were face with demanding activities such as crawling through cold and dark spaces, negotiating heights on wobbling ropes and having to deal with freezing water. Nevertheless, it was great fun and we’re definitely going to do it again”                      

- Kat Wójcik