Rowing across the Indian Ocean

Adventurer James Ketchell and Scout Leader Ash Wilson, who suffers from Epilepsy, are aiming to break the record for rowing across the Indian Ocean.

They came to the Docklands to launch their boat for the very first time - I joined them in their boat for The Scout Association.

To give a sense of the challenge ahead of them - More people have been in space than have rowed across the Indian Ocean! Coupled with that, Ash's Epilepsy provides additional problems, worries and training needs for the pair.

The world record for a two-man crew to row across is 80 days, and 'the journey alone is the real achievement and goal, but if we can do it and get the record, that would be something amazing'.

The pair hope to inspire young people around the world that no matter what disability or challenges they face in life, nothing's impossible.


Essex International Jamboree

Every Summer, I spend a week taking pictures or video at one of the vast Scout and Guide Jamborees held around the UK. This summer's turn was Essex, so tent in hand, and with the usual assortment of mountains of equipment, I made my way down to a field that would, for that week, become the largest village in Essex - with around ten thousand people calling it home for a week.

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I was leading a team of photographers, so unfortunately didn't have all the time in the world to actually go out during the day and take pictures, which got to me after a few days of arguing with a dodgy fileserver!   

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I've always struggled at these events to get a real sense of scale, to show the vast amount of people. To try this, during the opening ceremony, I jumped up on stage, centre of attention, for a few seconds, to get a panorama-worth of photos of the entire crowd. 11 shots with my 36 megapixel Nikon D800 later, and setting my laptop on fire in the process, and a 100 megapixel final image shows (almost!) the whole crowd, in a zoomable panorama. I'd almost forgotten about it, but one of my remote cameras also caught me taking the picture:

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So the Scouts and Guides all got busy with a week of pretty much every activity under the sun, from kayaking to 'it's a knockout', which involves a rotation of bases with silly challenges where you get as wet as possible, and get points apparently arbitrarily  Or something like that.  Scout Chief Commissioner Wayne Bulpitt kindly joined us for some of the drier activities:

 

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Discos, bands and a talent show provided the evening entertainment, with an, um, assortment of acts... 

 

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It wouldn't be a Scout disco without YMCA...

It wouldn't be a Scout disco without YMCA...

I did nip up in a cramped Cessna to get some aerial pictures too, always fun, and everyone liked trying to find their tent...

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Gratuitous Selfie.

Gratuitous Selfie.

And of course, as quickly as it began, with a lot more tired young people with a lot of new friends from all over the world, the whole thing drew to a close, and we all went home for a decent shower... 

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