Beginnings

From 1968, Hertfordshire Scout Patrols competed annually in
various ways, in what became known as "The Great Patrol Hunt".


In 1972, Guide Patrols were admitted to the competitions, and 136 of them entered the first challenge. However, in May 1975, the Blue Tit Patrol of 1st Elstree Guides became the champions of GPH ’75, prompting the following decision: "Now that Headquarters have decided to follow Hertfordshire yet again by copying our GPH project, the Scout Section Subcommittee decided that this would be our last GPH year. Response from Scouts has been falling off, though more Guides are joining in. We shall be introducing brand new patrol activity events both at district and County level for 1976, and we hope you will encourage all your patrols to join in. From overwhelming demand from the Guide County, there will be some form of GPH ’76, in which Scouts’ entries could hardly be refused." There were six challenges for GPH ’76, again won by the Blue-Tits of 1st Elstree, but for this year the competition was called "Get People Happy" to distinguish it from the Scout event. A few Scout Patrols did take part.

 

Revival

In 1989/90, Barbara Hurford revived the "Hunt" for both Scout and Guide Patrols, and Jill Hancock gave it a logo - above. The logo was redesigned in 2011 by Pauline Levy.

There were eight monthly challenges between September and April and a concluding overnight camp at Tolmers in June. It proved difficult to keep interest alive for such a sustained effort, and few Patrols completed the course, which was won by the Chaffinches of 6 Ware Guides. The Bulldogs from 2nd Hertford were the only Scouts at the final event.

The idea of a Great Patrol Hunt was, however, still popular among Guides and as a result of wide consultation a new format was introduced, which consisted of four separate day events during a year. In 1994, this was reduced to three events, but the final day has now stretched to a weekend.


In 1999, at the request of their County Commissioner, Scout Patrols were invited once more and the challenges adapted to include their interests, though only 11th Hitchin and latterly 3rd Waltham Cross have been regular competitors

The rules have also evolved over the years. Since 1989, due to so many older girls having Saturday jobs and Sunday commitments, GPH Patrols have not necessarily been regular weekly Patrols, and their names have become more like those of pop groups. (Winners have included The Warthogs and Mighty Maggots!) A Patrol must still follow B-P’s definition of 4-8 members, so that not more than eight may take part in the year, but a maximum number at any one event has been reduced to 6 for logistic reasons.


Activities are varied and sometimes cover the clauses of an interest badge or challenge, which is very popular. Conservation days have attracted large entries.

History