“We were sailing, we were sailing, home again, ‘cross the sea” (apologies to Rod Stewart!)
Assembling early morning for a briefing and issuing of waterproofs & life-jackets, 20 scouts and leaders headed out from Ipswich Haven on a pair of 49-foot Oyster yachts. Passing through the lock, they were soon under the Orwell Bridge and powering down the river towards the North Sea at 6 to 7 knots. The crews were put through their paces by the skippers, raising & lowering sail, helming and sail-trimming.
Lunch, cooked by the scouts in the galley below decks, was served in shifts whilst underway. As the boats steered home towards Shotley Point Marina, there was still time for some play – hanging from the halyards over the water always puts smiles on faces!
Sunday saw a fresh pair of crews arrive at Shotley. Perfect sailing conditions were provided – plenty of sunshine and a Force 3-4 breeze. Locking out from the marina, the scouts got their first taste of freedom, with a fast sail up and down the River Stour. A little later, they ventured out past Harwich and the cranes of Felixstowe docks, where the open sea provided slightly bumpier water.
Returning to the Orwell and heading for home, the boats found themselves in a photo-shoot (the strange chap taking photos from another boat turned out to be the GSL’s father). The appearance of the Orwell Bridge signalled the approach of Ipswich and the end of the voyage.
A huge thank you to the skippers and mates of Adventures Offshore for this fantastic introduction to ‘big-boat’ sailing for our novice sea-farers!
Over Easter 5 of our intrepid scouts joined our neighbours in Hertfordshire Scouts for initial mountaineering course (IMC) at Lochearnhead Scout Station in the Scottish Highlands. Eight days of learning to take on some of the UK’s highest, most rugged and most beautiful terrain all based out of possibly the country’s most eccentric scout campsite, a disused railway station on the side of a mountain.
For 3 our scouts it was their first time on the course and indeed in terrain like this. For the other two it was a chance to repeat the course and build on what they learned last year. From the dramatic skyline of the Tarmachan ridge to the remote solitude of Inverlochlarig the scouts learned to navigate, camp and climb some of Scotland’s most spectacular mountains.
The week culminated in a 3 day, 2 night expedition, camping wild in the mountains, a far cry from many of the well kept campsites the scouts are used to on many of our camps.
Probably best to stop typing and let the photos do the talking……
Final note…. if you see any of our scouts wearing a red and green tartan necker, that is the necker of the Nicholson clan and can be worn by any scout who has stayed at Lochearnhead. Worn with pride by all our scouts who have completed the course 🙂
As a real final note…. as well as our 5 scouts on the course we have two of our young leader explorer scouts there for the week who volunteered to join all the other staff to cook meals, clean toilets, fix things and all the other glamorous jobs that keep events like this happening. A thank you to them and of course all the instructors, staff, organisers and everyone else at Hertfordshire Scouts for having our contingent as their guests for the week!