High Adventure

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!

Pioneers!

Back in March Raptor Troop spent a weekend at Tolmers scout camp in Hertfordshire for a couple of days of engineering!

Having been newly trained in how to create all kinds of contraptions from logs and ropes the scouts set about building everything from a newly fitted kitchen to giant catapults and culminating in the bridging of Cuffley Brook. Opinions may vary as to exactly how successful that was…..

In between the building of contraptions the scouts also got to have a go at branding (with at least one patrol leader looking menacingly at her patrol!) and tracking the local badger population.

With spring now upon us there should be plenty more camp to come…..

Kicking off the year

What better way to blow off the after Christmas cobwebs than to get straight out there and head to camp? So without further ado scouts from Raptor and Wildcat troop headed to Gilwell Park in Epping Forest with 3000 others to take part in a weekend that included rock climbing, tank driving, falling from great heights and lots and lots of mud…… Continue reading

Clip and Climb

When a new climbing center opens in town it seemed almost rude not to go along and give it a try! A lot of weird and wonderful climbing and a lot of fun 🙂

We’re recruiting!

We’re growing! After the success of opening our second scout troop last year we now want to open a second Cub Pack and Beaver Colony as well as reinforce our current sections. And our scouts have a bit of a message for anyone who might be interested…..

If you have a few hours a week to spare and would like to spend it with most awesome bunch of kids on the planet then please get in touch. We’re waiting to hear from YOU!

Boot Camp!

Earlier this year we waved a sad goodbye to a small army of scouts who headed off to Explorers, in September we gave a warm welcome to their replacements, our new recruits, all 11 of them! With that number of new recruits it was a time to run a camp to learn the ropes, planned as far as possible by the scouts themselves. From the tents used to the patrol menus to the program, the decisions rested with the scouts and so on an autumnal Friday evening 28 scouts arrived at Eaton Vale  with it being their first camp for no less than half of them and indeed the first camp for one our leaders!

 

The weekend was pretty busy featuring everything from dizzying heights of Jacobs Ladder through to learning how to safely weald axes and basic first aid. Getting soggy in kayaks to cooking everything themselves. Below we’ve got the best of the photos, mostly taken by the prolific Richard and Jess. Enjoy!

A week in the woods

This year for summer camp scouts from both Raptor and Wildcat troops spent a week in the woods in Sussex for summer camp. Broadstone Warren is the country’s largest scout campsite, set in the middle of Ashdown Forest and close to the home of Winnie The Poo.

Day 1 saw the troop terrorise the public transport system on route to Sussex before setting themselves up in a woodland clearing at Broadstone

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Day 2 and things started to get properly fun! First with the construction of bivouacs for the following night and then, in a challenge set by our Canadian friends, building cardboard canoes for sailing along side rafts that afternoon.

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The quality of the rafts was….er….. variable…. sparking rumors that it may have descended into an impromptu swimming session. Something we hotly deny 🙂

Day 3 and it got a little bit white knuckle as we hit the high ropes before assisting the site staff in the afternoon keep the rhododendrons under control. Broadstone is a site of Special Scientific Interest due to its incredible biodiversity. The rhododendrons are an invasive species, preventing the growth of native species of trees and shrubs.

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Day 4…. dawned wet and soggy. A perfect day to head for the coast! In true British fashion the scouts braved the weather to take in the Sea Life centre, consume vast quantities of fish and chips and of course lose all their money on the pier. What more would you want from the seaside?

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Day 5… Back to site activities in the morning as the scouts learned to walk on water and shoot like Robin Hood. Afternoon saw them split into those earning their meteorology badge and those geocaching.

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Day 6….. and we left site again. This time to hike around the local area and of course find Poo Sticks Bridge! And there fierce competition broke out as the scouts stripped the local area of every twig they could find. The return leg of the hike saw the return of some er…. weather! And it all got a little bit soggy….

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Day 7….. and after a night sleeping under the stars it was time to go home! Once again the public transport system was invaded prompting a couple of passengers on a bus to move due to the smell of camp fire coming off everyone!

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A  massive well done to all the scouts and explorer who went, AK, Alex P, Will, Jonnie, Biba, Izzy, Eleanor H, Eleanor V, Ebba, Teilo, Adam, Dan, Alex B, Jamie, Rosie, Jenny, Harry, Lucas and Kitty. And inparticular Ebba, our scout of the camp for 100% enthusiasm for absolutely everything 🙂

We have taken hundreds of photos of the camp and you can find them all here. The Summer Camp Diaries movie is now in production. Watch this space!

Up up and away

With spring having sprung and the weather getting better what better time to do something a bit different and learn to fly? And so 18 intrepid scouts made for Gransden Lodge Airfield where the were introduced to the principles of flight, took to the air and got to take control of a motorised glider.

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Some scouts had a few nerves, some looked a little “green around the gills” after landing but all had their first taste of being a pilot with a few making noises about a new career as pilots…..

Diary from Down Under

Back in January Raptor troop waved a sad goodbye to Rebecka, one of our scouts who emigrated with her family to New Zealand. Scouting though is international and very much thriving in New Zealand so it wasn’t long before she was signed up with a new troop “down under”. Her mum (former group treasurer!) wrote to us with an update on their adventures……..

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Dear all at 12th Cambridge

I just thought I would give you an update on what Rebekah has been doing Scouting wise since arriving in NZ!

Tonight (15 March) she was invested into the Brooklyn 1909 Scout Troup. She was made an Assistant Patrol Leader (for Patrol Four) and given a new scarf (or necker in UK parlance!). The scarf is green with a gold band at the edge.

In addition she was awarded the ‘Bronze Badge’. This was given to her in recognition of all the things that she has done in the UK and since arriving in NZ. All new scouts work thorough the bronze, silver and gold badges.

Also tonight one of the Scouts was awarded his gold badge which is the highest award in Scouts (last year only 6 were awarded in the Wellington district, so this is quite an achievement). Lots of badges were given out and about 6 other scouts were invested.

The Brooklyn troop is one of the oldest in NZ (with Scouting starting in 1908!).

The Brooklyn Troop is very active and is very busy fundraising as this is a Jamboree year for New Zealand. It is being held near Blenheim at the top of the South Island. The aim is to send 24 Scouts and to raise 80% of the cost for each scout. This means that every scout going has to be involved in fundraising. Each scout has to ‘do’ a minimum of 20 hours; the Scout family also has to contribute 20 hours and together work a total of at least 60 hours.

To this end Rebekah and I ‘worked’ at the Edinburgh Tattoo which was held at the WestPac stadium (known as the Cake Tin! on account of its shape). We saw most of the show (which was a bonus). This is only the 6th time the Tattoo has been held outside Scotland. The Brooklyn scouts were involved in running a bar – this means the adults deal with the money and actually serving customers (the scouts pour the drinks and pass them to the till operators).

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Last week she went kayaking on Wellington harbour and this weekend she is on a camp (for about 300 Scouts and Venturers – near Hastings and it is a huge Battle of the Flag). All scouts attending the jamboree have to have 10 nights under canvas – as we know Rebekah has done this already (but it is important that she does this under NZ conditions!).

Please see attached photos.

They are two of the Tattoo (with the Castle built, traditional Maori performers) and two of the investiture.

Regards Catherine, Neil and Rebekah

Fantastic to see her UK necker still in use 🙂