Offshore adventures


“We were sailing, we were sailing, home again, ‘cross the sea”  (apologies to Rod Stewart!)

Day 1

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!


Day 2

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!







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!


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 🙂

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!

Scouts scrub up for Canada fundraiser


Cambridge 12th scouts will be rolling up their sleeves this Saturday to wash as many cars as possible in a drive to raise funds to go to Canada in summer 2017 to meet up and spend time with the 12th Cambridge Canadian Scout troop.

15 scouts will have soapy sponges and chamois leathers at the ready at Chesterton Sports Centre in Cambridge in a bid to raise buckets of cash to help fund their adventure.

For fourteen days days they will all live together under canvas, stay with host families, and take part in a packed programme of activities.

This will be a fantastic experience for all concerned. But before then, all the scouts are really looking forward to seeing as many people as possible with their cars at Chesterton Sports Centre on Saturday.

The Car wash is kick starting their year of fundraising activities, including baking cakes to sell at local events and bag-packing at local stores, with other plans in the pipeline in the coming months.

The car wash will take place between 8.30am and 2.30pm at Chesterton Sports Centre car park on Gilbert Road, Cambridge this Saturday 24th November.

For each car wash, we suggest a minimum donation of £7. More appreciative donations are gladly accepted!

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


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!

(Not) Messing about on the river


Raptors Troop ventured in punts onto the Cam once again.  Graham had ‘had a word’ with the powers-that-be on this occasion, cancelling the side-order of torrential rain and lightning served up previously.

The scene was perfect – warm, calm as a millpond and blue sky.  The ‘mate’s rates’ from Scudamores meant that we had the punts for an hour and a half, more than enough to reach the ‘money-shot’ location near King’s College chapel.



All the scouts got the opportunity to wield poles and, ahem, navigate the mighty river.

On the subject of navigation, one punt (Izzie, you shan’t remain nameless!) received the order to stop and reverse a little.  Apparently, this was to enable the capture of a nearby-located Pokemon Go character.  It’s amazing what you can spot amongst Cambridge’s world-class architecture.

Somwhat disappointingly to the GSL (who had brought a towel and combat-stripped his wallet for the occasion), nobody fell in and waterfights failed to break out.  Parents may have had a different opinion. Maybe next time!