Our 2019 Summer Camp was held at one of our favourite sites on a greenfield site at Ardtalnaig on the south shore of Loch Tay. On the Thursday evening we packed the van with hundreds of pieces of kit including the kitchen sink. We travelled on the Saturday morning in a monsoon and feared that we would have a very wet week as that experienced in 2018. However, thankfully not long after we arrived, the rain ceased. The advance party had managed to do a great job putting up two marquees, two mess tents and numerous leader tents. The 32 Scouts, supported by the Young Leader team, put up the patrol stormhavens and dining shelters as the Leader Team prepared the rest of the camp.
On the Saturday night after, a communal dinner, we introduced our theme of “Famous Pioneers and Pioneering” and assigned Patrols to Neil Armstrong, Roald Amunsden, Christopher Columbus, Amelia Earhart and Edmund Hillary. We also introduced a Camp Challenge – 20 challenges to complete over the week. The Scouts spent the first evening learning about their famous Pioneers and drawing maps and making figurines to represent what they had achieved – the picture of Earhart’s plane was particularly impressive. We finished the first evening with hot chocolate and a camp fire on the beautiful shores of Loch Tay with excellent views of the Lawers mountains.
On Sunday, after the first breakfast cooked by the Scouts, we had our first patrol inspection (to set the camp standards) and then we had our Regatta Day on the Loch. A number of the Sea Scout Leaders arrived and facilitated an excellent day of raft building, kayaking, yachting and power boat riding. The weather was excellent and the Scouts honed their sea scout skills whilst having a fun time. Given the weather we changed our plans and brought forward our backwoods cooking and BBQ meal so we could continue to enjoy the sea scout activity into the evening. We concluded the night with some pioneering skills with the task of building a bridge with only balsa wood as preparation for the next day.
Scout Skills day took up most of Monday as the Scouts developed a range of new skills including axe and saw work, navigation using a very novel approach, tent skills, cooking butter and pioneering which involved building a life size bridge with pioneering poles. In the evening, the Young Leaders had prepared a widegame on the Pioneer Theme which went down very well with the Scouts.
On Tuesday we did Canyoning and Gorging with external leaders – all involved really enjoyed jumping into plunge pools, sliding down waterfalls and undertaking an exciting abseil. In the afternoon the Scouts helped build a monkey bridge with pulleys and ropes across the creek next to the camp. After another evening meal cooked by the Scouts, they were given a couple of hours to focus on their Camp Challenge – and the competitiveness was certainly on show,
On Wednesday the older Scouts were due to go on their overnight expedition but the weather forecast of severe thunder and lightning put paid to that so we hastily changed our plans and went to Aberfeldy where we went on a walk to the Birks of Aberfeldy, swam in the local swimming pool, played in the local park before heading back to the camp. We had fish and chips as a storm broke and drenched the camp once again. We improvised the evening entertainment with a “Cramond Scouts Got Talent” evening with lots of sketches, comedy routines and songs – some budding stars were found.
The weather forecast for later in the day/overnight Thursday was not much better with thunder and lightning forecast so the Leaders took the sensible decision to cancel the overnight expedition and undertake a day walk in the hills above the camp. The younger scouts went on a walk to the lower hills above Achran where we visited a Hermits Cave, had lunch at a historic Stone Circle before returning via the excellent Achran falls. In the evening the younger Scouts searched for “unlabelled” tins for their dinner – meatballs, hot dogs, tomato soup, peaches and prunes were the best find!! The older Scouts pitched their expedition tents at the far end of camp and cooked their own expedition meals. In the evening the Scouts painted their own faces on ping pong balls before racing them down the creek – we ensured none ran down into the loch.
We started to strike camp on Friday, taking the dining shelters down in dry weather. The Young Leaders then brought together a great “Olympics” with much competition to try to gain those points which would win the prizes.
In the evening, Karen, our camp cook, prepared a superb Pioneer Themed banquet meal of Columbus Melon Boat, Corn on the Cob with Earhart Bread & Butter, Hillary Mountain of mash, chicken and veg, followed by Amundsen Polar Cone and Armstrong space dust – 50 portions all made in the middle of a field!!! Our guest of honour was (Lady) Fiona Black with an unscheduled attendance by Lord Hector Black.