Celebrating Bonaly Scout Centre Chalet Reopening on the 50th anniversary

Celebrating Bonaly Scout Centre Chalet Reopening on the 50th anniversary

PLUS: Presentation of three 40 years service awards


Reopening of the Bonaly Scout Centre Chalet:

On Sunday 24th October around 50 of the Bonaly Active Support Unit (ASU) and staff gathered along with friends to celebrate the reopening of the newly refurbished Chalet on its 50th birthday.

All the bedrooms in the chalet have now been refurbished thanks to the £23,000 raised by the Bonaly ASU. This means we now have modern looking accommodation with new bunks, and sinks ready to welcome visitors.

Below are a few photos (L-R). During refurbishment and after.

Watch this short video featuring some more photographs from the event:

 

Good Service Presentations: 

Regional Commissioner, Martin Elliot, presented three 40-year service awards to Regional Chair, John Cannon; ASU Manager, George Devine; and Deputy Warden, Barry Johnston. “Thank you for your combined 120 years of service to Scouting! Congratulations also to Barry who has been recognised for his exceptional service with the Silver Acorn. ” said Martin.  

Photographs L-R: Regional Commissioner, Martin Elliot with John Cannon, George Devine and Barry Johnston

And finally:

A 50th birthday party isn’t complete without a cake and it was great that Douglas Allan, Alex Gillies and Ronnie MacDonald (photographed below) who were all at the original opening of the Chalet were present once again to cut the cake.

As well as a chance to catch-up with friends the party gave those present a chance to reminisce over the some of the memorabilia that was on display and look at the plans for the new Amenity Hub and Hobbit huts that are planned.

It was great to look back and remember the journey Bonaly Scout Centre has taken over the last 90 years and use this to help develop our vision for the future which we look forward to sharing with you in the next newsletter.

Peter Casebow
Chair, Bonaly Scout Centre

Bonaly Scout Centre September Update

Bonaly Scout Centre September Update

Welcome back!

It is so good the see Scouts back camping at Bonaly following the relaxing of the Covid restrictions. If you are camping or visiting for the day why not give our new self-led “Camouflage Tracking” activity a go? Working in two teams, the first challenge is to lay a trail of tracking signs for the other group to follow into the “Hiding Area”. Then one member of the team is chosen to hide and is camouflaged by the rest of the team using the equipment provided and natural materials. The teams now follow each other’s tracking signs and attempt to find the hidden person! 

ScotJam@Bonaly was a great weekend with 120 Cubs and Scouts enjoying the sunshine and the Archery, Tomahawk Throwing, Low and High Ropes, Burn ScrambleCamouflage Tracking, and of course the Campfire.  We would like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped to make the weekend possible.

Image: Burn scrambling in the Roman Bath. 

Our maintenance ASU have been hard at work keeping the centre looking good. The Chalet refurbishment is now well underway with new carpets, beds and vanity units. We are now taking bookings from the 1st of October for the new look Chalet and dates are filling up fast! To make an inquiry you can email info@bonaly.org.uk or use our online booking request form.

Image: The New Look Chalet

The Bonaly “Come and Have A Go Day” was very well attended and gave anyone interested in volunteering a chance to take part in some of the activities we have. Everyone had great fun enjoying the Low Ropes, Crate Stack, Burn Scramble, Pioneering skills or some of the Self-led activities we have on offer. Interested in joining our volunteer instructor team? Please get in touch by email or give us a ring on 0131 441 1878.

Image: Well done Sandy – that’s got to be a record! 

Bonaly is Back Buzzing!

Bonaly is Back Buzzing!

Campfires have been burning, marshmallows toasting and lots of happy smiling faces running around (and that’s just the leaders!)

In September, we reopened our grounds so groups could come and enjoy Bonaly while being Covid secure, each group is allocated their own zone and toilet facility.

In October our Yellow phase risk assessments (indoors and outdoors) were approved, meaning we can now have groups of up to 30 including leaders, and we can offer the use of indoor space in the Baronial Hall, The Chalet and Forth Lodge for day visits.

We have already had visits from Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers. They have been pioneering, shelter building, playing wide games, making natural sculptures, taking part in team challenges and building lots of fires.

Halloween saw witches, zombies, vampires and all manner of scary creatures descend on Bonaly and great fun was had by all.

November is looking very busy but there are still some spaces available, if you would like to visit us just email an enquiry to info@bonaly.org.uk or info@sesscouts.org.uk.

It’s great to see Scouting back at Bonaly Scout Centre.

Mark Campbell
Warden
Bonaly Scout Centre

Bonaly is looking for a new ASU Manager to join the Bonaly Leadership Team.

Bonaly is looking for a new ASU Manager to join the Bonaly Leadership Team.

A vibrant Bonaly Active Support Unit (ASU) is absolutely vital to the success and sustainability of Bonaly Scout Centre (BSC) and we are looking for the right person to take on the leadership of what will be an extended ASU.

The vision for Bonaly as a Scout focussed centre requires a strong volunteer base to work on a range of areas such as facilities, finance and admin, communications and activities and as such the new ASU Manager will play a critical part in the future success of Bonaly Scout Centre.

As part of the Bonaly Leadership Team the ASU Manager will be responsible for recruiting new ASU members as well as supporting and leading the ASU to ensure that Bonaly through the Warden, Deputy Warden and the ASU can provide the services our Region and other customers are looking for.

This is a key role which will require a significant investment of time and skills to be successful. If you think you can help or just want to find out more please contact Peter Casebow who is leading the Bonaly Leadership Team and to whom this role will report (with a dotted line to the Regional Commissioner). peter.casebow@sesscouts.org.uk 

Getting Back to Bonaly

Getting Back to Bonaly

Bonaly Scout Centre is now open for day visits on Thursday and Friday evenings and all-day at the weekends until the end of November 2020.  To remain COVID Secure your group will be allocated one of four zones in the main field and will have sole use of toilet facilities for the duration of your visit. All relevant COVID guidance and risk assessments should also be adhered to.

Although we cannot offer any of Bonaly’s self-led activities at this time activities which have been popular include:

  • Fire-lighting with outdoor cooking, roasting marshmallows and sausage sizzles
  • Wide games within the COVID secure zones
  • Shelter building
  • Tracking
  • Mark Campbell’s personal favourite – “Naturel Sculpture” which is inspired by the artist Andy Goldsworthy

You may also want to review the socially distanced programme ideas put together by our Scouting Support Officer, Mike Treanor or read about the experiences of groups who have already returned to Bonaly .

Our preferred arrival and departure times are:

Evenings 18:00 – 21:00

Weekends 10:00 -15:00

Leaders can arrive 30 minutes in advance and depart 30 minutes later.

If you have any further questions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  Our new email address is info@bonaly.org.uk.  Thanks for your support.  We’re all really looking forward to seeing Scouting and Guiding back at Bonaly.

You should be aware that the Regional Executive Committee have now approved the investment in a new waste water treatment plant which is urgently required.  Our contractors will be on site later this year and as a result we will be closed during December 2020 and January 2021.

John Bruce
info@bonaly.org.uk

Bonaly is looking for a new ASU Manager to join the Bonaly Leadership Team.

Bonaly Scout Centre is Back!

We are delighted to announce that our grounds are open for Scouting to meet up – following Scouting guidance for the Yellow phase.

We will be open for evening visits on Thursdays and Fridays 18:00 – 21:00, and for day visits on Saturdays 10:00 – 15:00. Group size will be limited to 30 including leaders with the number of groups also being restricted so we are COVID secure.  

Please note the new email address for enquiries is info@bonaly.org.uk  and that the booking needs to be by email, please don’t phone and due to limited staffing at the moment, a reply may take 48 hours, but we will try and get back to you ASAP.

Thank you to Annette Mackenzie who has set up a fund-raising page for specific projects to improve facilities at Bonaly Scout Centre, via Virgin Money Giving at   https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AnnetteMackenzie1   

It has received support from Councillor Scott Arthur who promoted the initiative on his Facebook page and an anonymous benefactor who donated an amazing £10,000 towards the target.  We would appreciate if members could circulate this more widely to stimulate interest with friends and Leaders who have fond memories of camping at Bonaly.

It’s great to see Scouting back at Bonaly and we highlight below how two

Groups have restarted Scouting at Bonaly.

25th Braid Scouts Return to Bonaly

“Ooh – do we get to use axes?”  Scout aged 11

After 6 months of lockdown, and doing-our-best by zoom, but not (if we’re being really honest) enjoying it, we were all looking forward to some time outdoors as a troop in some wide-open green spaces. So, when Bonaly Scout Centre announced they were ready to open their gates again we were one of the first in the queue.

We booked for the all-day Saturday slot, in order to do some daylight activities in before winter, and settled on a 3-base rotation plan for 18 Scouts with a game at the end.  Planning was not too onerous – Bonaly had COVID-19 site risk assessments and systems already in place so all we had to do to do was plan, risk asses and prep some activities that could be achieved within the Scouting COVID regulations.

“I love whittling. I even love just saying the word whittling. Whitt…er…. ling.”  Scout aged 11.

The obvious first choice for a socially-distanced base was knife skills and whittling. With many of the Scouts now used to keeping a distance from each other, we thought there would be less chance of them invading each other’s blood circles. Our prediction was right and the base went well with only one small plaster being required for the whole day. We reviewed basic knife safety and skills by making pointy marshmallow-toasting sticks and then instructed the Scouts in how to whittle a mushroom out of a thicker stick sourced from the surrounding woods. Many Scouts ignored the creative direction and chose to invent their own artworks- a whittled squid, a submarine, a white stick, and a wooden shaped thing – all creations were beautiful and unique and as long as the scouts were being safe and enjoying sitting on the sun-deck created by the old tepee bases, whittling and chatting, we just let the creativity flow.

“We got to ride on chariots that we’d made from wooden poles. I was like the Duchess of Bonaly being carried around on my chariot!” Scout aged 11

The second base was pioneering. Each Scout had their own stave and string to start with to practise some basic knots and lashings and then they worked together in groups of 2-3 to make chariots. The chariots were large enough that the Scouts could work on their own without getting too close to each other and the older (12-plus) Scouts were spread out appropriately. And they did indeed carry each other proudly around the field like Dukes and Duchesses in a manner that would have made even the original residents of Bonaly Tower proud.

“Ooh – do we get to use axes?”  Scout aged 11

After 6 months of lockdown, and doing-our-best by zoom, but not (if we’re being really honest) enjoying it, we were all looking forward to some time outdoors as a troop in some wide-open green spaces. So, when Bonaly Scout Centre announced they were ready to open their gates again we were one of the first in the queue.

We booked for the all-day Saturday slot, in order to do some daylight activities in before winter, and settled on a 3-base rotation plan for 18 Scouts with a game at the end.  Planning was not too onerous – Bonaly had COVID-19 site risk assessments and systems already in place so all we had to do to do was plan, risk asses and prep some activities that could be achieved within the Scouting COVID regulations.

“I love whittling. I even love just saying the word whittling. Whitt…er…. ling.”  Scout aged 11.

The obvious first choice for a socially-distanced base was knife skills and whittling. With many of the Scouts now used to keeping a distance from each other, we thought there would be less chance of them invading each other’s blood circles. Our prediction was right and the base went well with only one small plaster being required for the whole day. We reviewed basic knife safety and skills by making pointy marshmallow-toasting sticks and then instructed the Scouts in how to whittle a mushroom out of a thicker stick sourced from the surrounding woods. Many Scouts ignored the creative direction and chose to invent their own artworks- a whittled squid, a submarine, a white stick, and a wooden shaped thing – all creations were beautiful and unique and as long as the scouts were being safe and enjoying sitting on the sun-deck created by the old tepee bases, whittling and chatting, we just let the creativity flow.

“We got to ride on chariots that we’d made from wooden poles. I was like the Duchess of Bonaly being carried around on my chariot!” Scout aged 11

The second base was pioneering. Each Scout had their own stave and string to start with to practise some basic knots and lashings and then they worked together in groups of 2-3 to make chariots. The chariots were large enough that the Scouts could work on their own without getting too close to each other and the older (12-plus) Scouts were spread out appropriately. And they did indeed carry each other proudly around the field like Dukes and Duchesses in a manner that would have made even the original residents of Bonaly Tower proud.

I lit my first fire with a striker.  I should have brought my phone to take a photo of it!” Scout aged 12

And because a day at a Scout centre is not complete without a toasted marshmallow or three – the third base was obviously campfire cooking. We used 3 alter fires for each group of 6 Scouts so they could spread out and get lots of practise. We learnt about using natural resources to start fires and found some in the woods but then delighted in the help of cotton wool and vaseline to allow rapid striker success. We cooked calzone pizzas using ingredients that required no leader hands-on-prep and could be cooked individually wrapped in tinfoil in the embers. Smores were achieved using chocolate digestives rather than chocolate pieces to ensure less food handling and even the middle-aisle Gods were shining on us as Aldi had vegetarian marshmallows that week!

“I loved that game. Can we play it for longer next time?” Scout aged 12. 

At the end of the day we all came together (but kept apart) for a game of pop-the-balloon with social-distancing ensured by using extra-long pieces of string.  A bit of riotousness and group fun (and the usual leader cheating I think!) to end the day.

“I really like Scouts….. So far.” New Scout aged 10 ½.

By necessity to put our safety first, compared to previous trips to Bonaly, the day definitely felt a bit odd.  I really missed having the noise and bustle of other groups sharing the site, or the ease of being able to show Scouts hands-on how to use a bushcraft knife or a striker. But for young people in particular, lockdown has been tough. They have been distanced from things that are vital to their childhood and their wellbeing and things they have a right to – like fun, play, nature, connectedness, the great outdoors and big green spaces. On Saturday, Bonaly Scout Centre gave us all these things back again for a bit and, while still putting our safety first, allowed us to appreciate some of the things we loved, and took for granted, about our ‘old normal’.

Thank you Bonaly for a truly grand day out. We will definitely be back and are already looking forward to our next visit!

“Oh wow- smell that fire. I have really missed the smell of campfires”. Scout leader, age undisclosed

Nikki Maclean
Scout Leader 25th Braid
nmaclean@25thbraid.org.uk 

108th Pentland – Bonaly Returns

The COVID-19 lockdown hit us all in so many different ways in our personal and business life. But the introduction of Zoom meetings for the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts in our group helped to keep the momentum of scouting going and helped raise the awareness of scouting in the minds of the parents as well as the young people. Despite being able to deliver part of the balanced programme over Zoom, the opening up of scouting into Amber was greatly appreciated by the amazing leadership team, who immediately set about organising a programme around small groups of young people outside. However, the two Friday scout troops need somewhere other than outside the scout hall to gather to ensure social distancing and keeping the arrival and departure safe for all.

No other places seemed appropriate then Bonaly Scout Centre came in a saviour and announced that they were re-opening. We were delighted to be able to book six Friday night slots in a row, with the first one actually on the Friday evening before the official opening on Saturday 12th September, shhh, don’t tell anyone! The staff at Bonaly couldn’t have been more helpful and Mark Campbell was there to greet us on the Friday evening and make sure we had all we needed.

The bushcraft area was perfect for our needs for the night that included knife work and fire lighting. The areas set aside allowed social distancing for the older scouts and the leaders, whilst still being able to see the leaders demonstrate what was needed. Everyone had a great time; everyone lit a small fire and there was no need to bring out the first aid kit either. When we gathered all the small fires together for a bigger fire, we all then realised that what we were really missing is the camping and sitting round the campfire as it slowly decays.

It is absolutely fantastic to have Bonaly back open again even if it only just for evening and daytime activities for just now. I hope all the groups in South East Scotland will take the opportunity to use these facilities as often as possible.

“Welcome Back Bonaly, thanks for still being there”

Simon Innes
Group Scout Leader
108th Pentland