82nd Craigalmond Scouts visit MS Unicorn, a surviving sailing frigate, at their Easter camp in Douglaswood
The 82nd Craigalmond Scouts and leaders set off for their Easter camp, at Douglaswood on Thursday in glorious sunshine – what a contrast from the monsoon conditions we endured during last summer camp – and the sun continued to shine all camp. Douglaswood is an old RAF base set in the countryside north of Dundee – the facilities are excellent, all due to the endeavours of Scout Volunteers from the Dundee area.
We quickly got all the kit into the centre, allocated the Scouts to dorms and got out into the sun to enjoy volleyball, the obstacle course and boules before the first excellent meal cooked by our brilliant camp cook, Karen. We were joined by the rest of our Scouts at dinner and then got stuck into the activities based around our camp theme “Fortnite Unplugged” – yes, not a mobile phone in sight! At this point we knew we had an excellent group of Scouts as they really got into making their “Fortnite structure” with some brilliant creativity across the four patrols – Happy Hamlets, Pleasant Park, Paradise Palms and Sunny Steps. We rounded off the first day with a camp fire where the Scouts led the singing for an hour or so before flag down.
Friday morning brought more sunshine. After the first camp inspection including the kitchen, toilets, hall and dorms (the Scouts earn their keep!!) we brought our Scout skills bases out into the sunshine. Over the next few hours the Scouts undertook badge activity work as they discussed first aid scenarios, practiced their map and compass work, put hammocks up (whilst a couple of our leaders gave instructions from their comfy chairs!!) and also helped prepare an excellent lunch including baked potatoes, salad and lentil soup.
We needed the calories as, during the afternoon in searing heat, we did some site maintenance on the road within the site – over three hours many tons of soil and dirt were removed and the local team were delighted with the effort that our Scouts put in. A special mention to Hector for his direction on the maintenance from the comfort of his camp chair!!
In the evening we had a Fortnite widegame and after a camp fire, the Scouts were asleep in minutes (a contrast to the first night).
On Saturday, we started the day with a Geocaching challenge with “treasure” hidden over various places on the site – it was a frantic next hour or so with some working in teams and others as individuals using their navigation skills to locate the items.
In the afternoon we headed into Dundee, first visiting the MS Unicorn, a surviving sailing frigate of the successful Leda class which was built in 1824. Chris, our guide, gave an excellent tour and the Scouts really enjoyed being part of the cannon crew, hearing about gruesome surgery carried out on the officers dining table, and getting Chris’s questions right (mostly by reading the little clues readily available). We then set off for the Olympia swimming pool where the Scouts and some bigger kids (the leaders) enjoyed cooling down in the wave machine and flumes. We rounded off our visit to Dundee with a group picture with Desperate Dan and then a meal. In the evening we had a games challenge featuring giant Jenga, Connect 4, blow football and indoor hockey. The final hockey game was between the Patrol Leaders and the “big kids” in a highly competitive game (an understatement!!) with the Leaders victorious.
On Easter Sunday we did a “Scouts Own” session, watching a “100 people in a village” video and had an excellent discussion on inequality in the world.
We then did our traditional Easter Egg Hunt on the site before heading off to Corrie Fee in Glen Cova. We set off in the heat taking in the magnificent scenery along the route before reaching the spectacular Corrie where we had drinks and cake bake next to a cooling stream before taking some group pictures and then heading home.
One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the Scouts walking arm in arm down to the cars singing “I will walk 500 miles”.
On our return to camp we had a wonderful BBQ – the burgers were so much better than the McDonalds version – followed by s’mores cooked on Swedish Torches. We rounded off the evening with our final camp fire and songs, led by Ansel and Ruaridh.
Next morning, the Scouts had a Fortnite challenge game and the leaders packed up for home. We finished the camp with flag down and presentation of the prizes.
So, a superb camp, greatly helped by the good weather and the fact the Scouts were so well behaved, got involved so enthusiastically in the activities and got on so well with each other – hopefully lots of good memories were made. When asked what was her highlight, one Scout said “everything” which summed up the views of all at the camp.
Finally, a massive thanks to the leader team for giving up their time, preparing their activities and for being such good colleagues and friends. Roll on Summer Camp in July.
Mike Treanor, Scout Leader, 82nd Craigalmond (Cramond) Scouts