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

Craigalmond District Training Weekend – a great success!

Over the weekend 22nd-24th February, Craigalmond District held their annual training event at Bonaly Scout Centre. The event was attended by over 80 adults from throughout the District and offered a range of training. It was run on a drop-in basis with some participants attending one or two learning session and some who stayed for the whole weekend!

Throughout the weekend 16 sessions were run including conventional modular training such as Getting Started for leaders and executive members, First Response, modules 12A & 12B, and Safeguarding.  Additionally there were also a number of ongoing learning options including Visits Abroad training, Mental Health First Aid and a session focusing on Inclusion.

On Saturday evening around 40 people enjoyed a three course dinner followed by a presentation from Andrew Sharkey Chief Commissioner for Scotland) who spoke about the 2018-2023 strategy and helped us to celebrate Longcraig Scout Centre’s 50th anniversary.

The weekend was, as always, a great opportunity for leaders to carry out training with others from the District whilst sharing experiences and ideas and making friends too!

Medal Joy for one of our Scout Leaders

Michael Stevenson an Assistant Beaver Leader at the 26th (Craigsbank) Craigalmond Scout Group, has just returned from the Special Olympics World Games held in Abu Dhabi as a member of the Special Olympics Great Britain team.

Michael competed in the Ten Pin Bowling competition winning a Silver medal in the Singles competition, finishing 7th in the Team event and 8th in the Doubles.  Michael has been a member of the Special Olympics Lothian Bowling Team for 3 years and has competed in Regional competitions and at the National Summer Games in Sheffield in 2017 winning a Silver Medal in the Doubles. Michael parents and brother attended the Games and are very proud of his achievements.

The World Games were attended by 7500 athletes from 200 countries competing in 24 sports over 7 days.

Special Olympics Lothians mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for all children and adults with intellectual (learning) disabilities – giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in sharing skills, gifts and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

 

www.lothianspecialolympics.org

Bonnyrigg Scouts’ Extreme Survival Camp

Seven Scouts and one Explorer from Bonnyrigg took part in an Extreme Survival Camp over the weekend 8-10 February.

Five of the group assembled at Currie Wood, across the river from the Midlothian District campsite at Borthwick, on the Friday afternoon. Leaders Peter Hyde from Bonnyrigg and Adrian Marchant from Penicuik were on hand to show the Scouts how to survive the weekend without many of the camping aids which Scouts might take for granted.

Scouts crossing the river to their first night’s campsite

The first task was to build a shelter for the night by stretching a rope between two trees and covering it with a tarpaulin to make it keep those sleeping under it dry all night.

Then the Scouts were shown how to start a fire without matches and they soon learned to gather enough wood to keep it going in order to cook their dinner and keep them warm all evening.

Dinner was squirrel which was supplied by a specialist game dealer. The Scouts were shown how to prepare the squirrel and cook it into a stew with vegetables to make a good evening meal. Fortunately, they managed to achieve this during daylight hours although this meant that the rest of the evening was spent keeping each other’s company around the fire until an early night beckoned.

Saturday morning saw a 6am start with the fire restarted and breakfast underway. Striking camp, the Scouts had to work out how they were going to walk cross country to Saturday night’s campsite on the edge of Fala Moor.

Scouts planning their route from Borthwick to Fala

The Scouts set off in good heart and hiked across farmland for a distance of 4 miles. Permission had been obtained from the farmers en route and at least one helped the Scouts on their way.

Scouts reach the second night’s campsite

Arriving at the edge of Fala Moor the Scouts found that their second night’s campsite was in a forest with plenty of tree cover. This time the Scouts could choose to bivouac under the trees and together they set up camp in the forest.

Three Scouts and Erika joined the group for the Saturday night 

Three more Scouts joined the group for the Saturday night. One 10-year old had only been a Scout for three weeks and this was his first camp. Leader Erika Pryde from Bonnyrigg also joined the group for the second night.

Two fires were quickly lit and dinner prepared. On the menu tonight was woodpigeon which was prepared after instruction from the leaders and cooked into a stew with vegetables. S’mores followed for dessert and the fire. Scouts quickly learn that a spoon does nearly everything!

Dinner was interrupted by a visit from the District Commissioner who found the 8 young people in good heart and enjoying their survival experience. The Scouts found that this sort of camp is very demanding at times and at other times, especially in the evening, they had to amuse themselves as a lot of time was spent doing nothing. None of this deterred any of the Scouts from enjoying the experience.

Spelling “Scouts” with sticks from the fire

The Scouts all learned essential survival skills over the weekend. They camped outside without tents, used knives to gut and prepared meat for stew, and they learned to light fires without matches. They planned their route across country to wild camp on the Saturday evening.

The weather was kind to the Scouts this year but in past years the camp has taken place in several feet of snow. Who knows what weather next year’s camp might experience? The Scouts learned how to keep warm and dry and also the importance of gathering sufficient wood to keep a fire burning. Water is a precious commodity which had to be collected and used sparingly.

The Scouts learnt a lot and were encouraged to think outside the box. Information came thick and fast and the Scouts were encouraged to bring a small note book and pen for the day when they find themselves teaching these skills to other Scouts. Peter still has his notebook from his survival skills training and he still refers to it regularly.

Big thanks go to Peter Hyde for organising the event and getting permissions from the landowners involved. Thanks too to Adrian and Erika for supporting the event and giving eight young people the opportunity to earn their Survival Skills Badge. Photo Credits: Adrian Marchant

Martin Browne, District Commissioner, Midlothian District

Welcome to Bill Ramsay, Deputy District Commissioner

I am looking forward to the challenges of the role of Deputy District Commissioner and supporting Rob.

My scouting started as a Cub, a Scout, a Venture Scout and Assistant Cub Scout Leader at 71st Ayrshire in the village of Skelmorlie.  With work bringing me to Edinburgh, I became ACSL and then CSL at 7th Leith.

After a short work related break from scouting, I returned to Scouting as Assistant District Treasurer and have spent the last 3 years as Chair of the District Appointments Committee and Training Administrator (for the past year).

Outside of scouting I am a Principal Information Analyst for the NHS supporting the Health & Social Care Partnerships and GP Practices in East, Mid and West Lothian. I am also involved with Bowls in the city and was Secretary of the Edinburgh Bowling League for 6 years.

Bill Ramsay, Deputy District Commissioner, Edinburgh North East District

The Wee Sleep Out

Malala Yousafzai, the young woman shot by the Taliban as a teenager, will follow in the footsteps of George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in addressing a charity event which seeks to eradicate homelessness in Scotland.

Ms Yousafzai, 21, the world’s youngest Nobel prizewinner, is to speak at a dinner at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 13 March, hosted by Social Bite. The event will be an opportunity to thank the fundraisers behind Sleep in the Park 2018, when members of the public slept outside across Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen.

Representing South East Scotland Scouts will be Lorna Spence, GSL of 100th Pentland and some of her youth members.  The 100th held a Wee Sleep Out in support of the charity last November with around 60 Cubs and Scouts at Bonaly.  They smashed their target of £1,000 reaching £4,300 for the charity. Well done to all of them!

Keith Bryce, District Commissioner, Pentland District