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

Dazzling Davidson’s Mains Lights

Edinburgh Scouts support the Mains Christmas Lights switch on event.

 

Davidson Mains Christmas Lights Switch On

On Saturday 1st December the 30th Craigalmond Scouts spent the day making sure the event was successful.  They helped put up tents, prepare the site to make sure everything went smoothly and raise money.  The lights were switched on at 7.30pm and cheers were made throughout the village.

The event was set up to raise money for new lights with an aim of £10,000. We would like to make a massive thanks to the Christmas Lights Committee. This year they managed to hold an amazing event. We would also like to thank them for letting us be part of the organisation. As one Scout explained, “I enjoyed helping out because it was all worth it when you saw everyone having fun!”

 

Article written by the Scouts of 30th Craigalmond Scout Troops as part of their Media Relations and Marketing activity badge

Culzean Camp for Cramond Scouts

by Mike Treanor, Scout Leader 82nd Cramond (Craigalmond) Scouts Cramond Camp 1

Our 2018 Summer Camp was held at Culzean Country Park Scout Camp in Ayrshire. Given the weather had been glorious for what seemed like months and months we were looking forward to a dry camp.  On arrival, the advance party had managed to do a great job putting up the marquees, mess tents and leader tents, despite a tyre blow out on the way there. On arrival, the 32 Scouts and Leader team put up the patrol Stormhavens and dining shelters just before a 48 hour monsoon arrived, which turned rock hard grass into a near swamp in no time at all!! The accompanying wind managed to fell a sizeable tree but fortunately no-one was hurt.

On the Saturday night we introduced our theme “Stranded on a Desert Island” with some familiar and not so familiar islands – Treasure Island, Coral Island (from Lord of the Flies), New Switzerland (from Swiss Family Robinson), Isla Nublar (from Jurassic Park) and Monuriki (from Castaway). The Scouts spent the first evening drawing maps of their islands and creating wooden signs from driftwood to name their patrol area (no camp fire given the ongoing rain).

On Sunday, after the first breakfast cooked by the Scouts we had our first patrol inspection (to set the camp standards) and then we visited the grounds in Culzean.  Unfortunately the rain continued to pour so we persuaded the camp trolley bus service to take us on a covered tour of the site before they kindly went out of their way to drop us off at the camp. We improvised with a Fifty Question Challenge which set the basis for our Patrol point’s challenge. As the rain eased we did some site maintenance, clearing the felled tree as well as removing an old fence and gathering mounds of wood for future camp-fires.

Monday saw us offsite at Maidens for our water sports day – the rain had eased and the sun shone for a while, with a glorious backdrop of Arran, including the Holy Isle and Goat Fell. The Scouts did a full on day, paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing. Our Sea Scouts honed their skills whilst the others scouts learned new water skills, albeit a couple of Scouts unfortunately did not avoid jellyfish stings!! On the evening we did a “Lost at Sea” team building exercise where the Scouts had to select 12 from 32 items which would help them survive stranded on an island – after much debate and discussion, the selections were made with “positive attitude” being the unanimous favourite, followed by fire-lighting equipment, tarpaulins for shelter, knives, rope and safety pins to catch fish (or in one case, birds!!).  We were also able to have our first camp fire, with the young adult leaders doing a fantastic job in engaging the scouts in their favourite camp songs.

Scout Skills day took up most of Tuesday and again the Scouts learned a range of new skills including rope and pulley work (towing the minibus and pulling down dead trees), hammock and shelter building, axe and saw work (very popular), navigation and first aid skills (which were needed when the Scouts used their pen-knives for whittling their woggles!). In the evening we had to abandon our Beach BBQ given the rain, so we cooked in the dining shelters, although we did manage to cook dough bread and smores on Swedish Torches.

On Wednesday we split up, with the older Scouts preparing for and undertaking their overnight expedition and the younger Scouts spending the day in the grounds of Culzean. The expedition to Turnberry was undertaken in horrendous conditions, so the tarpaulins were abandoned and the tents erected. Despite the conditions the Scouts and Leaders stuck it out and came back Thursday morning, drenched and exhausted but very pleased they had met the challenge. The younger Scouts had a great day, making huge SOS signs on the beach using seaweed, rocks and other materials as well as spending an hour or so digging for treasure hidden at the end of a large rope buried in the sand. Unfortunately no fortunes were made. In the evening the younger Scouts searched for “unlabelled” tins for their dinner – macaroni cheese, meatballs, peaches and custard was the best find!! That evening we had a Desert Island themed competition, the most competitive event being the limbo.

Cramond Camp 2

On the Thursday afternoon, we all went to Girvan and had a brilliant afternoon at the RNLI station. Callum and his fellow volunteers showed us around their brand new state of the art boat costing £2.1m pounds as well as demonstrating how to put on their gear. The Scouts were really attentive, asked great questions and we were pleased to hand over a donation of £200.  After an hour of playing in the Girvan play park, we all had a massive meal of fish/sausage/haggis suppers in the evening sun (actually it was drizzle but we didn’t care!!). The local seagulls and some young teenagers tried their best to disrupt our meal but we all enjoyed a great feast. We finished the day with a massive camp fire where we burned all the material we collected earlier in the week followed by more camp songs.

We started to strike camp on Friday, trying to take tents down dry between the showers. The young adult leaders 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, surpassed the excellent service she had already provided during the week, with a superb BBQ banquet meal of kebabs, burgers and chocolate cake.

We closed the evening with our GSL, Graham Cullen,  presenting the Chief Scout Gold Award to 7 Scouts who after 4 plus years of attending Friday Scouts, engaging in activities and challenges and attending Easter and Summer Camps achieved the ultimate award – massive congratulations to them all.

Despite a little drizzle Saturday we were able to strike camp in good time, leaving the camp in good order and getting back to the Kirk at the target time. We had lots of help from parents in putting the kit away, and lots of volunteers to dry our tents.

So a great camp, in a wonderful location and the “positive attitude” certainly got us through the persistent rain. The Scouts were very well behaved, engaged in the activities, challenges and camp singing and gave the leaders very little bother. They were supported by an extensive and committed Leader team to whom I say a massive thanks.

Super Summer for North Berwick Bear Cubs

The 1st North Berwick Bear Cubs had a fun filled, action packed summer term spending most of their sessions outside. They visited the North Berwick RNLI station where the RNLI volunteers spoke about the work they do and the equipment they use. The Cubs learnt how to enjoy the water around North Berwick safely and hopefully we have some future RNLI volunteers amongst us.

North Berwick Scouts at RNLIThis image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.

The pack also went on a number of hikes along beaches, through woodland and around lakes. They learnt about the Countryside Code, local wildlife and health and well-being. They made some fantastic dens thanks to a storm that brought down lots of branches just before our session! The Cubs also went to Auchengillan Camp with over 100 Beavers, Cubs and Scouts from North Berwick, visited Concorde and built volcanoes on the beach.

North Berwick Cubs on the BeachNorth Berwick Cubs Building Dens