A proper expedition – not just tourists!

Two groups of Explorers formed from Braid and Craigalmond carried out an excellent DofE Gold expedition over four days at the end of August, walking from Corrour Station and completing their circular route at Rannoch. 

One candidate unfortunately had to drop out on day 3 with an ankle problem but the other twelve completed the expedition in style, one group singing ‘Country road, take me home …’ to keep their spirits up on the last stretch. 

“It was fun.”  “I’m rather sad it’s over.”  “The views were spectacular.” “We really loved seeing a group of tourists watch us wade over the flooded causeway then turn back rather than do the same.” “The best bit was on the last day when we could see back up to the saddle we had climbed on the first day and we realised what we had achieved.”

They all had a sense of humour.  For instance, when asked how they had crossed the river the answer was “After considerable discussion and deliberation”.  And one commented at the debrief session near the end “No ticks, but there’s still a kilometre to go.”

Both groups enjoyed being out in the wilds with no phone signal and relying on burns for water.  They had built up their skills over the previous levels and really appreciated meeting and working together with new friends and having time to chat about things at the campsites.  They were delighted by the perfect weather: almost no rain and enough wind to keep the midges away for a lot of the time. They all intend to get back into the hills again.

The groups did very interesting presentations based on their purpose: one studying Gaelic place names, the other comparing the three big estates they walked through.

They can take a real pride in their achievement and are to be congratulated on it.  Thanks and congratulations are also due to the many adults who helped directly and indirectly with the training, practice and qualifying expeditions done at Bronze, Silver and Gold over several years, and without whom this would not have happened.

John Buchanan DofE Assessor, and ARC (Explorers)

Congratulations to Ben and Daniel, two Explorer Scouts on receiving the Young Leader Belt – one of Scouting’s top awards

Ben Galloway, Cramond Explorer Scout Unit, YL with 82nd Craigalmond Cubs

Daniel Kleinjan, Douglas Brown Explorer Scout Unit, YL with 10th Craigalmond Yukon Beavers

Congratulations to Ben and Daniel – two Explorer Scouts from Craigalmond District who have recently received one of Scouting’s top awards – The Young Leader Belt – which is awarded on completing 13 modules of accredited leadership and first aid training, as well as 4 practical assignments ( called missions ) while volunteering with a local Beaver, Cub or Scout section.

The Beavers, Cubs and Scouts benefit greatly from the enthusiasm, experience and commitment of Young Leaders like Daniel and Ben,  while the Young Leaders gain valuable skills for life in leadership, communication, planning, teamwork and demonstrating they are willing to take on responsibility as a leader and work as part of a team. These will serve them well in the future – whether that’s in education, employment, personal life or in many cases as future adult volunteers with Scouts.

Ben has been volunteering with the 82nd Craigalmond Cubs as well as being a member of the Cramond Explorer Scout Unit, while Daniel is a member of the Douglas Brown Explorer Scout Unit and Young Leader on placement with the 10th Craigalmond Yukon Beavers.

Ben and Daniel recently attended presentations from Craigalmond District Commissioner Mark Hesketh and Craigalmond District Explorer Scout Commissioner David Newton to recognise their success, thanks for their many hours as volunteers and the real difference they have made to the Beavers and Cubs in the District.

David Newton
DESC, Craigalmond District

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award leaders meet Earl of Forfar

The Earl of Forfar (who is better known as Prince Edward), met a group of our leaders at a reception in the City Chambers on 4 July for DofE leaders from across Edinburgh and the Lothians.  Simon Cocker of Meadows ESU, Sam Dickinson of Borestane ESU and Janet Paterson, DofE expedition organiser, represented Braid, Pentland and Craigalmond Districts respectively, along with John Buchanan, one of our two Regional Advisers for DofE.  We were accompanied by the new DofE Manager from SHQ, Calum Lorimer. 

At this very pleasant event we were able to report considerable success in organising DofE through Scouting in our Region: 56 young people have successfully completed their Bronze expedition this season and 18 Silvers and 14 Golds look forward to completing theirs.  The DofE awards dovetail closely with the Chief Scout’s Platinum and Diamond and with the Queen’s Scout Award.

Those of us present were very conscious that we were representing the many adults who contribute towards this success by helping with administration, training, supervision and assessment.  The best model is clearly that of cooperation within and across the Districts, as nobody can run DofE alone. 

Training and help are available and interested adults are encouraged to contact the Regional Adviser(s) for advice using dofe@sesscouts.org.uk. Any offers of assistance will be most welcome. It is also worth reminding young adult leaders that they can complete or start the Gold Award, as they have until the age of 25 to do so.

John Buchanan
Assistant Regional Commissioner (Explorers)

Bronze Award expedition

Silver Award expedition

Gold Award expedition

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