Borders Brass Monkeys are 50

Borders Brass Monkeys are 50

On Saturday 27 January 100 Scouts and Young Leaders arrived at Kelso racecourse ready for the Brass Monkey camp, and to celebrate 50 years since these started in the Borders.

An early leader catches up on what he started.

One of the early leaders

In 1968 Jack Robb, the DC of Roxburghshire, decided to run a one-night camp to challenge the Scouts. He decided to code-name it the Brass Monkey camp. The first one was held in Scotchkershope and had around 45 Scouts in attendance.  The camp was a huge success and very quickly over the next few years attracted Scouts not just from the Borders but from all over Scotland, England and even Wales. Local Scouter Bill Watt got involved from the early camps and recently Marion Macintosh, one of the Borders ADCs, had the great pleasure of visiting him and letting him know how it is still running and showed him the trophy we use. He remembers one camp where it was so cold they had to go to the local ironmongers to get large iron nails instead of pegs! Bill still has his original neckie! He is very pleased to hear that we still keep the book going too!

The largest camp had over 400 in attendance.  Every participant that attended was awarded their Brass Monkey neckie and later a badge.  One camp in the 80s is noted as being so cold that the calor gas bottles froze overnight!. The Scouts were unable to take up their tent pegs due to the frozen ground and when the camp returned to this site in 2009 tent pegs were found!  The venue for the Brass Monkey  camp changed every year. One of the traditions that started early on is that the participants were all asked to sign the Brass Monkey book. This tradition is still on-going and it’s great to be able to look back over the years at the history of the camp.

In 1984 a trophy was presented as a gift from a Scout group in Wales. It was to be awarded to someone that had contributed to the running of the camp. This trophy is a Brass Monkey in a kilt. It was first awarded to Jack Robb and it is still awarded today. In the past there were also pottery mugs and pottery woggles!

Bubble football at KelsoThis year’s camp took place at Kelso racecourse where the Scouts camped on the side of the racecourse. They had an afternoon of activities, a mixture of fun, adventurous activities and Scouting skills, including, for the first time, axe throwing. They were also treated to bubble football at Kelso High School where the main concern was that the Scouts might actually take off in the wind!  The evening activities included Zumba and a movie with the Sunday morning seeing all the participants take part in an ‘urban-eering’ course around Kelso.  The Young Leaders at the camp were given the opportunity to work with the ESL (YL) on their Young Leader missions and modules, too.  The weather, whilst not as cold as the previous weekend’s snow, was windy and, in true Scottish fashion, a bit dreich.  The Scouts and the leader team all had a great camp and are looking forward to next year’s camp.

Happy 50th to the Borders Brass Monkey camps!

Cheryl Turpie ADC

Bonaly Open Sessions

Bonaly Open Sessions

Do you know what’s new and improved at Bonaly?

Come along to our Open Sessions!

Over the last two years things have been steadily improving with the site and activities.  Okay, yes we had some extreme setbacks like the toilets were burned down, but come and see the new ones for 2018!!  Whether you have never been to Bonaly or haven’t been for some time we urge you to come along to see the Centre and site now and also hear how we are further improving.  Try out the activities yourself, understand what badges you can do with your group while on-site and explore the wonderful 26 acres the Region owns.

Our Activity Instructors will be on hand to talk through the adventurous activities we offer and to give you a taster if you wish. See the improvements to the buildings and find any last-minute dates that are available.  Or come and find out how we can help you plan your camp and make it cost effective for your group.  And of course Bonaly isn’t just about camps – you can come along for evening visits for campfires, or for an afternoon of outdoor activities.

The Open Sessions are Monday 23 April from 6-8.30pm and Sunday 29 April 2.30-5pm.  If you would like to come along please complete your details here and we will send you some more information.   If you are a parent and you need to bring your family to enable you to come along to either session, please do.

Gillian Fraser, Regional Operations Manager

National Camping Competition for Scouts

National Camping Competition for Scouts

Apply by Friday 4 May

The National Camping Competition (Zonal Qualifiers) will take place over the weekend of Friday 15 – Sunday 17 June 2018. The locations for this year’s Zonals are:

Jock Neish Scouting Centre, 2 Hayloft, Tannadice, Forfar DD8 3PZ

Auchengillan Outdoor Centre, Blanefield, Glasgow G63 9AU

Districts are invited to submit one Patrol (of up to 6 Scouts) to take part in either Zonal location, and the winners of each Zonal. As well as the top scorers from around the Zonals, up to 10 of the top scoring Districts will be invited to the National Final to be held Fordell Firs from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 September. The cost to enter a Patrol is £150, which includes site fees and  activities. Food for Friday supper and Sunday Breakfast is the only food provided by the camp team.

The ADC Scouts or DC should enter the patrol for their District into one of the Zonals by completing the Zonal entry form available from this link https://tiny.cc/provisionalncc2018

Closing date for receipt of the Provisional Entry Form is Friday 4 May – Once you press SUBMIT you will be re-directed to PayPal where you can pay your fee of £150 by debit or credit card, or by using your PayPal account should you have one.  If you wish to pay by another method please contact Scouts Scotland on 01383 419073 (option 1).

Closing date for the Detailed Entry Form is Friday 1 June  – Once your Provisional Entry Form has been received, a link to a Detailed Entry Form will be e-mailed to the email address provided by you, asking for the contact details of the Troop who will be representing the District. This year we are wishing to increase on the 23 Districts which entered in 2017.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact David Love, SHQ Commissioner (Scouts), at scoutsection@scouts.scot or via Scouts Scotland at shq@scouts.scot or by calling 01383 419073 (option 1).

Explorer Camp Sep 2018

Explorer Camp Sep 2018

Would you like to camp next September?  Would you like to meet Explorers from other Districts? Would you like us to use your ideas to help plan the camp? If you are interested, contact us, saying whether you are an Explorer or a Leader, and where you are based. The camp is for Explorers and Young Leaders from all Districts in our Region. It will take place on the weekend of Friday 14 to Sunday 16 September 2018.  This is a holiday weekend in most areas. Where the camp will take place, what you will do there and what it will cost will be decided by an organising group of Explorers and Leaders.

Explorers round a camp fire

Explorers enjoying a campfire

Explorers on a night exercise

Explorers tackle a night challenge