Longcraig open for business

Longcraig open for business

Longcraig is open for business!

After a bit of a madcap winter caused by some very inclement weather for much of the period, we have now got most of the boats, kayaks and other equipment ready for use once again on the Firth of Forth.

With a new online booking system, it is now much less complex to make a booking, see what’s available, and get your event booked up, or even to make changes to existing bookings!

So far this year, we have fitted in a Powerboat training course and two Dinghy Introductory training courses, with more to follow.

Push the boat out

On Saturday 19 May, Longcraig Scout Centre is participating in a national activity day supported by the RYA, to encourage folks to come along and try a watersport. This year, we are aiming this specifically at adult members of Scouting (there will be a young persons event at a later opportunity!) so please check out the poster on the website and come along for some or all of the day. Aimed at complete novices or even those with a little water experience, it is an opportunity to try a variety of boats and activities so you can see for yourself what the young people get up to – without any young people getting in the way!  See full details.

50 Years of activities at Longcraig pier

Not until next year! But it’s time to think about it. If your Group, or anyone you have connections to, has a special anniversary next year we would like to know so we can share it and perhaps link it into our anniversary year programme. Watch this space as the programme of events for 2019 develops! And remember to dig out your old photographs! The competition is still open to find the oldest!  See earlier article.

Ian Harrower Longcraig ASU

RYAG visit Longcraig

RYAG visit Longcraig

On Saturday 22 April some members of the Regional Youth Advisory Group headed down to Longcraig on a fact-finding mission. We had two simple aims:

  1. How do we support Longcraig getting more Young People involved, and;
  2. How do we get more Young People interested in doing activities?

After meeting Ian on possibly the hottest day of the year so far, we had a good look around to see what Longcraig had on offer. It has a lot to offer, we discovered. Once the formal tour was over there was a chance for us to get to know the people at Longcraig, and conveniently for us there were four young people taking part in sailing training after helping out at Longcraig. They talked about how rewarding it was to work so hard over the winter repairing boats and then to learn how to sail one, most of them never having been in a boat on their own before!

Regional Youth Advisory Group meet Longcraig volunteers

RYAG meet Longcraig volunteers

Then came the Golden Question “Do you want a ride in the power boat?”, to which the reply was a fast and definitive “YES!”. Off we went to get our buoyancy aids (safety first) and had an amazing tour of the Forth Rail Bridge.

We left with lots of thoughts on how we can help get more young people involved, but our first and most obvious point is just telling them. So, if you have young people who are interested in a new challenge on or off the water, then get in touch.

Adam Bennett    Assistant Regional Commissioner (Youth Involvement)

Longcraig is nearly 50!

Longcraig is nearly 50!

Send us your memories for an anniversary scrap book covering the whole period.

Next year will mark 50 years since Scouts, and Guides, first made use of Longcraig Pier, nestled alongside the famous Forth Bridge at South Queensferry, for a few tentative sailing and canoeing activities.
This was ground-breaking stuff, as adventurous activities in Scouting were in their infancy, and many of these activities were otherwise out of reach of many Scout Groups.
In anticipation of things to come next year, we are starting to put together recollections, stories, experiences and perhaps some of the things you might not have told anyone about at the time.
If you have a tale to tell, or a memory to share with others, or simply want to let everyone know how some time at Longcraig shaped or changed your life, please tell us. Or was it simply that you just enjoyed the experience of a dip in the Forth on a freezing April evening?
We are aiming to gather all the inputs to generate an anniversary scrap book, so please dig out your old memories and send them to us. It doesn’t have to be from 50 years ago – we need material from 50 years, 40 years, 30 years, 20 years – even last year! If you have a story, please share it with us!
Ian Harrower, Longcraig ASU

Where snow and water meet

Where snow and water meet

Longcraig in the winter – as seen by Explorers

If you thought that winter maintenance of boats involved cleaning off seaweed and then a long snooze until spring – read on!

Over the winter, the Bore Stane Explorer Unit from Pentland District has been actively engaged in helping the team at Longcraig to carry out an extensive programme of winter maintenance. This has not only involved learning new skills about fixing boats, it also involved fixing trailers with dodgy brakes, clearing out drains clogged by the winter storms, clearing the beach and the land side of washed in debris and seaweed, as well as a range of cleaning and mending.

This winter in particular has been a bit taxing, with nearly all of the work days so far accompanied by snowfalls and freezing temperatures. So, no early swims in the Forth (yet) for this team of hardy helpers, but lots of indoor jobs undertaken.

Longcraig in the snow

Longcraig in winter

So, what’s in it for the Explorers, I hear you say?

Well, firstly, they are learning new skills over the winter about how boats go together, why they need mended, painted and varnished; how they get repaired and put back together for the new sailing season; checking and servicing safety equipment and clothing.

Secondly, they have the opportunity to work together as a team, and to work together with the experienced folks from the ASU who can then pass on their skills.

Then when the spring comes and some warmer weather, they will get involved in preparing and launching boats and start to learn seamanship skills leading on to kayaking, dinghy sailing, and powerboating over the summer months.

There is now a badge available for Scouts who assist and support ‘Activity Centres’ and these guys are working towards that. But more than that – in a year or two those who wish will become the instructors of tomorrow and will then pass on their skills to others – perhaps even to their own Scouts!

This same opportunity is available to other Explorer Units across the Region. Interested to find out more? Contact us on lscmanager@longcraig.org.uk or via Bonaly office on 0131 441 1878.

Ian Harrower, Longcraig ASU