2019 is Longcraig’s 50th Anniversary – Get in touch!

As many of you are already aware, next year is the 50th Anniversary of Longcraig Scout Centre operating at Longcraig Pier. The history of how this all started is shrouded in the mists of a number of old crimpled and curled up folders and files, but much more detail of the early days and beginnings will come to light as part of the celebration of the 50 years of operation.

In the meantime, we would love to hear from everyone who has had any contact with, involvement in, or taken part in any water activities at Longcraig between 1969 and 2018 (that’s the first 49 years!) Please get in touch, or better still please spread the word through your social media contacts, friends of your Group, or any other contact methods you use.

You or they can get in touch with us through Regional HQ at Bonaly, or directly to Ian Harrower at ian.harrower2@virgin.net.  In particular, we are looking for any old photos, documents, stories, or recollections over the years.

Before the beginning:


Longcraig circa 1968

Longcraig Pier before the Scouts moved in! (circa 1968, photo believed to be taken by Edinburgh Air Scout team)

Special events for 2019

We are working with all the Districts in South East Scotland Region to set up specific events throughout 2019 to support our year of celebration. The plans for these are nearing completion and we hope to be able to share the dates in the next newsletter, ahead of publication of our full programme for the year, so that everyone has the opportunity to get these dates into their diaries as early as possible. Please also keep in touch with your own District Teams to help formulate these events in the best possible way for your own District and for the widest benefit to the young people within your governance.

Training opportunities

Now is a good time to be thinking about the outline for your programme for next year, and in particular, any training needs or desires that you might have for paddle sports, sail sports or power boats – we can do all of these, from sectional Badges through to Activity Permit requirements and training and assessment for RYA1 or BCU2 certification.

If any of these things are on your horizon for next year, please get in touch with us: info@sesscouts.org.uk so that we can help plan your ideas into reality and ensure that we provide the courses that people want / need.



RYA – Royal Yachting Association – the governing body in the UK for sail sports and power boat activities
BCU – British Canoe Union – the governing body in the UK for all things paddle sport related.


Weathering the Storms at Longcraig

Longcraig at Sunset

2019 – Longcraig Photographic Competition

Next year is the 50th Anniversary of Longcraig Scout Centre operating at Longcraig Pier.

You will recall a competition that was set up earlier this year inviting challenges to find the oldest photo of scouting involvement at Longcraig Pier, or even of any of it’s predecessor locations around Edinburgh.

We will be ‘closing the door’ on this competition at the end of October so we can announce the winner before the end of 2018, and the likelihood is that the winning result will take pride of place in our Anniversary events and activities next year!

So, if you have not yet dug out your old troop, group or family photos yet, now’s the time to do so! These can be sent in to Regional HQ at Bonaly, or can be e-mailed as PDF or photo images to: ian.harrower2@virgin.net by 31st October.


Storm Ali

After surviving the summer storm in June unscathed apart from having to cancel one or two activity bookings, Longcraig did not escape Storm Ali on 19th September quite so well.

The storm, whilst quite short lived, was particularly ferocious and caused three of our moored sailing boats to be capsized at their moorings. We have never had three boats capsized simultaneously before. Whilst we have occasionally had a boat broken off it’s mooring, capsizing of moored boats are extremely rare. A team from the Longcraig ASU attended in the early evening, supported by the local H M Coastguard team, and successfully recovered two of the capsized boats with some struggle. Damage included some of the masts and is still being assessed. The third boat subsequently also broke it’s mooring and was recovered later from the rocky shore at Hound Point, a bit the worse for wear especially on the decks as it had washed ashore upside down. Again, the full extent of this is being assessed but we are confident that repairable damage can be made good over the autumn and winter and that the whole fleet will be back in action again next year.

Fortunately, the storm caused no additional damage to the buildings or any other equipment.



The Longcraig team has been busy this year seeking out new recruits to support the ASU both on and off the water. Longcraig is not a ‘closed club’, we welcome any adults who wish to pursue their water related skills to pass onto young people. We welcome anyone who has a water qualification, or simply some skills in any water activity. We can provide the necessary training to lead people to activity permits and suchlike so we are also eager to hear from folk without activity skills. For example, we have a number of support tasks which require volunteers, such as marketing and promotion, catering skills, mechanical or electrical or repairing skills, as well as grass cutting, and activities which can help the Centre develop further adjacent skills to support and supplement the range of on-water activities that we currently do.

If you are interested to find out more, please get in touch via getinvolved@longcraig.info  or ian.harrower2@virgin.net where we can discuss your interests and how best we can incorporate your volunteering into our operations.

Longcraig is run entirely by volunteers, so depends on a wide base of staff from water specialists to a range of non-water specialists. So please drop us a line!

Longcraig – 50th Anniversary


Next year is the 50th Anniversary of Longcraig Scout Centre operating at Longcraig Pier.

We are developing plans to help us celebrate this spectacular occasion, and of course the celebrations will extend out to include every one of you in some way!

In the meantime, as we approach 2019, we need some help from you. Have you ever made use of the services or the equipment at Longcraig? If so, do you have a story to tell? We are compiling a book of tales and memoirs, so all contributions are welcome. Especially from the early years (there’s not so many of these folks still about!) but just as important, things from more recent years. Were you at the opening ceremony for the Centre in 1969? Or the ‘new Building’ in 1998? – we’d love to hear from you. Is your family a second or third generation Longcraig participant? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Did you achieve a badge, award, or certificate? – we’d love to hear from you! Have you got any memorable photos? – we’d love to hear from you!

Please send all your tales and memories and photos to: ian.harrower2@virgin.net

2018 – what remains?

As you read this newsletter, there are only a few weekends left available for activities on the water before we close down for the winter. Why do we do this? Well, we have to stop evening activities close to the end of August – because it starts to get dark not long after 8pm. So, we could offer shortened sessions on the water, but that can be further hampered by thick cloud or mist and such like. It’s not that easy to get everyone off the weather and boats away in the dark! We have tried earlier evening starting times, but a lot of people (including some of our instructors) struggle to get to Longcraig for an earlier start time.

We finish weekend activities in October – why? Because there is a significantly increased risk of bad weather, it will be colder, the days are shorter. For experienced watersports people that can all be OK, with wetsuits, suitable warm clothing etc. But for beginners, this can be just the recipe to put people off for life – which is NOT what we are about! It’s all a matter of risk management!

But we will still be active – all the boats come off the water, get stripped down and stored away, repairs get done, and we start the planning for the next year. You are welcome to come down and help – especially Scouts or Explorers – for one day or a few hours, or for longer. This can fit in with a number of badge activities and can also be a really great contribution t Scouting and in particular to Longcraig.

At the end of September we will be supporting the Scottish Scouts National regatta up at Lochgoilhead, with boats, equipment and some experienced staff. A team from Longcraig runs a scouting version of the RYA Youth RIB Challenge over the weekend, open to any participant at the Regatta.

Explorer units

Following the success of the partnership with the Explorer Unit who have been supporting Longcraig over last winter and through 2018,  we are pleased to invite feedback from other Explorer Units who wish to make water activities and Centre Support a part of their programme. Please contact us for further details of how you can join up and add this to your Unit programme as well as learning new skills, satisfying challenge requirements, and fulfilling service activity all at the same time! Contact Ian on 0131 331 1108 initially.

And more on 2018:

Longcraig is coming to the end of a very successful season and it looks as if we will meet or exceed the targets we agreed with the Region at the start of the year. We would like to thank all of our customer groups and  volunteer staff for their continued support. Bookings for the new season will open on 1st January 2019 and we look forward to your continued custom in our 50th Anniversary year.

Not all our activities are in boats:


May at Longcraig

May at Longcraig

May 2018 at Longcraig – Been and Gone!

After the particularly cold, prolonged and snowy winter the first month of Longcraig activity has on average been blessed with spring like weather much of the month. The Met Office people think May 2018 may be the warmest on record (somewhere in deepest England, maybe!) so, although not altogether a scorcher, it was a pretty fine month and a good start to our 2018 season.

Summer opportunities

May and June are typically Longcraig’s busiest period, as it’s summer term for Scouts, Guides, Cubs, Brownies etc so everyone wants to cram their bookings into 8 or 9 short weeks.

But summer remains with us through July and August and into September. Consider how you might be able to make use of the Centre for some activities during the summer period:

  • You could sign up for some training courses, for example.
  • You could arrange a patrol event instead of a troop event. Bookings can be made for as few as 6 people, or talk to us if you have a specific requirement that doesn’t quite fit in.
  • You could consider a parent-and-child opportunity (family activity day) if you wish to.

The opportunities are there, the weather is likely to be a little bit warmer, some of the best days and evenings are in the school holiday period but we remain open and available during that period.

Going away for a summer camp or weekend event? Did you know that suitably qualified leaders / adults can hire (almost) any of the equipment at Longcraig for your own event? Obviously, we would check where you plan to use it, and who with, but our rates are very reasonable and definitely cheaper than hiring commercially! We have trailers available for the bigger stuff, but some items are roof-rack toppable if you don’t do towing.

Explorer Units

Following the success of the partnership with the Explorer Unit who have been supporting Longcraig over the winter and subsequently had 11 Explorers participate in a start Sailing course, we invite feedback from other Explorer Units who wish to make water activities and Centre Support a part of their programme. Please contact us for further details of how you can join up and add this to your Unit programme as well as learning new skills, satisfying challenge requirements, and fulfilling service activity all at the same time! Contact Ian on 0131 331 1108 initially.

Push the Boat Out

Try Sailing in May

This year the Royal Yachting Association issued a challenge to all water-sport providers and clubs across the country, as part of a nationwide initiative to encourage more people to participate in water-sports. We at Longcraig took up this challenge and held our Push the Boat Out day in May, but aimed this time at adults and leaders, who often miss out on actually participating in the activities when down with their groups and units. To match the tides on the day, we ran from 2pm through to 6pm and finished off with a barbeque in the evening sunshine. Participants came from all over the Region, many of whom had never sailed or kayaked or paddle-boarded before, getting the opportunity to Have a Go!

James Allan, the RYA Scotland Chief executive, was enthusiastic about supporting our event, and about the specific way in which we had chosen to arrange it. Longcraig was visited by a representative from RYA on the day, as well as members of the Regional Executive.

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)