Salmonberry clean-up by Pink Panther and Cramond Explorers

Salmonberry clean-up by Pink Panther and Cramond Explorers

On 19th January, 30 explorer scouts and leaders from Pink Panthers Explorers and Cramond explorers chopped down, pulled up and burned the invasive Salmonberry from Corstorphine hill.

Salmonberry is an incredibly fast-growing invasive plant species which is native to the west coast of America from Alaska all the way to California, meaning it is very versatile and grows easily in very different climates. Salmonberry can become very woody and hard to manage if left to its own devices and sprouts can grow very quickly from the main roots. It may also become difficult for us and animals to walk through if allowed to grow too large. Salmonberry can end up killing the other plants around it as they no longer receive the sunlight they require to grow. It can also prevent plants from growing for the same reasons.  

The Explorers spent the day tirelessly working to pull up these plants and large roots. Everyone got stuck in, especially when burning the Salmonberry!

 They managed to clear a huge area of Corstorphine hill saving many of the native plants and wildlife from this invasive plant and encourages the woods to flourish. Halfway through the day there was a delicious BBQ prepared by the ASU which gave everyone the energy for a final push. Our explorers were rewarded for their efforts with a trip up Corstorphine tower. A huge thank you goes to the rangers and Friends of Corstorphine Hill for allowing us access to the tower itself.

 Many of our explorers also used this project as an opportunity to achieve parts of their platinum or diamond chief scout awards. To achieve these top awards the explorers need to complete either bronze or silver DofE and also 2 or 4 activities on top of that from a list. This Salmonberry clear up gave our explorers the opportunity to research and participate in an environmental project that helps to improve their local environment. As a group we plan to make this project an annual event as although the explorers cleared a huge amount of the salmonberry there is still a lot to do before the incredibly invasive species that is salmonberry is almost completely eradicated, or a lot more tightly controlled, from Corstorphine hill. Hopefully as this gains traction even more young people and leaders from Cramond Explorers and Pink Panthers explorers will participate in this worthwhile event next year.

2nd Haddington Explorer Scouts Bushcraft & Survival Weekend

2nd Haddington Explorer Scouts Bushcraft & Survival Weekend

On Friday 4th October the 2nd Haddington Explorers ventured out to the idyllic location of Bolton Muir Woods, where we spent the weekend wild camping.

When everyone arrived, we spread out and found their ideal location to pitch their tents and hang their hammocks.

Task accomplished, we worked in collaboration to peg out a large parachute where we socialised and ate. Fulfilled, we went to bed.

Saturday morning bright and early we all made our way out of bed, where we ate breakfast and went over the itinerary for the day.

The main jobs for the day were building a table, prepping our meals, collecting/chopping firewood and creating a shelter where we would spend our second night.

The shelter took up the majority of our day as we built a structure out of wood and layered bracken over the top to make it more water resistant and add insulation.

After our achievement we dressed the game and prepped the veg for dinner. Once dinner was finished, we spent a cold and wet night in the shelter.

Once we woke up and finished breakfast, we packed our bags but left our tents for later.

Neville Kilkenny came and educated us about the different types of fungi and how to identify them. After we ventured further into the forest we chopped and cook the edible mushrooms we had collected and had them for our lunch. We didn’t have long left until we had to leave so we packed up the remaining of our equipment and left.

Badge Activity Mapping Charts

Badge Activity Mapping Charts

The 1st Facebook sites for Scouts, Cubs and Beavers are a great source of information and resources for each section

Recently, the following Badge Mapping Charts for Scouts, Cubs and Beavers were posted and the feedback from users both nationally and in our region has been excellent – they can be found below.

If you have any feedback on them, or you want to review the additional resources available you can do so via the relevant 1st Facebook site below – you will need to join the group initially.

Scout Ambassadors Visit Edinburgh

Scout Ambassadors Visit Edinburgh

Scout Ambassadors Phoebe Smith & Dwayne Fields visited Edinburgh on 3 December while on a 1300km journey walking from Dunnet Head to Lizard Point. A group of Explorer Scouts and leaders gathered to hear their story. Their journey takes them from the most northern to the most southern points of mainland Britain over 40 days. Both are raising money and awareness for an expedition to the Antarctic in November 2020 in which they will take a group of disadvantaged young people on an expedition of a lifetime. Two Scouts will also be invited to join the expedition and the selection process will start soon.

Phoebe talked about her upbringing in North Wales. Despite growing up on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, it took a trip to Uluru in Australia to make her realise the value of wild camping and exploring the great outdoors. Phoebe writes books and articles for travel magazines about the joys of wild camping.

Dwayne grew up in Jamaica with his great-grandmother and lived a carefree life spent entirely outdoors as his house had no electricity. At the age of 6 he moved to London to live with his mother and he struggled to fit in. At school he was asked to draw his favourite TV character – but he had never seen TV! Fortunately he was placed at school next to a boy who became his friend and who one night was taken to Cubs by the boy’s mother while she was looking after Dwayne. The Cub leader refused to let Dwayne sit and watch so he joined in and from that point on Scouting changed his life. In a more dramatic twist, Dwayne recalls the moment he was shot at twice by a gang member in a dispute over a bike. It made Dwayne realise that he should spend less time conforming and more time pursuing his dreams. In 2010 Dwayne set himself his first of many challenges, becoming the first black Briton to walk over 400 miles to the magnetic North Pole.

Phoebe and Dwayne described their journey since leaving Dunnet Head on 18 November and the kindness and interesting experiences they have encountered on the way. They are now a third of the way into their journey which ends at Lizard Point on 1 January 2020.

Dwayne was keen to quiz each Explorer on their favourite badges and what they did to achieve them. He also wanted to know what expedition each Explorer is planning. Perhaps hearing about this amazing expedition will persuade those Explorers who attended to go on an amazing expedition of their own in the near future. As Dwayne and Phoebe themselves explained, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams!

Congratulations to Lauderdale Explorer Scout Young Leaders

Congratulations to Lauderdale Explorer Scout Young Leaders

Four Explorer Scout Young Leaders from Lauderdale Scouts recently achieved their Young Leader Belts.

Aksel and Dylan are Explorer Scout Young Leaders for Scouts; Amy and Ellyn are Explorer Scout Young Leaders for Cubs.

To earn their belts, they completed all of their modules. Their missions included a variety of outdoor activities, such as setting up a night hike in Thirlestane Castle grounds in Lauder and organising a litter pick, and indoor activities, such as leading consultations with young people about badge choices/planning and moderating patrol leader forums. 

(Left to right): Dylan, Amy, Ellyn and Aksel.

Network Notes – A great year for the Scout Network

Network Notes – A great year for the Scout Network

Did you know that every member of Scouting aged 18-24 is automatically a member of Scout Network? It is an opportunity for young people in Scouting to continue to develop skills, gain awards, explore the world and make new friends.

2019 has been a busy year for the Scout Network within South East Region.

A number of members joined a group of Networkers from across Scotland in travelling to Madagascar to help upgrade the Madagascar national scout campsite alongside local scouts. They worked hard to gain construction skills ahead of the trip, successfully undertook work on site, and made lasting friendships.

Closer to home members have been engaged in a number of events at a UK and Scottish level, including camps in the Lake District and Dundee, a ceilidh for Burns night, and numerous outdoor activities including kayaking, climbing and hiking.

Within the Region Networks meet on a regular basis to enjoy a range of activities from trampoline parks to board games nights, campfires, local camping, and escape rooms. Networks aim to be inclusive with a range of activities to suit the interests of all members.

Alongside the fun there have also been opportunities to undertake award work, with individuals gaining national activity accreditations as well as working towards top awards within Scouting including the Queens Scout Award. We are looking forward to individuals attending the St Georges Day parade in April in recognition of their QSA successes.

The next international events on the horizon for Networkers in the region include Blair Atholl in 2020 and the next World Scout Moot in 2021. The Moot is similar in emphasis to the World Scout Jamboree, except that all participants are Network age. The Moot is going to be in Ireland, where participants will form patrols with participants from around the world, spend a week on ‘trails’ exploring and enjoying Ireland, before coming together at the base camp to learn about issues affecting young people today. Those who went to the last Moot in Iceland had a life changing experience, and we expect the UK to open to applications in the spring. More information can be found here.

If anyone is interested in engaging with their District Scout Network they should get in touch – the adventure is out there for all young people that are willing to get involved.

Braid District: Laura Gilman District Scout Network Commissioner laurathered@hotmail.com

Borders District: Appointment Imminent

Craigalmond District: dsnl@craigalmond.org.uk

East Lothian District: Hilary Cartwright, District Commissioner dc@eastlothianscouts.org.uk

Edinburgh North East District: Frankie Stanton, District Scout Network Commissioner frstanton999@gmail.com or network@enescouts.org

Midlothian District: Richard Fairbairn, District Commissioner (Acting) richard.fairbairn@midlothianscouts.org.uk

Pentland District: Nathan Baillie, District Scout Network Commissioner nathan.baillie@hotmail.co.uk