A great Scouts Summer Camp 2019 at Ardtalnaig, Loch Tay

Our 2019 Summer Camp was held at one of our favourite sites on a greenfield site at Ardtalnaig on the south shore of Loch Tay.  On the Thursday evening we packed the van with hundreds of pieces of kit including the kitchen sink. We travelled on the Saturday morning in a monsoon and feared that we would have a very wet week as that experienced in 2018. However, thankfully not long after we arrived, the rain ceased. The advance party had managed to do a great job putting up two marquees, two mess tents and numerous leader tents. The 32 Scouts, supported by the Young Leader team, put up the patrol stormhavens and dining shelters as the Leader Team prepared the rest of the camp.

On the Saturday night after, a communal dinner, we introduced our theme of “Famous Pioneers and Pioneering” and assigned Patrols to Neil Armstrong, Roald Amunsden, Christopher Columbus, Amelia Earhart and Edmund Hillary. We also introduced a Camp Challenge – 20 challenges to complete over the week. The Scouts spent the first evening learning about their famous Pioneers and drawing maps and making figurines to represent what they had achieved – the picture of Earhart’s plane was particularly impressive. We finished the first evening with hot chocolate and a camp fire on the beautiful shores of Loch Tay with excellent views of the Lawers mountains.

On Sunday, after the first breakfast cooked by the Scouts, we had our first patrol inspection (to set the camp standards) and then we had our Regatta Day on the Loch. A number of the Sea Scout Leaders arrived and facilitated an excellent day of raft building, kayaking, yachting and power boat riding. The weather was excellent and the Scouts honed their sea scout skills whilst having a fun time. Given the weather we changed our plans and brought forward our backwoods cooking and BBQ meal so we could continue to enjoy the sea scout activity into the evening. We concluded the night with some pioneering skills with the task of building a bridge with only balsa wood as preparation for the next day.

Scout Skills day took up most of Monday as the Scouts developed a range of new skills including axe and saw work, navigation using a very novel approach, tent skills, cooking butter and pioneering which involved building a life size bridge with pioneering poles. In the evening, the Young Leaders had prepared a widegame on the Pioneer Theme which went down very well with the Scouts.

On Tuesday we did Canyoning and Gorging with external leaders – all involved really enjoyed jumping into plunge pools, sliding down waterfalls and undertaking an exciting abseil. In the afternoon the Scouts helped build a monkey bridge with pulleys and ropes across the creek next to the camp. After another evening meal cooked by the Scouts, they were given a couple of hours to focus on their Camp Challenge – and the competitiveness was certainly on show,

On Wednesday the older Scouts were due to go on their overnight expedition but the weather forecast of severe thunder and lightning put paid to that so we hastily changed our plans and went to Aberfeldy where we went on a walk to the Birks of Aberfeldy, swam in the local swimming pool, played in the local park before heading back to the camp. We had fish and chips as a storm broke and drenched the camp once again. We improvised the evening entertainment with a “Cramond Scouts Got Talent” evening with lots of sketches, comedy routines and songs – some budding stars were found.

The weather forecast for later in the day/overnight Thursday was not much better with thunder and lightning forecast so the Leaders took the sensible decision to cancel the overnight expedition and undertake a day walk in the hills above the camp. The younger scouts went on a walk to the lower hills above Achran where we visited a Hermits Cave, had lunch at a historic Stone Circle before returning via the excellent Achran falls. In the evening the younger Scouts searched for “unlabelled” tins for their dinner – meatballs, hot dogs, tomato soup, peaches and prunes were the best find!! The older Scouts pitched their expedition tents at the far end of camp and cooked their own expedition meals. In the evening the Scouts painted their own faces on ping pong balls before racing them down the creek – we ensured none ran down into the loch.

We started to strike camp on Friday, taking the dining shelters down in dry weather. The Young Leaders then brought together a great “Olympics” with much competition to try to gain those points which would win the prizes.

In the evening, Karen, our camp cook, prepared a superb Pioneer Themed banquet meal of Columbus Melon Boat, Corn on the Cob with Earhart Bread & Butter, Hillary Mountain of mash, chicken and veg, followed by Amundsen Polar Cone and Armstrong space dust – 50 portions all made in the middle of a field!!! Our guest of honour was (Lady) Fiona Black with an unscheduled attendance by Lord Hector Black.

Another successful sleepover for Pencaitland Beavers!

Despite the wet weather, the 6th Annual Pencaitland Beaver Sleepover went ahead on 9 August at the Carriage House in Pencaitland.

Thirteen beavers, some of them spending their first night away from home, bunked down at the Carriage House after an evening comprising a barbecue, a (very muddy) nature walk in the Winton Estate, making mini clay monsters and cooking: ‘smores’, chocolate bananas and toasting marshmallows.  We also made get well cards for our assistant Beaver leader, Bede, who was badly injured in an accident over the Summer; get well soon Bede! 

The evening was brought to an end with a campfire and enthusiastic renditions of ‘Heads, Shoulder, Knees and Toes’ and, rather appropriately, ‘Singing in The Rain.’ 

After an early breakfast, the Beavers played team games in the Carriage House courtyard between showers, before a few rounds of the obligatory camp game  ‘Are these your socks?’ Once packed up, the Beavers devoured a snack of juice, fruit and crisps and we split into two groups for crafts (printing and making bookmarks) before coming back together to put up a tent. 

Parents arrived to pick up their charges just as the rain stopped.  Another successful sleepover to kick off a new term of Beavers in Pencaitland was in the bag!

David Donohoe, Beaver Leader, East Lothian District

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

Iain Gray, MSP for East Lothian visits East Lothian Beavers

Iain has risen to the challenge and has agreed to complete the Scouts Scotland Youth Advocacy Award which is an award from Scouts Scotland exclusively for MSPs who are committed to raising issues related to young people in the Scottish Parliament.

He is working towards his Youth Advocacy Award by completing a number of activities in the same way all Scouts do for their badges. These actions have been chosen and designed by young people in Scouting.

He visited and joined in helping with 1st North Berwick Scout Group – Monday Beavers on 3rd June 2019 which is one of activities towards his award.

He helped our Beavers with their camp preparation which included, learning some songs with actions around our indoor campfire, helping the Beavers Scouts decide what to pack for camp so that the  Beavers can “Be Prepared“, how to unpack and pack their sleeping bag, learning how to make a reef knot and the tradition of having a Scout camp blanket. Some Beavers discussed in detail with what activities they did to earn their Personal challenge badge.

# skills for life packing up your sleeping bag 

His visit also took place during National Volunteers Week and it was a great opportunity for him to find out about the work that all our volunteers do on a weekly basis across East Lothian.

As an East Lothian MSP, he was presented with an East Lothian District Scout Necker by Hilary Cartwright, Group Scout leader, 1st North Berwick and Deputy District Commissioner of East Lothian Scout District.

1st North Berwick Scout Group wishes him well as he continues to raise issues on behalf of young people in East Lothian in the Scottish Parliament and as he strives to achieve his award.

Explorer Scouts invested into their Unit afloat on Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP)

Two Explorer Scouts from Earlston were invested as Explorers standing atop Paddleboards which they had just learned to master, during the recent Borders water activity weekend. More photos and a full report in next month’s newsletter!

REMEMBER: Were you involved in any way with Longcraig Scout Centre at any time?

 

Or anyone you know??

We have been in touch with a good number of the folks who have helped out at Longcraig in previous years, in any capacity. But we know there are many more that we have lost touch with (or may have lost touch with us). If you know of anyone, can you please point them to a new dedicated e-mail address we have set up, to get in touch.

reunion@longcraig.info

or directly to: ian.harrower2@virgin.net

Please pass this snippet of information on to anyone you know who may not have direct access to this newsletter!

We are planning a reunion and celebration event in July specially for these very important people so need to get in touch with anyone we have missed very soon!