Grand Reunion

On a lovely summer day, 20th July, Longcraig welcomed many people through the doors  – new and old.

New, because our current members brought along a few folks who might wish to help us out in the near future and pass on their skills they have learned in water sports.

Old, because around 50 people gathered together (or came when they could) and a few of these were old enough to have been involved when the first small wooden hut was erected at Longcraig Pier.

The photos show:

Tony Jones (whose father, Dave Jones as Sea Activity Commissioner, was part of the initiative to bring sea activities to the shelter and availability of Longcraig back in 1969) and his wife Pat light the candles depicting 50 years of activities. Tony was a Venture Scout when Longcraig started, and for may years was a qualified sailing instructor on our team.

Tommy Scott, now well over 80, has been a supported of Longcraig since the beginning, alongside his close interest in 7th North East Sea Scout Group. Tommy kindly wielded the Big Knife and cut the cake, appropriately designed and made representing a sandcastle.

Amongst the others who were able to join us, were around three or four who are all turning 50 this year too, so the cake had a particularly special meaning as we wished everyone a very Happy Birthday! At least one visitor flew in from Dublin, just for the day, in order to come back and reminisce with her ex-colleagues!

As it was a particularly nice day (despite the forecast of rain and wind……) a number of folks took advantage of some boat trips, and the chat and BBQ continued well into the evening.

Our thanks also reach out to the Craigalmond ASU team who ably provided a steady supply of soup, tea and coffee throughout the day and then administered the Barbeque and toasts as the afternoon went on.

It was a great way to formally say Thank You to those who have gone before us and who helped int heir own way, to the creation of the Centre we have today – 100,000 Young People later!


In this our 50th Anniversary Year, we are offering the opportunity to try a new activity – the Dutch call it Wadlopen, we call it a Mud Walk!

It only happens about three of four times a year, when we have very large spring tides, and the area where out boats are moored dries out completely. We have about one hour to explore the dried out sea bed and discover some of the wild life (and other things) that lurk there. And you will get a bit muddy…….

This year, as a trial, adults only. It has to take place on Friday 30th August. Low water is 08.18 so we will start off at 7.45am at Longcraig Scout Centre. Tea, coffee and Mississippi Mud Cake available afterwards (and perhaps a bacon roll). There is a nominal charge for this event of £5 all of which will go towards the costs of the anniversary special events. Please contact Ian Harrower if you would like to come along and get your boots muddy.

Exciting times at Bonaly Scout Centre

2019 has been a busy year so far at Bonaly Scout Centre with 9500 visitors from a number of countries including Poland, Germany, Spain, Austria and The Netherlands. Along with all our Scouting and Guiding visitors, we have had schools, youth organisations, corporate team building away days and Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition campers.

In May we had our busiest time of the year so far, and this included Braid District Camp and saw over 700 people visit Bonaly in a single weekend.

Possilpark Children’s Summer Camp came in July for their 33rd year running. It was lovely to see children being dropped off by parents and grandparents who remember being at Bonaly for the same Summer Camp when they were young.

Many groups use Bonaly Scout Centre as a facility to run their own activities. And if you are looking for something to do, we have activities that can be Leader-led with Grass Sledging, Orienteering, and Burn Dipping being very popular. We have a team of instructors who run activities and this year the favourites are High Ropes, Tomahawk Throwing and Archery. Those who hold the relevant Scout archery permit can use our archery range and equipment is available to hire.

We would all like to say a big thank you to our fantastic Active Support Unit, giving so much time and effort to help Bonaly provide the facilities and activities we offer. The Catering Team have fed 243 hungry mouths so far this year, the Tuck Shop Team are loved by the young folks and the Maintenance Team continue to keep the centre working, looking cared for and keeping the grass cut!

What’s coming up?

Later in the year we are hosting the Blair Atholl Jamborette 2020 selection and training camps.

The 1st North Berwick Cubs won our competition to name the new bell tents which replaced the old tipis. They will now be known as The Three Amigos and we are looking forward to the Cubs visit for their prize weekend in September.

Work on the new Amenities Hub is due to start towards the end of the year. It will be located between the Main Field and the Druim field and have showers, toilets, a washing and dish washing area covered by a wooden gazebo and a drying room.

We will be investing £10,000 in new activities for 2020 and these will be a mixture of leader-led and instructor-led.

A Spring Showcase event will be held at Bonaly and we would love to you to come and see how the centre is developing. Dates to follow in September’s newsletter.


And here’s an idea for an activity – the Egg Drop Challenge!

This old classic is one of our favourites here at Bonaly and can easily take place at the scout hall, or anywhere else. Each group is given the challenge to design and construct an EPS (egg protection system) to keep an egg safe when it’s dropped from a height.

You will need a supply of construction equipment and we like to use recycled materials – egg boxes, plastic bags, plastic bottles, newspapers etc. string, sticky tape and blu-tack are also useful. We test the EPS by dropping them from the top of our High Ropes Course but can you use an upstairs window, drop from head height or simply throw it up in the air.

You can make the groups earn their materials by carrying out different tasks such as tying a bowline, singing a song, reciting the law and promise or answering questions in a quiz. Scavenger hunts are always popular and a great way to collect construction materials.

When you’re going to camp, why not give the eggs out at the start, and get the young people to give them a name. If the Egg Drop is one of the last activities, they have to look after their egg all the way through camp! 

A word from Mark Campbell, the new Centre Manager


Three months into my new job now and I would just like to say how welcome I have been made to feel by everyone that I have met. It really is great to be back in Scouting. There is a lot going on at Bonaly at the moment and we are all excited for the future, so there is a real buzz about the place.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for activities, events or anything that we can provide at Bonaly we would love to hear about, and if you haven’t been for a while, please feel free to call in and see what is going on.

Scouts from Edinburgh at the World Scout Jamboree

Scouts from Edinburgh are part of the 5,000 ­members from the UK ­joining 40,000 others to take part in the World Scout ­Jamboree, a skills and adventure festival happening right now in West Virginia.

Two city teenagers have been meeting 45,000 Scouts from nearly every country in the world – sharing their skills while enjoying high adventure in this picturesque part of North America.

The Jamboree is a massive event with a huge campsite described by organisers as ‘roughly the size of the city of Dundee’.

The event offers young people the chance to learn new skills that they can use in other aspects of their life and learn about different cultures from around the world. Ethyn Smith and Sonny Reid have been meeting Scouts from across the world and taking part in exciting activities.

Ethyn, 17, said: “I’ve only been here a few days and I’ve already found out loads about other cultures. Also, my ability to work as part of a team is a skill I’ve taken away from the run up to the Jamboree.”

Sonny, 16, said: “It’s incredible to see the scale of Scouting around the world, and I’ve also learnt new skills from some of the other countries – from ­traditional crafts to new languages.”

The World Scout Jamboree is the culmination of two years of work for the leaders, which has involved camps and team building events preparing the young people for living on a humid site in West Virginia amongst Scouts from nearly every country in the world.

The event was opened by UK Chief Scout Bear Grylls, who said: “World Scout Jamborees only happen every four years and tens of thousands of Scouts attend each one. They are incredible festivals of peace, friendship and adventure. Young people will make friends for life with people from over 150 countries, experience different food, languages and cultures while learning new skills. It will be the journey of a lifetime.

“The 2019 Jamboree, jointly hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico, is set to be one of the biggest and most exciting yet. The theme is “Unlock a new world” – focusing especially on how we can create a sustainable world together.”

Scouts, the world’s largest youth movement, was founded on 1 August 1907 and there are now approximately 40,000 young people involved in Scouting in Scotland. The organisation helps members, both boys and girls, enjoy fun and adventure, while developing skills for life: the practical, character and employability skills they need to succeed. More than 200 activities are offered by Scout troops around the UK, from canoeing and caving to coding and community projects, made possible by the efforts of 163,000 adult volunteers.

This article is taken from the Edinburgh Evening News and is an example of how we can improve the publicity about Scouting – one of our 3 pillars for development: People, Programme and Public Perception!

Read more about the WSJ in next month’s SES Scouts newsletter – here’s our Scout contingent on their last day at the WSJ!

And check out this video of Scouts from Scotland hosting a ceilidh at the WSJ!

John Kennedy, our new Scotland Commissioner (Scout Active Support)

John has been a key person in South East Scotland for many years and we are very proud that he has a new role in Scouts Scotland. Well done, John!

John writes:

As Scotland Commissioner (Scout Active Support), I will provide leadership and strategic direction for Scout Active Support across Scottish Scouting, working with Regions and Districts to promote and develop Scout Active Support, and supporting and advising Scout Active Support Units.

I have more than 40 years’ service in Scouts as an adult volunteer in roles including Section Leader (Scouts and Venture Scouts), International Commissioner, Scout Section Commissioner, District Commissioner and Area Commissioner. I was the first Regional Chair in South East Region, and for the last 8 years have been Treasurer and a Trustee of Scouts Scotland. I have also served six years as a Trustee of The Scout Association.

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

Braid Scouts visit Scottish Parliament and hold investiture there

One of our Friday Night Troop Meetings in May took the form of a visit to the Scottish Parliament which, of course, was built within Braid District (excellent choice).  Our guide and host for the evening was our local MSP, Daniel Johnson, who met us at the front door before guiding us through the necessary security.  As we are planning an overseas trip next year, this was good practice in getting the Scouts to concentrate on what they had to do.

Daniel showed us round the public parts of the building and those reserved for the politicians and staff.  In one of the committee rooms, he explained the purpose and functioning of the committees which gives members of the public the opportunity to present and give evidence to MSPs. 

The final part of the tour was in the magnificent main debating chamber and all the Scouts were able to sit in the seat of an MSP and even those of the ‘heid yins’ before firing questions at Daniel.  This then led to a very special part of the evening for our four youngest Scouts, who had been told to look their very smartest for the evening.  They became the very first Scouts from the 28th to be invested in these grand surroundings and perhaps the first ever Scouts from anywhere.  It was a memorable end to a very interesting evening and we were very grateful to Daniel for giving up his time.

Alan Dickson
Scout Leader, 28th Braid Scout Group