ScotJam on Tour 2021

It’s great to be back! ScotJam on Tour 2021 on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th July 2021 was a resounding success with 120 young people enjoying fun in the sun at Bonaly Scout Centre.

This year’s ScotJam was a completely new event due to COVID-19. ScotJam is normally an annual event, previously held at Scout Adventures Lochgoilhead, but this year the ScotJam experience was brought to the South East region – Bonaly Scout Centre – as part of a series of 8 regional events. Introducing ScotJam on Tour!

What is ScotJam?
Action-packed events like ScotJam have been limited over the past year due to COVID however with restriction changes we had the chance to offer our young people a chance to try new activities, develop new skills, and create lifelong memories. By hosting ScotJam on Tour in the South East, we were able to host a collaborative Regional event including 120 young people – Cubs (60) and Scouts (60) and adult volunteers – from across the 7 Districts bringing the adventure to as many as was possible in line with current Scottish Government guidance and Scouts Scotland readiness levels. We understand we were unable to accommodate everyone who applied, but we’re already working on ideas. More information will be shared soon!

ScotJam activities:
ScotJam on Tour at the Bonaly Scout Centre showcased the full range of activities at the 24-acre site to the South of Edinburgh at the foot of the Pentland hills. Events ran from 10am to 7.30pm both days, with a range of adventure activities tailored to Cubs or Scouts which included: Climbing, Burns Scramble, Archery, Tomahawk Throwing, Camouflage Tracking, Nightline and so much more including wide games and a campfire.

ScotJam was an amazing experience for everybody; participants and volunteers. It exemplified what we do best in Scouting, providing amazing, adventurous experiences and bringing young people and adults together who would otherwise not have an opportunity to meet.

The ScotJam on Tour team is unique in that it is formed of local volunteers, national volunteers, Scout Adventures staff, Bonaly Centre staff and also included external providers. One of the notable elements of ScotJam is the excellent staff team spirit, formed from the tremendous level of co-operation and comradeship that exists. True to the ideals of Scouting, everybody was willing to help other people. A big thanks to our brilliant volunteer group who made the two-day event go so smoothly.

For everybody at ScotJam, the safety and supervision of the participants was always our primary concern. The personal standards and example set by leaders makes a significant contribution towards this.

Message from Martin Elliot, Regional Commissioner:

It was great to see so many young people enjoying Scouting together at Bonaly Scout Centre during ScotJam on Tour. By focusing on a high-quality programme in Scouting – including ScotJam on Tour – we can build on our success and continue to recover and grow as a movement. We need more young people and volunteers to come with us on our growth journey. We help 6,000 young people aged 6-25 years old annually to step up, speak up and gain the skills they need to succeed in life. But it can only happen with the help of our adult volunteers. We have approximately 2,000 leaders and adult supporters. Volunteering’s not just about giving back – it goes both ways. It improves your wellbeing, gives you skills for the future, and helps you make new friends and memories.

You don’t need to be Bear Grylls to join us. You don’t need to have been a Scout when you were younger. You don’t even need to know how to put up a tent! Our door is open to people of all ages, genders, races and backgrounds, and we’re only able to change lives because people like you lend a hand. We’re talking about tea makers, tidy-uppers and skill sharers. We’re talking about mini bus drivers and first aiders. We’re talking about students who want to boost their CV, and parents who volunteer so they can spend more time together as a family.

Whatever your skillset, lend a hand for as little or as much time as you can spare, and we promise you’ll get more out than you put in. Because whether you’re helping a leader to run an activity in the local town hall, organising a night away, or buttering slices of bread for a group of very hungry eleven year olds – no two Scouting meetings are the same. The difference you make, though, is always great. Don’t worry we provide the necessary training. You show up, get stuck in, and make memories for life.  Sounds fun? Worthwhile? It is! Why not read some volunteer stories or watch a short video here and get in touch to find out more how you can gain skills while helping others –

Scouting encourages young people to be the best that they can be. At ScotJam on Tour everyone enjoyed fun, friendship and outdoor adventure. The young people were able to develop their leadership and teamwork skills, make new friends, develop their confidence and a sense of determination and drive to achieve. Now we want to do more.

You look like a role model: What can I do for Scouts and what can Scouts do for me?

Volunteering is so rewarding and we need your help. Whether you want to work with young people directly or help behind the scenes, whatever your skills, experience and interests, we can find a role for you! All our volunteers end up making a huge difference to young people’s lives – gifting them with skills for life, and learning a whole lot about themselves along the way. Start your volunteer journey here

South East Scotland Scouts Expense Claims Process

Claims for expenses must be submitted as soon as possible after the event and not less frequently than monthly.

All claims should be claimed using the online Expenses Claim Form on the South East Scotland Website

Guide to Completion of Expense Form

  1. Enter personal details – name, role, e-mail address. These are required fields.
  2. Enter all expenses except mileage claims in the Expense Claims (exc. Mileage) table. Each individual expense claims should be entered on a new line. To add additional lines press the + icon.  
  3. Enter the total value of all expenses in the table in the “Total Expense Claims (exc. Mileage)” field
  4. Use the Receipts file upload to upload copies of any receipts or additional documents relating to your claim.
  5. Enter all mileage claims in the Mileage Claims table. Each individual trip being claimed should be entered on a new line. To add additional lines press the + icon. 
  6. Enter the total number of miles being claimed in the “Quantity” field. The value of the mileage claim will be automatically calculated and added to any non-mileage claims entered on the form to calculate the Total Expense Claim.
  7. If it is your first expenses claim or if you have a new bank account complete the Bank Account Details section.
  8. Tick the Authorisation to confirm that the expenses being claimed relate to Regional work.
  9. Complete the details of the Authoriser. For expenses relating to Scouting provision, including events, programme, training, badges and communications, the Regional Commissioner should authorise them. For governance costs the Regional Chair should authorise them. If someone other than these 2 roles is authorising the expense, their e-mail address is required. 
  10. Press Submit

On Submission of the form you should receive a confirmation message. The form will be sent to both:

  • the Authoriser e-mail that you specify asking them to authorise the expense claim
  • the Regional Finance team who will process the claim on confirmation from the authoriser

If you have any questions on this process please e-mail the Regional Treasurer at

Thanks to Mike and Simon and Welcome to Kirstie

Thanks to Mike and Simon and Welcome to Kirstie

As reported in last month’s Newsletter, our new Scouting Support Officer is Kirstie Armsworth who will commence in role from 5th July 2021. Kirstie’s details are as follows: 


Tel: 07710 703 372

Kirstie will take over from Mike Treanor who undertook the role from July 2019 until recently. Mike had this to say about his time in role:  

“I really enjoyed being the Scouting Support Officer for South East Scotland Region, working with so many great people across the Region, helping to support our adult volunteers give our young people Skills for Life and great experiences. My focus initially was on recruitment of adult volunteers but, with the COVID Pandemic, that focus turned towards supporting leaders and other volunteers to navigate the new requirements like risk assessments as well as supporting virtual programme planning. Latterly, I supported recruitment activity for the Regional Office, adult volunteers across the Region and for Longcraig and Bonaly Scout Centres. I would like to thank Margery Naylor, our previous Regional Commissioner, for her support during year one and to Martin Elliot our current RC for his more recent support; to Graeme Robertson for his wise counsel; to the District Commissioners and their deputies for their engagement and help; to the wider Regional Leadership Team and finally to the many, many passionate Scouting volunteers across the Region who I worked with during the two years. I look forward to working with you in a volunteer capacity going forward”  

Thanks from Martin Elliot, Regional Commissioner

I think I speak for many within the Region when I thank Mike for the work that he has done in the two years he has been Scouting Support Officer. The number of messages of thanks and tributes to Mike on social media on his last day highlight how many members of the Region, both adult volunteers and young people, have benefitted from his support and show what an invaluable asset to Scouting in South East Scotland he has been. The work that Mike has done to support adult volunteers over the last two years has had a big impact and in particular the way that Mike was able to so quickly switch focus to support with Virtual Scouting when COVID hit and still managed to recruit new volunteers when we could only meet virtually helps to explain why South East Scotland was able to weather the pandemic better than many others. On a personal level I have benefited hugely from Mike’s wise counsel as I took on the Regional Commissioner role and am glad that he will continue to support the Region in a voluntary capacity.

I wish you all the best for your (well earned) retirement.

Thank You Simon

As some of you will be aware, Simon Cocker stepped down as Deputy Regional Commissioner for South East Scotland at the end of June as he prepares to move to pastures new south of the Border although he will still be around the Region for a while yet with some of his other hats on!

I wanted to take this opportunity to express my thanks to Simon for all of the work that he has done in his time on the Regional team during which he has made a huge contribution to the work of the Region both as Deputy RC but also as Acting RC during the recent vacancy. Simon has played a leading role in driving forward the Programme pillar of the Regional Strategy and as part of this has been heavily involved in the SEEE (South East Explorer Expeditions) group and did a large amount of work leading working groups looking at Transitioning Pathways and Top Awards which have made good progress in supporting these areas of the programme. Personally, I will miss his support and guidance, which I have benefitted hugely from, but I know that the infrastructure that he has put in place mean that the work that he has done will continue to have an influence on Scouting in SE Scotland for a long time to come.

So, thank you Simon for all that you have done and I wish you and Diane every happiness as you move onto pastures new.

Martin Elliot
Regional Commissioner

Bonaly Scout Centre Update July 2021

Bonaly Scout Centre Update July 2021

Scouting returns to Bonaly


Now that we are allowed to offer camping at the Centre it’s been great to see a number of groups enjoying the facilities. The Pink Panther Explorers had a great camp at Bonaly a couple of weeks ago. Fraser Dunmore sad “it was amazing to get back to camp where life is always a lot simpler. The explorers played wide games, chilled out the round fire, cooked pizza, took part in crate climbing, invested 7 new explorers into our unit, what’s not to love? Bring on summer camp in August!”

Epic Days

More than 3,000 Primary 7 pupils visited Bonaly Scout Centre during May and June for an innovative initiative run by the Centre and the Outdoor Learning Team at the City of Edinburgh Council.

During the pandemic, and in line with Scottish Government guidance, there have been no P7 residential trips to the council’s outdoor learning centres at Lagganlia and Benmore. The Council team decided to bring the outdoor activities to the city and provide a taste of the full residential experience in one extended day.

Pupils took part in a variety of activities such as hillwalking in the Pentland Hills, archery, climbing wall, bushcraft, crate- stack, nightline and low ropes course. This was followed by an al fresco hot meal, games and a camp fire.

Peter Casebow, Chair of the Bonaly Scout Centre, said:” It has been fantastic over the last few weeks to see and hear Bonaly Scout Centre full of young people having fun and learning again. The hard work by the team at Council in partnership with ourselves has really paid off.”.

ScotJam 2021

Planning is progressing well for the ScotJam events to be held at Bonaly Scout Centre on 17th and 18th July. Over the two days, 120 Cubs and Scouts will undertake a range of outdoor activities around the centre followed by games, dinner and a camp-fire. We will tell you how it went in our next newsletter.

Royal Visit

At the end of June, Bonaly was proud to host the Earl of Forfar and the team from Duke of Edinburgh Scotland to showcase their work to His Royal Highness. 

The Earl of Forfar and Lord Lieutenant being welcomed to Bonaly

SEEE Expeditions Successes

SEEE Expeditions Successes

The SEEE (South East Explorer Expedition) Team have completed an epic series of three Silver Qualifier and Gold Practice DofE hillwalking expeditions in June.

Expedition 1

19 Explorers from Braid (Greenbank), Borders (Lauderdale & Tweedglen) & Craigalmond (Pink Panthers) successfully completed their DofE Silver Qualifying Expedition on 11th to 13th June. Perfect weather, superb views, fantastic teamwork and the joy of being out there and being able to camp again all added to a great experience for everyone. Many thanks to the 9 leaders on the hill and 6 other leaders making sure all logistics were in place. Special thanks to Janet Paterson for being Leader in Charge.


Expedition 2

20 Explorers and Networkers successfully completed their DofE silver qualifying/gold practice in the Trossachs on 18th to 20th June. Their Units and Districts – Greenbank (Braid), Craigalmond (Cramond and Pink Panthers), East Lothian (East Linton) and Midlothian (Gorebridge) can be very proud of them as they overcame some challenging terrain, wet weather on Saturday and 2 nights of midge fest camps to achieve this great feat. Excellent teamwork, collaboration, persistence and a great sense of humour, as well as appreciating the great outdoors, were all evidenced by the participants. Many thanks to the 8 leaders on the expedition and another 6 supporting making sure the expedition ran. Special thanks also to Neil Wotherspoon for being Leader in Charge.


Expedition 3

20 Explorers and Networkers from Craigalmond, Midlothian and Braid successfully completed the third DofE silver qualifying/gold practice in the Borders on 25th to 27th June. Following an initial bright day which saw the three groups commence their expedition including a traverse through a very dark and creepy Neidpath Castle tunnel, they had to endure a cold and wet second day navigating over complex terrain with very limited visibility followed by camp at a beautiful, midge infested, campsite on the edge of a Loch, capped off with a bright and warm final day trek. Many thanks to the 8 leaders on the expedition and another 5 supporting plus special thanks to Hector Black for being Leader in Charge.


Well done to all involved – a magnificent effort. Now a short rest before the Gold Expeditions in August and September.

31st Pentland Grow with new Beaver Section

31st Pentland Grow with new Beaver Section

As a relatively new Group Scout Leader at 31st Pentland I am delighted to report that we have managed to ‘buck the trend’ of declining numbers and let you know that we have not only managed to start up a second Beaver Colony, but also boost our numbers of leaders.

We have managed to recruit the following adult volunteers to our team: –

  • Paul Bluefield (Section Assistant, Tuesday Cubs)
  • Donald John Morrison (Assistant Beaver Scout Leader, Wednesday Beavers)
  • Hazel McCormack (Assistant Beaver Scout Leader, Wednesday Beavers)
  • Millie Addison (Assistant Beaver Scout Leader, Wednesday Beavers – former YL)
  • Kenny Milton (Beaver Scout Leader, Thursday Beavers)
  • Chris Laing (Assistant Beaver Scout Leader, Thursday Beavers)

So please join me in welcoming all these new adults who have stepped up to help us continue to run our existing sections and set up our new Beaver colony.

Our set up at 31st was 1 Beaver Colony, 2 Cub Packs and 1 Scout section.  We were aware that we had a bit of a hefty waiting list, but we did not have visibility of it until Mary Dick (Cub Scout Leader, Monday) created a joining list on OSM.  Once that was set up and we had visibility, I was a bit concerned at just how many youngsters we had waiting for Beavers and often, they would remain there until a space became available at Cubs and by then, they had often lost interest in Scouting.

I reached out to our Exec Chair to see if we had capacity to set up an additional Beaver Colony and emailed out to all parents on the waiting list to see if there were any possible leaders willing to take it on.

Fortunately, two parents stepped up (Kenny and Chris), a new Young Leader came forward (Katie Dew). and we had some availability in the hall on a Thursday evening.   In addition, Elaine Mason and Millie Addison agreed we could ‘crib’ the Wednesday Beaver programme, and they volunteered to lead our new section between them to get us started.  So, on a very rainy 20th May, we welcomed 8 new Beavers to go Pond Dipping led by Millie with myself, Kenny, Chris, and Katie supporting.  The following week, we were up to 11, and by the 3rd of June we were up to 13!

We have run a variety of programmes, with Elaine, Millie or me taking the lead.  Feedback from Beavers and parents has been incredibly supportive and positive, and I constantly have a wee smile on my face at how everyone in 31st has pulled together to get this new section up and running.  After the summer holidays, we may have an additional two Assistant Beaver Scout Leaders joining our Thursday team to allow me to step back from being so actively involved, and we have offered out 4 additional spaces all of which have been accepted.  We plan a joint Wednesday and Thursday summer planning session taking into account feedback from the Log Chews held with our Beavers prior to end of term.

It just remains for me to say a huge thank to the whole leadership team at 31st for their welcome and support since I started back in September 2020.  I have been so impressed with the whole team have ensuring that our young people have experienced no gaps in their Scouting throughout the pandemic.


In addition, Mark Gordon (ADC Beavers), Keith Bryce (Pentland DC) and Martin Elliot (SES Regional Commissioner) all braved an incredibly rainy Thursday evening on 24th June to help provide the Thursday Beavers and their families a fun activities evening, a sausage sizzle, and an absolutely epic water fight.  It seems that the Beavers, parents, and Young Leader assumed the adult leadership team were the fairest game of all – soaked doesn’t begin to describe how wet we ended up!  Huge thanks to Mark, Keith, and Martin for being brilliant volunteers and tremendous sports.

Aileen Deas
GSL 31st Pentland