Win a free weekend in the new Bell Tents at Bonaly!

Can you think of a great name for the new Bell Tents camp at Bonaly?

Involve your young people in our competition and win a free weekend for your Beaver or Cub section!

Please send your suggestions for names to Neil Hogg, Assistant Regional Commissioner (Section Support – Cub Scouts), at

Neil is going to chair the panel which decides the winning name. We would like to have a name with instant appeal to young people. So how about something such as Battlefield Camp, or Stargazer Camp, or Aztec Camp, or Touareg Tents? You tell us what your young people think!

Our tepees have reached the end of the working life and we have replaced them with three Bell Tents. They are available for those camps where you want the outdoor experience without the hassle of pitching tents. These are particularly attractive for Beaver (or any) one night sleep overs.

The three Bell Tents are permanently erected on decking platforms.  There are 2 Bell Tents which sleep 6 persons in each and 1 Bell Tent which sleeps 10 persons. Camping mats are supplied. There is a site hut for cooking or storing equipment, and a small campfire area with seating. There is also an area for erecting more tents. More information at or at the Bonaly office: 0131 441 1878.

Closing dates for entries is Sunday 5 May 2019. Don’t delay – get thinking now!

John Bruce, Manager Bonaly Scout Centre, and Neil Hogg, ARC Cubs  

Graham Carrington – Acting Regional Advisor (International)

We are delighted to announce that Graham has agreed to be our Regional Adviser (Acting) because Diane Marshall has given up this role while she focuses on being the Manager of the Bonaly ASU and DRC. Thank you, Diane, very much indeed for all the work you have put into supporting our International expeditions.

Graham is a member of the SHQ International Support team with responsibility for Visits Abroad Compliance – this includes training people on the workings of the Visits Abroad process, signing off SHQ trips & providing support to anyone who comes looking for it in relation to Visits Abroad. Professionally Graham is a Business and Systems Analyst with a love of tea.

Graham has been a member of the movement since being a Beaver; internationally he’s concentrated on the trips with Adventurous Activities, going to Norway, Italian, French & Swiss Alps & Greenland (amongst others). Currently he’s a member of the leadership team for the SHQ trip to Madagascar. Weekly he’s an Assistant Explorer Scout Leader in West Lothian and a D of E advisor in his home of West Lancashire (Englandshire).

Whilst this is only a temporary appointment Graham is very much looking forward to assisting leaders from SE region in providing quality, compliant &, most importantly, safe Visits Abroad. For more information on the Visits Abroad process; what it is, when you need to follow it etc. please see the SHQ Supporting Document.

We are sure everyone in the Region will join us in welcoming Graham and thanking him very much indeed for taking on this really important role for us, while we look for someone to step up to being our RA (I).

Any volunteers?

Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner

Bonnyrigg Scouts’ Extreme Survival Camp

Seven Scouts and one Explorer from Bonnyrigg took part in an Extreme Survival Camp over the weekend 8-10 February.

Five of the group assembled at Currie Wood, across the river from the Midlothian District campsite at Borthwick, on the Friday afternoon. Leaders Peter Hyde from Bonnyrigg and Adrian Marchant from Penicuik were on hand to show the Scouts how to survive the weekend without many of the camping aids which Scouts might take for granted.

Scouts crossing the river to their first night’s campsite

The first task was to build a shelter for the night by stretching a rope between two trees and covering it with a tarpaulin to make it keep those sleeping under it dry all night.

Then the Scouts were shown how to start a fire without matches and they soon learned to gather enough wood to keep it going in order to cook their dinner and keep them warm all evening.

Dinner was squirrel which was supplied by a specialist game dealer. The Scouts were shown how to prepare the squirrel and cook it into a stew with vegetables to make a good evening meal. Fortunately, they managed to achieve this during daylight hours although this meant that the rest of the evening was spent keeping each other’s company around the fire until an early night beckoned.

Saturday morning saw a 6am start with the fire restarted and breakfast underway. Striking camp, the Scouts had to work out how they were going to walk cross country to Saturday night’s campsite on the edge of Fala Moor.

Scouts planning their route from Borthwick to Fala

The Scouts set off in good heart and hiked across farmland for a distance of 4 miles. Permission had been obtained from the farmers en route and at least one helped the Scouts on their way.

Scouts reach the second night’s campsite

Arriving at the edge of Fala Moor the Scouts found that their second night’s campsite was in a forest with plenty of tree cover. This time the Scouts could choose to bivouac under the trees and together they set up camp in the forest.

Three Scouts and Erika joined the group for the Saturday night 

Three more Scouts joined the group for the Saturday night. One 10-year old had only been a Scout for three weeks and this was his first camp. Leader Erika Pryde from Bonnyrigg also joined the group for the second night.

Two fires were quickly lit and dinner prepared. On the menu tonight was woodpigeon which was prepared after instruction from the leaders and cooked into a stew with vegetables. S’mores followed for dessert and the fire. Scouts quickly learn that a spoon does nearly everything!

Dinner was interrupted by a visit from the District Commissioner who found the 8 young people in good heart and enjoying their survival experience. The Scouts found that this sort of camp is very demanding at times and at other times, especially in the evening, they had to amuse themselves as a lot of time was spent doing nothing. None of this deterred any of the Scouts from enjoying the experience.

Spelling “Scouts” with sticks from the fire

The Scouts all learned essential survival skills over the weekend. They camped outside without tents, used knives to gut and prepared meat for stew, and they learned to light fires without matches. They planned their route across country to wild camp on the Saturday evening.

The weather was kind to the Scouts this year but in past years the camp has taken place in several feet of snow. Who knows what weather next year’s camp might experience? The Scouts learned how to keep warm and dry and also the importance of gathering sufficient wood to keep a fire burning. Water is a precious commodity which had to be collected and used sparingly.

The Scouts learnt a lot and were encouraged to think outside the box. Information came thick and fast and the Scouts were encouraged to bring a small note book and pen for the day when they find themselves teaching these skills to other Scouts. Peter still has his notebook from his survival skills training and he still refers to it regularly.

Big thanks go to Peter Hyde for organising the event and getting permissions from the landowners involved. Thanks too to Adrian and Erika for supporting the event and giving eight young people the opportunity to earn their Survival Skills Badge. Photo Credits: Adrian Marchant

Martin Browne, District Commissioner, Midlothian District

Welcome to Bill Ramsay, Deputy District Commissioner

I am looking forward to the challenges of the role of Deputy District Commissioner and supporting Rob.

My scouting started as a Cub, a Scout, a Venture Scout and Assistant Cub Scout Leader at 71st Ayrshire in the village of Skelmorlie.  With work bringing me to Edinburgh, I became ACSL and then CSL at 7th Leith.

After a short work related break from scouting, I returned to Scouting as Assistant District Treasurer and have spent the last 3 years as Chair of the District Appointments Committee and Training Administrator (for the past year).

Outside of scouting I am a Principal Information Analyst for the NHS supporting the Health & Social Care Partnerships and GP Practices in East, Mid and West Lothian. I am also involved with Bowls in the city and was Secretary of the Edinburgh Bowling League for 6 years.

Bill Ramsay, Deputy District Commissioner, Edinburgh North East District

Scottish Youth Parliament Elections 2019

We are getting in touch with you ahead of this year’s Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) Election. This year we would like to make the election process as democratic and as youth-led as possible. We hope that you will able to help us and we have outlined some information below about how we hope to achieve this.

The SYP Elections will take place from 10am on Friday 15th of March 2019 and run until 2pm on 29th of March 2019. For the elections, we will be using an online voting system provided by the Scottish Youth Parliament. The online system will allow our young people to log on using a temporary number issued to them and cast their vote for their preferred candidate. When all votes are cast, the system will automatically provide the result. The results will be announced from 4pm onwards on 29th March 2019.

We currently have four candidates for the election; candidate profiles will soon be available to view. We will be promoting the candidates via our e-news, website and social media. The candidates will also be promoting themselves.

Early in March we hope to provide you with more information about the election and we will also provide you with enough temporary numbers for Explorer Scouts and Network Members in your District. We hope that you will then distribute these numbers to your members so that they can participate in the elections. In areas where there is no DESC or DSNC in post then we may need to distribute the temporary numbers to District Commissioners. We will also be communicating with Explorer Scout Leaders to highlight that they election is taking place and to encourage them to contact to you to help you to distribute numbers.

However, we are aware that sometimes when pulling off data from compass there may be Explorer Scout Leaders, DESCs, or DSNCs who do not appear within our search and we are limited in our ability to communicate with them, if you know of any leaders etc… who may not get this communication then please do pass this information on. We will also do our best to share on the numerous private Facebook groups such as the DC group and Explorer Scout Leaders group in order to communicate this as widely as possible.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about how the election will work then please get in touch with Janis (details below).  


Thank you,

Scott (SHQ Commissioner Explorer Scouts) and Janis (Media and Public Affairs Officer)  

Janis McCulloch
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Scouts Scotland

 My working days are Monday – Thursday

 01383 661053 | 07498997586

Are you up to date with your Safeguarding training?

If not, please sign up now for a course, just click on If none are available or suit you, just contact your District Commissioner or ADC Training to ask me for a safeguarding course to be run. We can run a course in any District whenever we are asked!

It has been a busy year for safeguarding trainers in South East Scotland. 15 courses were delivered in 2018 and 3 have already been completed and another one planned so far this year. Courses have taken place in Galashiels, Hawick, Selkirk, Cardrona, Dalkeith and several Edinburgh venues. 224 adults were trained during 2018.

A new safeguarding course is being rolled out from the end of March 2019, once all trainers have completed their “Train the Trainer” course. The course is much improved and covers more current topics.

Generally, Scouting is a safe environment for young people and adult members. The Safeguarding Team and the Regional Leadership Team are committed to making sure that Scouting is enjoyable and safe for everyone who takes part. 

It is the policy of The Scout Association to safeguard the welfare of all members. It is also important to understand that all members have a duty to report any suspicions of safeguarding issues through their line management. Remember the myth that ‘It can’t happen here’. It can, and does, so we fail the young people in our care if we do not pass on concerns.

It is important to understand that Nights Away camps will not be approved if your safeguarding, first response or safety training modules are not up to date. It is also good practice to provide parent helpers or parents attending a group camp with copies of both the yellow and green cards.

Finally, I would like to thank my team of trainers who freely give up their time to travel large distances on occasion to deliver these courses.

Russell Shoulder
Safeguarding Awareness Coordinator.