As of June 1st, it is officially summer!

Although not much sign of it, following the frostiest, but driest, April for many years, we then had the wettest and perhaps coldest May for many years!

Hardly conducive to water activities, but the last few days of May have brought renewed hope in several ways.

First – the sun came out and it warmed up!

Second – the rain has gone away – for a few days at least!

Finally – the COVID restrictions continue to slacken bit by bit and open up increasing possibilities of being able to offer and provide meaningful activities on the water once again!

Longcraig appears on national BBC TV!

The visit of a SEI Whale to Longcraig in April sparked much attention at the time, and was subsequently also shown on BBC’s Springwatch programme last week. You will be able to see Longcraig, as it was beamed nationwide, by going to Springwatch in iPlayer. The relevant piece is about 18.5 minutes in from the start.

The SEI Whale is the third largest whale in the world, and can grow to as large as 19.5m.

A spokesman from the Forth Mammals Marine group said that the Sei Whale has got a very upright dorsal fin in comparison to most other whales we see, and that’s what helped identify it.

There have only been around nine previous sightings of this type of whale in Scotland in the last 50-years, so it’s quite rare.

We were honoured to be visited by such a majestic sea creature and honoured to be televised nationwide as well!

Photo taken by Sidonie and Agathe Mather


During April and May, our new volunteers have now met up at Longcraig and been able to see what our facilities are, and get a glimpse of what we do. We very much look forward to integrating these new willing and eager people into our team and we hope you will be able to meet them yourselves as soon as we are allowed to do so!

But it’s not too late, if you missed any of the events earlier – to come and see yourself what might be involved. It doesn’t even have to involve being in or on the water – we have loads of opportunities for people who don’t like the water, to help with the running of both land activities and the running of a busy and bustling activity centre.

Please get in touch if you would like a quick chat through what’s available – send an e-mail to to get started.

RE-OPENING in 2021 – Latest update

The relaxation of the lockdown rules during April and May continues, in a slow and controlled way, and start to give us some clarity and a brighter light coming on at the end of the tunnel.


During May we made the first careful steps back into Longcraig and have made some progress in restoring the Centre to a usable condition. There is more work to do, which we plan to continue over the coming weeks to get the ASU members – our instructors and activity leaders – back into action – remembering that most of them have also not been in or on a boat for well over 18 months now too!

At this stage much of our activity will focus on training courses, permit assessments, and such like – these can be done with smaller numbers but help us prepare better by having more trained and qualified people, which in turn means that when the time comes, we can offer our range of activities to a wider audience.

But not all of Water Activities have to take place at Longcraig, and although there are rules, we need to follow as regards the full re-opening of the Centre, there are numerous possibilities where we may be able to help scouts take part in water activities. These could be at your camps or events – if you are planning to have one of those – or it could be simply an evening or day activity somewhere. We can bring boats and equipment and the expertise; you can help us find your favourite spot to do these things.

Alternatively, for those who have the necessary experience and appropriate skills, we can hire out most of our equipment for your own use either as smaller groups of scouts or even for family use, which can still enable some young people to experience the fun and adventure out on the water.

If this is something you are interested in, please use our contact e-mail at to make enquiries.

Water Classifications update – a reminder

Just a reminder to everyone as you start to plan summer activities – whether locally here, or elsewhere in Scotland or UK – all waters used for boating purposes throughout the UK are listed in an online document known as the National Directory of Waters. This is to give guidance to Scouts across the land to help plan activities and to determine what qualifications and permits are needed for particular pieces of water.

The entries pertinent to the waters around South East Region have recently been updated, and these, along with all the rest of the Directory, can be found at the following link:

Waterways | Scouts

All scouting activities on the water should make reference to this directory before firming up plans to participate.

Activity Permits

Despite the pandemic and the periods of lockdown during the past year and a bit, the clock still ticks by on the validity period of every Activity Permit held by members of Scouting. You need to apply for a renewal well in time before your permit actually expires, otherwise you are not authorised to lead these activities! Applications for new or renewed Permits continue in the same process as before, but some of the ongoing restrictions and limitations put in place due to COVID mean that it may be a little bit longer to be able to arrange for any assessments that may be necessary. So please check your Permits and get any applications in as soon as you can. We will be making every effort to sustain permit assessments over the coming months, but there is a backlog as a number have already expired during Lockdown and have not been able to be processed.

Ian Harrower
Longcraig Active Support Unit