Longcraig September news

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Longcraig would like to offer a great big Thank You to all the groups who came down to Centre this year, our first year back after the COVID pandemic which closed us down for two seasons. We knew it was going to be hard work at times, and quite stressful for many as everyone was a bit rusty after the time away. Most groups had a good experience on the water – for many young people this turned out to be their first experience afloat. Sadly, we did have to cancel a small number of our bookings this year, due to instructor shortages – yes, we sometimes get ill too, some still caught COVID so had to isolate for a time, and like all volunteers we have family or work issues that have to be dealt with too. If that was you – we apologise! We did catch up some of the cancelled bookings later in the season, but not all. We’ll try and prioritise these unfortunate ones for next year.

We also suffered a higher than expected number of cancellations due to the weather! Although the summer of 2022 will be remembered for several spells of hot and often sunny weather, this year was persistently plagued with strong winds. Fun for some, but for others, and beginners especially, the safety of the participants is our first and primary concern. So, if it’s too windy, or unsafe to proceed, we do reluctantly have to take the decision to curtail and sometimes even cancel activity bookings. Again, we’ve worked hard to try to reallocate these to later dates where we could.

But for those who did get out on the water – well done! We facilitated the issue of a substantial number of badges, particularly to the cubs sections and provided many hundreds of young people with the opportunity to get out doing activities once again!

Whilst we await with bated breath the final outcomes of various grant applications that were made, which will hopefully allow us to crack on with our planned facilities upgrade inside the buildings at Longcraig, we have continued to improve our surroundings at the Centre. We have some reinforcing rock being installed to help prevent the rough and  stormy seas of winter from washing our Centre away, and we’ve done further work in replanting some of the trees which were necessarily removed to allow us to get the new fencing in place earlier in the year.

Hopefully, the coming newsletters will have more news to share with you on the upgrade works!

On a more positive note, we welcomed support from a combined team of CALA Homes, I&H Brown and Gordon Bow Plant Hire at Longcraig at the end of August, complete with around 15 very large stones – rocks, maybe – about 7 – 8 tons in all. This was to complete our sea defences project, designed to prevent the sea from washing Longcraig away during the worst of the winter storms. We’ve built a rock barrier at the corner where the pier meets our front concrete apron, designed to break the force of any big waves and still allow the water to disperse without undermining the building or the surrounds. A great piece of teamwork, and our very grateful thanks go to all of them for this wonderful support; all of these companies are working together in South Queensferry to build around 1200 new homes and other supporting infrastructures.

During the summer months many Scout Groups headed off to various camps across the country.

On the banks of Loch Tay, in Perthshire, a double camp took place. For the first week, the 82nd Craigalmond Group set up camp and enjoyed a busy week of camping activities. At the end of the week, the scouts returned home but most of the camping infrastructure remained in place, then the 21st Craigalmond Scouts and explorers headed up to take residence for the second week.

Both groups enjoyed several days of varied watersports opportunities, with a mini activity centre set up in a mess tent a few metres from the edge of the loch. Kayaking, canoeing, dinghy sailing were all experienced during the two weeks.

For the 21st, this was  a very special camp, being the first whole group camp for many years, and also being part of the year long celebrations of 100 years of Scouting in South Queensferry.

Let us know about YOUR summer camp! And let us know if you took part in water-based activities there.

If not, and if you wish to in the future, please engage with Longcraig at the earliest opportunity – we can help deliver a water activity programme with equipment, skilled activity leaders and guidance around the various water activity rules and regulations.

Mention elsewhere of the adverse weather this year, wind strength especially, leads us to report that we had two instances close to each other of wind damage to our boats. Both were during the summer holiday period – the first was spotted for us by a helpful passer-by, the extremely gusty and squally wind capsized one of our sailing dinghies on it’s mooring. We successfully recovered it the same afternoon, and were pleased to report that virtually no damage was incurred. The second instance a couple of weeks later didn’t involve a capsize, but once again the strong and gusty winds caused some of the mast rigging to break, resulting in the mast falling down and in this case it was broken in two. Fortunately, the boat itself was undamaged, but we’ve had to fork out for a new mast to restore it to it’s former glory. These instances help explain why on certain occasions we’ve had to cancel bookings when it is too windy………

For a week during the summer holiday period, Longcraig once again played host to Dalgety Bay Sailing Club youth training camp. Dalgety Bay has been badly affected by the Ministry of Defence working to clear radioactive debris for the beaches in that area, so they were unable to use their own club facilities this year once again. Staffed mainly by their own team, some 25 young people spent 5 days afloat in a range of sailing craft – some from Longcraig, others they brought over themselves – supported by some of the Longcraig team to guide and smooth their sessions as well as we could do. Like last year, it was great to see the centre in full use for a whole week and very positive feedback was received at the end of their time on the south side of the river.

Although Longcraig Centre itself will be predominantly closed for activities until Spring, you can still hire much of our equipment for your own use – whether it is activity equipment or more general land based equipment like tables, chairs, etc.

Drop us a line at: getinvolved@longcraig.info. If we can help, we will do!

Squirrels afloat!

Well, the 21st camp was indeed a ‘whole group’ camp! The Explorers associated with Queensferry, along with the Scout section, camped for the whole week, and were then joined on the Friday by Cubs and Beavers who arrived on a large coach. The younger ones camped two nights and spent their time taking part in some of the water based activities and also hikes and site based challenge games.

On the Saturday, 10 Squirrels arrived complete with parents / guardians, and had a great day participating alongside the older sections and got a great insight into what summer camp is all about.

But perhaps their highlight was that ALL the squirrels got an opportunity to get afloat in boats and enjoyed a short whirl around the choppy waters of Loch Tay. Although the sun was out, it remained a stiff wind, so it was pretty bumpy,  but the general feedback was a universal ‘whoopee’ afterwards!

Learn water skills and help at the same time

Would you like to learn new water skills by trained instructors, update existing skills, and give back to support the next generation, all at the same time? Well, you can at Longcraig. Enjoy Scouting by the sea! No previous Scouting experience, no problem! Click to find out more.

Drop us a line at: getinvolved@longcraig.info. If we can help, we will do!

We are always on the lookout for keen volunteers to help out at the Centre.

If you are interested please get in touch by emailing getinvolved@longcraig.info or phone 0131 510 7970 and leave a message. One of our team will get back to you for a chat about how we can make use of your skills.

We are not just looking for people who can Kayak or Sail. If you would like to learn, then we can train you, or refresh skills if they are a bit rusty. We also need people to help with building upkeep and duty managers/wardens to help run sessions on land.

If you can spare a few hours on an evening or weekend during the coming months (or know someone who can) drop us a line and we will get in touch.