Spring has Sprung!

Despite the unseasonably wet, sometimes windy, and frequently chilly past few weeks, the clocks did change over Easter weekend, and the Spring Equinox (when day and night are the same length) took place on March 20th, so it is now officially Spring, and we have journeyed into Summer Time!

The snowdrops have been and gone, so have the crocuses, and we now have spring daffodils in abundance along with increased birdsong, and all the other signs of Spring.

But this year there has also been more unusual sightings at Longcraig and other places around our coasts. With each storm, there is often strong winds coming in off the North Sea, and these frequently bow some open sea birds onto the shores and into places they are not regularly found. Lots of excitement for bird watchers, not so much for the birds themselves. One day some storm petrels were seen skimming the waves at Longcraig, these would normally be hundreds of miles away in the open sea.

Things to attend to in the Spring:

If your Group owns or regularly uses any sort of boats, this is a good time to check that the boats are seaworthy and carry, or have, all the necessary safety equipment and such like.

There are good FactSheets at Scouts.org which give a lot of useful information about this.

Additionally, even if you don’t have any boats, all lifejackets and buoyancy aids need to be checked and inspected on a regular basis, and Spring is a good time to do this – especially if they’ve been stuffed in a damp cupboard over the winter because they weren’t being used. 

Our experienced team at Longcraig are happy to assist with these checks and testing – please just get in touch and we’ll see what we can offer by way of advice or assistance.

2024 Activity Bookings open!

And filling up!

But if you don’t get a booking for the dates you want – we are still quite quiet in July and August in particular We know this can be a bit more difficult to organise, but with a bit of forward planning it’s still possible and it doesn’t need a huge amount of input from the adult leaders to organise an exciting activity session during the summer months. Get in touch if we can help out with any advice for you!

Pier Repairs

Those of you who have experienced an activity session at Longcraig when the tide is a long way out will understand the difficulties and limitations, we have had to encounter due to years of damage and neglect at the bottom of our pier. But, just for the record, it’s not OUR pier – it actually belongs to Dalmeny Estate and is managed and maintained by City of Edinburgh Council.

However, this year, they did locate some funding to help repair the many years of damage from the sea and the weather, and for two weeks in March (around some very low tides) a contractor was on location to fix the damaged bits at the end of the pier.

We expect this will greatly improve our experience this summer although we’ve yet to test that!

Our very grateful thanks go out to Edinburgh Council and wherever the funding came from, for making this happen and also that it coincided with our own Facilities Improvements which took place during 2023.

Come and see it for yourselves!

For info though, the pier was originally designed and built around 1832 by Engineer John Rennie (from East Linton) who was commissioned to build three almost identical piers on both the south and the north banks of the Firth of Forth, to support the various ferries which plied the river to convey people, animals and goods back and forth. For more details about why THREE piers, you will have to come down and find out yourselves!

Our Journey to Net Zero

What is Net Zero?

The term net zero means achieving a balance between the carbon emitted into the atmosphere, and the carbon removed from it. This balance – or net zero – will happen when the amount of carbon we add to the atmosphere is no more than the amount removed. (source: Energy Saving Trust)

Latest update:

In the last month, we have successfully evaluated and then accepted contracts for the supply and installation of various items of equipment and processes to take us towards our Net Zero targets.

We’ve got approval for these providers from the funding organisation and have signed up to get the suppliers under way. So, in just a few weeks, we expect to be able to report some very significant improvements, which will further enhance the facilities Upgrades that we carried out last year.

What are the plans and outcomes?

  • New or improved heating in changing spaces
  • More hot water for showers
  • Reduced electricity bills
  • Opportunity to extend our operating season.

Is what it’s all about! And, which of these is not to be wanted??

We will be achieving this by a mixture of renewable energy, such as solar panels; heat pumps, which extract any warmth from the surrounding air; and storage methods which will enable us to store energy generated during the day, to be able to used when we need it – in the evenings or shower-time!

We’ll keep you informed over the next few months as we move our way through this process.

Net Zero Buildings





We still need more volunteers to help us implement our plans for expansion and growth!


To find out what our Type 1 Volunteering is about, please refer back to the December newsletter.

Or please simply contact us at getinvolved@longcraig.info with your preferred meeting date and your contact details.

We’ll take care of the rest!

Do you have any parents in your Group who might be interested in this? Please do let them know!!

TYPE 2 Volunteering:

We can also offer a different type of volunteering, which is to provide an opportunity for groups of adults, scouts or explorers to come along during the ‘closed’ season and give us the benefit of your volunteering – this could be just for one event, or it could be – say – once a month for a period of time. This can count to a number of outcomes, such as DofE volunteering, various scout badges and awards, or simply to lend a hand for a few hours. Things you might get involved in could be checking of buoyancy aids, fixing boats, painting, and decorating some parts of the centre which were not impacted by the recent building improvements, beach protection work, or behind the scenes stuff like preparing our land activity kits.

If you’re interested, please get in touch to make arrangements or discuss further.