Bonaly Scout Centre September Update

Bonaly Scout Centre September Update

Welcome back!

It is so good the see Scouts back camping at Bonaly following the relaxing of the Covid restrictions. If you are camping or visiting for the day why not give our new self-led “Camouflage Tracking” activity a go? Working in two teams, the first challenge is to lay a trail of tracking signs for the other group to follow into the “Hiding Area”. Then one member of the team is chosen to hide and is camouflaged by the rest of the team using the equipment provided and natural materials. The teams now follow each other’s tracking signs and attempt to find the hidden person! 

ScotJam@Bonaly was a great weekend with 120 Cubs and Scouts enjoying the sunshine and the Archery, Tomahawk Throwing, Low and High Ropes, Burn ScrambleCamouflage Tracking, and of course the Campfire.  We would like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped to make the weekend possible.

Image: Burn scrambling in the Roman Bath. 

Our maintenance ASU have been hard at work keeping the centre looking good. The Chalet refurbishment is now well underway with new carpets, beds and vanity units. We are now taking bookings from the 1st of October for the new look Chalet and dates are filling up fast! To make an inquiry you can email info@bonaly.org.uk or use our online booking request form.

Image: The New Look Chalet

The Bonaly “Come and Have A Go Day” was very well attended and gave anyone interested in volunteering a chance to take part in some of the activities we have. Everyone had great fun enjoying the Low Ropes, Crate Stack, Burn Scramble, Pioneering skills or some of the Self-led activities we have on offer. Interested in joining our volunteer instructor team? Please get in touch by email or give us a ring on 0131 441 1878.

Image: Well done Sandy – that’s got to be a record! 

104th Edinburgh North East Scout Group Hall Upgrade

104th Edinburgh North East Scout Group Hall Upgrade

The below is our August update – more news about works in September to follow.

The 104th Edinburgh North East Scout Group is embarking on an exciting upgrade of their Scout Hall at 34 South Trinity Road, Edinburgh!

Image courtesy of McLaren Murdoch and Hamilton, Chartered Architects. Edinburgh

The works are part of a large plan to update and improve the facilities. The original hall was built in the 1950’s and the facilities are now in need of a general update. The key rationale are:

1) the hall and grounds currently offer only limited provision for the disabled community. The works will include accessible access and facilities making the hall more attractive for a wider community of scouts and other user groups.

2) the new toilet/shower block has been designed so that it can be used as a separate utility without accessing the main building. This allows us to offer our field as a weekend urban campsite which scout groups from the UK and overseas can use as a base when visiting Edinburgh. It is not an adventure/activity camp location (like Bonaly) but has the advantage of being close to the city centre.

The remaining phases of the works will include a new store for large adventure equipment (i.e. Kayaks etc); a new storage area to the rear of the building, partly to help other users who rent the hall; and the re-roofing of the whole hall building. 

The team have already completed the enabling works to allow the builder to start. This has involved:–

1) ground clearing – see some images below via a team of Leaders/Executive Committee members working over several weekends; and,

2) an upgraded of the hall electricity supply to cater for the increased load which will be seen from the 3 new electric shower units (and to create additional capacity when/if in the future we need to change the heating system from gas to electricity and/or charge up electric cars!)

The costs for Phase 1 (showers/toilets/disabled access/showers/surface water drainage etc), will be in the region of £190k; so a lot of fund raising has gone on the get us there, including a lot of help from Rob Whitelaw, District Commisioner, and the entire ENE District. They have also received grants several sources, the major ones being the National Lottery and Garfield Weston Fund. Thank you to everyone for your support and contributions so far.

The provisional completion date is Christmas 2021 and we plan to chart the progress of the work and mark the grand opening in due course.

District Commissioner in Edinburgh North East, Rob Whitelaw said: “Edinburgh North East District Scouts are delighted to be able to support this important investment in the 104th Scout Hall. They are a thriving group where demand far outweighs provision and I hope that raising the profile of the group may bring forward some more volunteers. This will help us to provide scouting for all the young people who are currently on waiting lists. My thanks to the team at 104th who have worked hard to make this happen. I look forward to seeing the finished job!”

Volunteer with us:

As a volunteer led organisation, our volunteers make the world of difference, and we need your help.

Working in teams, you might:

  • Welcome young people and families to sessions and events
  • Make sure everyone’s safe, supported, included and having fun
  • Help to plan and lead activities
  • Get involved with days out, camps and expeditions
  • Share and learn skills – from coding to cake decorating to canoeing
  • Celebrate young people’s achievements big and small

No previous experience with young people or Scouts? No problem. Whether you’d like to help out week-after-week as a Leader or uniformed assistant or just whenever-you-can, we provide some training, learning opportunities and cups of tea – every step of the way.

Team player? Love supporting young people? Great at planning? Why not join us? Scouting is about everyday people working as leaders and supporters in their communities, giving young people confidence, a sense of purpose, life values and outdoor skills that are hard to find anywhere else.

Scouting depends on volunteers like you!

  • There are many roles in Scouting so we can use many different skills.
  • Anyone over 18 can help out as an adult volunteer in Scouting. There is no upper age limit.
  • Volunteering is flexible.  You can decide how much time you can give.
  • We will provide training and support. So no experience of Scouting is necessary.
  • You will meet new people and learn new things.Email our Scouting Support Officer for more help or why not click to meet and hear from some of our existing volunteers HERE.

    Longcraig Update September 2021

    Longcraig Update September 2021

    Longcraig in the press again!

    Over the summer, more steam engine hauled special trains have crossed the famous Forth Bridge (the big red one), to a circular tour of Fife and then back to Edinburgh. Three trips as usual, attract a huge amount of publicity, photographers, and the like on their journeys.

    Inevitably, many of the passengers get a great view of Longcraig from their trip across the bridge, and equally inevitably, a number of photo opportunities also included glimpses of our Centre nestled close to the Forth Bridge. And Longcraig pier itself, provides an excellent vantage point for viewing the steam trains for the many hundreds of people who are NOT on board!

    And, the new Forth Bridge Visitor Experience Centre has taken steps forward in it’s planning – watch out in the press for further developments and the opportunity to walk up and over the Big Red Bridge!

    Also, over the summer, there have been numerous reports of sightings of a striped dolphin in the Firth of Forth. No photos yet, but these dolphins are much less common than the usual varieties that sometimes get seen in the Forth, you can learn more about them here as this report in Wikipedia shows.  

      Longcraig Road update 

      Following a recent enquiry to our local councillors, we have been advised that the road repairs to the Longcraig road are scheduled to take place ‘in mid September’. Not sure if that’s when the work will start, when it will finish, or if it will all be over in a flash! Anyway, much more positive news than anything else! So, for those of you afraid to take your car along the road (that’s probably most of us…..) it’s great news! 

      RE-OPENING of Longcraig – Latest update 

      The relaxation of the lockdown rules which came out in mid August now removes most of the barriers that were in place and which were preventing us from opening up fully to provide activities for young people. 

      However, mid-August comes only two weeks ahead of the point where we are unable to offer evening activity sessions (if you look out your window any time after about 8.30pm you’ll find it’s nearly dark already!) so at most we would only be able to operate over some (not all) of the weekends in September. Tides and lack of water at the wrong times impacts on this too! 

      So, we’ve taken the view, reluctantly, that we will utilise what is left of this season to remain focussed on training and refreshing the staff and instructors in the Longcraig ASU who help with the running of our activities, rather than trying to squeeze in what would only be a small number of activity sessions before the winter close down. We will of course be continuing this training activity through October and possibly into November with a mix of water based and land based activity – we can do this for experienced people because they are better prepared for colder or wetter weather conditions at this time of the year. 

      Watching the sun go down on a very quiet summer at Longcraig! 

      The good news is that we have relatively little ‘winter maintenance’ to do this year because we have managed to cover a lot of this during the long period of lockdown, and especially over this summer when we have been able to open up the Centre a little bit.

      So the indications are that we will be off to a flying start in 2022 and hope for a long and busy and active season once again (like what we used to do!) 

      Planning ahead for 2022

      At this time of year, we start to look ahead to next summer. In additional to ‘just opening up again’ we recognise that many groups may have additional things they would like to consider or plan in around our facilities or skills. 

      So, perhaps your Group is thinking about a Family Day Out? Perhaps you are planning a special camp somewhere that we could come and provide some water activities? Perhaps you would like to get some folks onto a proper training course whether for a qualification, or a proficiency badge, or part of a staged badge scheme? Or perhaps you want to take your Group Executive team out for a day or evening and do something different? Maybe you have some members who have been particularly disadvantaged by the COVID lockdowns, and would benefit from a parent/child opportunity – we can provide this as an on the water experience for them. 

      We can help with any or all of these things – but they need forward planning! 

      If you are having any inklings of thoughts in this direction, please get in touch with us over the next few weeks as we also start to put our calendars and diaries together. The earlier we can get involved, the better we can plan our support for your event! 

      Come and visit the local seals in the Firth of Forth.

      Longcraig Team supports Pink Panther Explorer Unit:

      At the beginning of August, we ran an all-day event over at West Wemyss Bay in Fife for the Pink Panthers Explorers. The Explorers were camping at Wemyss Firs so the location was only 10 minutes walk (5 minutes by mini bus) from the camp site. 

      As with all offsite activities this required a little more planning and effort to make it all happen (including the operating procedures and risk assessments). Backed up by a transport team which hauled a trailer of kayaks from Longcraig across to Fife, and back later, three of the Longcraig instructor team delivered three kayak sessions for 36 Explorers and leaders. The three groups were of different ages and skills, both of which started at the older/more skilled end and reduced over the day. The first group contained some of the Duke of Edinburgh Explorers who had been working with Steve Hankin (the LSC Explorer Leader) on canoe skills and they suddenly had the Eureka moment when they worked out that some of the paddle skills from canoes transfer to a kayak!! 

      All three groups  had the delight of seeing at very close quarters (and maybe too close) the seal pups that were being very inquisitive as they left the rocks to see what strange creatures were approaching! 

      Left image: Briefing session on shore.                                 Right image: Wemyss Bay – scenic paddling location. 

      Pink Panther Wemyss Bay

      Building refurbishment 

      The planned building improvements for Longcraig, which involve modernising toilets, showers and changing facilities, is still going ahead in Autumn 2022 as previously intimated. 

      So, we’ve done some patch work to keep the existing facilities operational, and at present there are still limits on how much we can use these internal facilities, due to the need for ongoing COVID good practice, so we’ve had to take that into account as well. 

      The close down time, and also the limited activities that we have done this year, have led to a need for further consideration of what our needs are in the future, so the plans are being re-assessed to ensure they are future-proofed. 

      This, coupled with the current shortages of building materials, and the number of building contractors that are ‘very busy’ is indicating to us that we will have a need to look at additional funding to boost up that already committed by the Regional Executive. We’ve also got some new opportunities to consider alternative means for heating and lighting and servicing the improved facilities, so that’s all been rolled into the picture too. 

      So, Summer 2022 will see the same Longcraig as before, then we will dismantle and rebuild over the Winter of 2022 to have our shiny new facility up and running for Spring 2023. We’ll arrange a ‘Farewell Old Toilets’ party at the end of our 2022 season!!