Douglas and St. Fin Barre’s Scout Group this year headed off to the home of Scouting and camped in the open camping fields of the 108 acre site in Scout Adventures Gilwell Park which is outside the town of Chingford in London. Gilwell Park was established by the founder of Scouting Lord Baden Powell who just 110 years ago on the 1st August took a group of 20 boys on a summer camp to Brownsea Island and there began the whole Scout Movement. Conor Crowley was on hand for this year’s camp to record the following report.
Scouts, Ventures and Scouters travelled by plane this year and we can’t be anything but complimentary to the staff of Ryanair both in the air and on the ground and especially to the management and staff of Cork Airport that looked after us.
42 youth members comprising of 24 Scouts and 18 Venture Scouts took part in the two week camping experience and were led by 14 adults in total.
Day one on camp was an early start with the first flight departing at 06:25 on the short flight from Cork to Stansted. From there a bus was arranged to bring us the journey of approx 45 minutes to the site itself. We got down to business straight away and started to build site, put up the tents and get ourselves sorted. The first day onsite was very warm and the early start showed so it was an early night for some. One of our Scouters, Enda Downey, led everyone on a walking tour of the site, having camped there a number of times since the mid 60’s
Our second day included a short hike into Chingford town so that the youth members could get some goodies and then activities onsite on day one were the Ariel Trek for the Scouts and the 3G Swing for the Venture Crew. That evening the Venture Crew went for a hike into the Epping Forest while the Scouts played onsite wide games. Day three for the Scouts was taking part in Frisbee Golf, skittles and bowels while the Venture Crew did a large pioneering project with our Rover Scouts for the site gate. That evening we headed into the forest for backwoods cooking and shelter building and made shelters to bivvy out in that night.
Day four brought the first of our Patrol Hikes. The 5 Patrols (2 Venture and 3 Scout) were given various locations to hike to and they went to visit Loughton, Waltham Abbey, Buckhurst Hill and Enfield. Some of the directions were described as ‘suspect’ but everyone arrived where they should have eventually! Day five on camp was onsite Gilwell activities again which were Bouldering and Jacobs Ladder for the Scouts while the Venture Crew were given Task Master challenges by the Scouters to complete followed by Freefall and Crate Staking activities in the evening
The first of two trips to London started on day six, we all travelled together by Tube into South Kensington and into the London Science Museum. While we queued we realised we weren’t the only Irish Scouts there but were joined by the 112th Dublin (Knocklyon) who were also on their summer camp. Our youth members spent most of the day in the Science Museum and took part in WonderLab which is an interactive gallery with cutting edge exhibits. A shorter visit to the Natural History Museum followed before we made our way back to site via the Tube and over ground train.
Day 7 brought the first week to an end with a lazy day onsite, we all headed to Chingford Leisure Centre for a cool down in the pool. That evening our Scouts and some Scouters headed off North by minibus and car where they’d spend two nights in Abington Woods Outdoor Educational Centre up near Cambridge. Our Venture Crew and some Scouters remained onsite to take part in Gilwell 24 – a 24 hour activity experience for Scouts aged 15 to 18. While spending the weekend in Abington our Scouts were treated to a day trip to the fantastic Flying Legends Airshow at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford Airfield. It was incredible to see the aerobatic displays of the old war planes. The second night in Abington Woods ended with a takeaway treat after a brilliant Scout led campfire.
Day 10 was another scorcher of a day. The Scouts & Venture Crew took part in Desert Island Challenges during the morning then the Venture Crew went Bouldering onsite in Gilwell while the Scouts took part in Freefall and Tomahawk Throwing. Day 10 was also the day we had new neighbours onsite, the 29th Dublin (Blackrock) arrived and we made new Scouting Friends.
Day 11 was the second day trip and the most exciting and jam packed on camp. We took in Covent Garden Market, Leicester Square for a visit to the Lego and M&M Store, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Oxford Street, Regent Street and a visit to Hamleys Toy Store. By the time we got back to site the first and only rainy night on camp began so we splashed out and bought take away from a local in Chingford and relaxed. Day 12 was the second round of Patrol Hikes to the local towns of Loughton, Waltham Abbey and Enfield.
Day 13 everyone climbed onboard a coach and we spent the day in Chessington World of Adventure Theme Park & Resort. A huge hit with everyone. The final full day (day 14) on camp was with regret as we had to break site, took down our tents and moved to temporary tents onsite for the final night. The last night on camp ended with an epic campfire, lasting two and a half hours. Song after song after song from Scouters, Ventures and Scouts. It was brilliant.
The flight home on Day 15 had us back in Cork for just after 1:30 in the afternoon.
This years Camp wouldn’t have been as much of an experience without the incredible and legendary youth members that went along. The leadership team thank them all for their Scouting spirit and their parents should be really proud.
Our Scouters deserve much praise for giving their time, energy, body and soul to Camp 2017 and on behalf of us all I want to say thanks