Another Summer Camp has been and gone, this year we went in search of rain having been disappointed for the last two years. Destination was Symonds Yat near Ross on Wye. Very green, and for a reason.
We set off on Thursday morning with 23 Scouts/Scubs and 92 limbs. The journey was a huge disappointment as we stopped at the National Motorcycle museum for lunch. Unfortunately there was a surfeit of motorcycles and no Haribos (even for ready money).
We arrived at Holly Barn Campsite 90 minutes later and set up camp. Once clothes were evenly distributed across the tent groundsheets the next job was building Pizza Ovens, a tough, messy and slightly dangerous job for which we had no shortage of volunteers. Such was the enthusiasm for this dirty job that the flagpole party were sorely depleted.
Friday was the Canoe trip courtesy of Wyedean. After a short trip to Ross we unloaded the canoesand set of on an epic 12 mile journey down river Mark, David and Michael having chosen a particularly unstable vessel managed to come out at least 4 times and a record closely chased by Alex, Noam and Theo.
Unfortunately there was no sign of the rain we had been promised. We arrived mid afternoon at Bowens field, a truly idyllic spot (at least prior to our arrival) with the only occupants being a herd of cows.
Essential kit was unloaded from the trailer and we set about the construction of Bivouacs, some in the woods and some on the field. Supper was a chilli round the campfire allowing time to retire to our robust shelters for a quick discussion about all-important aspects of interpersonal relationships before losing consciousness. Consciousness was regained at 05:00 when the herd returned “the cows are coming we’re going to die”. Fortunately we survived to breakfast with no unwanted cow-pats.
Saturday was the day for mountain biking in the forest of Dean, fortunately we made it back just as the heavens opened and we all had a quick reminder of the first rule of camping in the rain became clear: “You will get wet. How wet and how cold you get is up to you”. It also became clear that the barbecue was unlikely to light while the logs were floating.
Sunday morning was a different picture altogether the clouds had gone, and so had our flag! The substituted 🙂 flag did little to appease the angry mob. Negotiation regarding rules of engagement were completed and after an undertaking was obtained from the raiding party that no weapons/sticks especially pointed ones would be taken into battle. Operation flag retrieval commenced.
Remarkably the very tall Dutch were completely outmanoeuvred by the Shelford and Stapleford Scouts and the flag was rapidly retrieved and returns to its rightful place.
We then set off on a Big Pit in Blaenafon, part of the National Museum of Wales hearing first hand about what working in mine was really like. The working life children of the age of 6 to 8 in the 19th century made us all realize that Scout camp was really a breeze, when does term start again?
Monday was climbing and caving some great rocks to climb and very tight dark holes to squeeze through. However baked beans were a bad choice for breakfast. A full on day was finished with an excellent curry round the campfire courtesy of Peter. All of which brings us to Tuesday and time to pack and return home. Still the best bit was still to come ….the motorway service station.
Looking forward to 2014 already.