Summer Camp this year has been a complete contrast. After months of endless rain one of the leaders managed to arrange to have the jet stream shifted 15° north and we were blessed with a glorious week of unrelenting sunshine and excessive consumption of suncream.
Our destination wasBuddens Scout Campsite in Dorset where we were looked after by Stuart and his fantastically helpful team. The first job on arrival, after unloading, pitching tents, getting the mess tent sorted, assembling tables, making tea, unpacking bags all over the field and losing several items of kit, was to bui
ld a flag pole.
This was the biggest flagpole in the camp. I should say tha
t we have a lar
ge flag and it is important to have the correct proportions. It had nothing to do with a competitive tendency. On Monday we were building rafts (or in reality semisubmersibles) once launched the session degenerated into an ad hoc re-enactment of Trafalgar with balls of pond weed as missiles. The session ended with Charlie’s appearance draped in pond weed as an early B movie swamp monster.
On Tuesday half the troop set off sea kayaking from Lulworth cove to Durdle Door where the sight of the fleet approaching through the natural arch was enough to send a wave of terror through the innocent holidaymakers lying on the beach ahead.
Meanwhile the others hiked along the coastal path from Ringstead to Lulworth cutting off any possible retreat for the beachgoers. After meeting for lunch at Lulworth the kayakers hiked back to Ringstead while the hikers spent the afternoon coasteering. For some the challenge was climbing the rocks, for others jumping off and for a few it was getting the wetsuit on. Wednesday morning we spend clay pigeon and air rifle shooting. Sam, Brian and Ashley at Purbeck shooting school (http://www.shooting.uk.com) were fantastic with the lads. Personally Scouts armed with shotguns makes me a little nervous but Sam and his team have clearly dealt with heavily armed youth before and the only losers were the clay pigeons. In the afternoon our visit to the Swanage lifeboat station culminated in a call out (shout). Proving it is possible to get all your kit together and leave in under 9 minutes even if you start at the other end of the campsite.
Thursday we back with Nige and Ed from Jurassic tours (http://www.jurassiccoastactivities.co.uk) for more coasteering and Sea kayaking. Once back at camp Luke’s washing line was raided for building materials for bivouacs. All set for a night sleeping out but not before a fantastic supper of chilli and wraps. Supper was interrupted briefly with the shock announcement by Will that he really liked it but calm was restored when it became clear that this was only if he left everything except the cheese out of the wrap. The campfire entertainment included Emmanuel with his Pancake rap. Steve’s “in my pants” game (before any safeguarding advisors get worried, this is Radio 4 approved). Steve also proved to us quite how difficult counting to 10 can be. Finally on Thursday we had Luke’s much anticipated scare your pants off story. The only question is “is it true?”
On Friday as the sun came up over the bivouacs and we realised that no one had been carried off overnight it was time to cook breakfast over the fire. We played wide games for as long as possible but in the end the inevitable happened and it was time to dismantle and pack up camp. It was a shame but it was the only way to find Tommy’s left boot.