We set off for Winter Camp in February after a week of heavy snow and a deluge of emails “I’m assuming that Winter Camp is cancelled”. No Brownies here, however. Danemead campsite in Hertfordshire when we arrived (and got in) was deep in snow.
On the plus side the campsite was not busy and we had the pick of pitches. Snow was cleared and tents pitched, the next job was fire. With a speed, which would impress any trainee arsonist, two roaring fires were quickly built and a large supply of wood found
to keep them going all aided by some recent tree clearing. Chopping and sawing the larger logs took longer but as often quoted wood warms you three times and was clearly true.
Preparing food parcels for supper was a little harder, “do I take my gloves off?” “How do I chop an onion with mittens?” “Help my carrot has frozen!”
Carrots were not the only things to freeze. The U bends in the toilet block were solid necessitating boiling a bucket of water over the fire before use. Once supper was made there was time for games including an amicable exchange of snowballs. The fires were raked out for cooking and the food parcels cooked. As the thermometer fell sleeping bags and tents proved irresistible. Overnight the temperature fell to -9°C but everyone’s kit proved adequate and except for the odd nose no one was cold.
The same cannot be said for the gas cylinders, which were no longer gaseous. Breakfast was delayed while the fires restarted and water boiled. One the gas was warmed in buckets of hot water breakfast was cooked and served. As the temperature rose to a balmy -1°C it all seemed very easy and as the time to pack and go arrived we were all rather regretting that we did not have another night.