SUMMER CAMP 2016 – NORTHERN IRELAND

After our 2015 Summer Camp in Ayrshire it was decided to travel a little further afield for our next adventure. Numerous options were discussed and a visit to Northern Ireland was made in late 2015. It was agreed we would hold our summer camp there – our first ever in Northern Ireland – and we would camp at Crawfordsburn Scout Centre on the North Down coast.

Lots of planning and preparations went on for the next few months to make sure everything was in place for camp. More visits were made to all the fun things we would be doing during the week of camp and of curse the fundraising commenced to raise the money we would need to run the camp.

On Saturday 2nd July we were all set – and ready to head off on our adventure.

Some photos from the trip are below, and you can see the full album on our Flickr page here.

During camp all the young people write a log book, reflecting on what they have been doing and what they felt about the day. What now follows is their log, in their words:

Click to download the full camp log book

 

SATURDAY 2ND JULY – OUR ADVENTURE BEGINS!

Met at a school in Glasgow – and got to know our Patrol for the week. Rushed onto the buses and had a wee sing song while we were waiting. The journey was quick – over mountains and sea and while we were waiting at road works we caught the first glimpse of our ferry. We hoped it hadn’t left without us…

Once onboard we lunched in style while watching the tennis and letting the ocean pass us by. Next stop was Northern Ireland!

We had arrived! Phew! Now back on the buses and away to our home for the week. When we got there the site was already all prepared – the tents were up, dinner was being cooked and the sun was shining. So far so good!

After a quick tea, and a break of the flag, it was off to campfire – a good start – we got to choose our favourite song to kick it off. Hot chocolate and vintage biscuits brought back all the memories – we were definitely at camp now!

Before we knew it campfire was drawing to a close and it was bedtime. Who knew what was in store for us tomorrow!

 

SUNDAY 3RD JULY – CRAWFORDSBURN PARK

We woke up early (or it seemed early anyway) and had square sausage and rolls and porridge and cheerios.

After flag break we went off to do activities at different bits of the site. We did a big swing (called a ‘3G swing’ because it is so tall and fast), archery and grass sledging. They were all really exciting, although the big swing was scary at first.

We went back to our sites and started to build the usual gates and contraptions which make our tents impregnable to visitors! We made a dish rack too – not to warn off visitors but just to dry our dishes.

After lunch we walked down into Crawfordsburn Park which is a big park on the coast. We played some games and enjoyed the sunshine. Then we walked to the beach to get a group photograph.

That took up most of the day and before we knew it dinner time had arrived! After our tea we started some badge workshops – we got to choose between DIY, Science, Craft and Electronics Badge.  We learned a lot about circuits and experiments and how to use different tools but not enough to get the badge – yet!

Then we had our first tuck shop – lots of chocolatey and sugary goodness and lots of pocket money to spend!

Once we had spent a few pennies we headed to the campfire circle. Dougie challenged us to sing EVERY song in the song book – we managed it!

 

MONDAY 4TH JULY – SWIMMING AND SPORTS

A wonderful awakening today to Chaz’ expert bag piping. Even the birds briefly flew away. Then we got up for French Toast and lots of tomato ketchup.

Then we got back onto the buses to go for our first visit to the nearby town of Bangor. We had heard magical things about this town and it did not disappoint. We went to a brand new swimming pool which was huge and still glistening. This activity went ‘swimmingly’!

Out and dried off we had a packed lunch then went into a really cool sports hall to have a go at different sports – badminton, table tennis, boccia and Bangor(hand)ball. It was also nice to spend a bit more time out of the rain!

Next it was back to the campsite for some more of our badge workshops. Our scale model of the Titanic was coming along very nicely!

The culinary feast on offer for dinner was a new spin on the (in)famous American Bean Pie – now renamed ‘Northern Irish Bean Pie’. We didn’t spot the difference but Iain assured us it was there…

After dinner we did the activities on site – some team building activities and we got to have a go at caving – which was great fun but hard work and a bit wet!

Campfire tonight had the usual wonderful mix of songs but had the added bonus of some of the Patrols performing sketches. One Patrol had practiced the entire Titanic film in under 30 seconds. It was brilliant so Kate Winslet had better watch out.

 

TUESDAY 5TH JULY – HIKE TO BANGOR

Porridge and bacon rolls – a great start to today!

First up this morning was a trading game hosted by a fine Irish fellow who was trying to help us buy tickets to get onboard the Titanic so we could go on an exiting voyage to New York.

We had to buy some stuff, make it better and sell it back hopefully making a profit in the process. For example, we turned a bit of rope into a reef knot and for some reason the Irish chap splashed out a fortune on it. Our gain!

Once we had been trading for a while, Captain Smith came round to see what class of ticket we wanted to buy. It turned out even though we had made an absolute killing on the stall, we could only afford one first class ticket and a couple of third class tickets. No black tie dinner for us tonight then!

Tickets safely bought, we packed our bags for a hike along the North Down coast to Bangor. It took us a couple of hours but was most enjoyable and we didn’t get lost once!

Once we arrived in Bangor we went exploring the town to see if we could spend our pocket money.

We also had money to buy our own dinner. Although it could never rival the cook team’s culinary masterpieces, we did enjoy fish and chips and chicken and chips and lots of other things with chips!

We started to sing outside the ice cream shop too. We drew quite a crowd and everyone was loving it – the owners were ecstatic!

We took lots of #selfies on the beach and headed back along to Pickie Fun Park where we golfed (mini), ‘swanned’ about on wonderful swan shaped pedalos, and munched on some sweet treats.

The perfect finish to the perfect day was a go on the Pickie Express Steam Train round the park!

 

WEDNESDAY 6TH JULY – VOYAGE ON THE TITANIC…

Anne in the cook tent did an amazing job this morning making us all fresh crepes. She had been up since 5am!

Today is a big day for us. We’re about to set sail on our voyage on the Titanic. Captain Smith assured us that all the teething problems had been sorted out and it was safe to go on board. BUT, just in case, we had to learn some skills.

We learned some makaton, semaphore flags, map reading and choosing what things we would save if we were going to be marooned on a desert island. That was a tough one! This was also helpful towards our Communications Badge which we all passed with flying colours!

Out of nowhere, we suddenly found ourselves having to solve a murder. Rose’s boyfriend, Jack has been murdered! What are we to do? Well, we had to find the murderer obviously. We followed some clues and ruled some people out but it was difficult to figure out who had dunnit.

Then Captain Smith had a startling revelation – it turns out Jack was alive all along! The whole thing was just a ploy to steal the Heart of the Ocean!

Of course, punishment had to follow, and so a soaking was hastily arranged. How helpful that buckets of water bombs were on hand!

We had a quick game of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which got very competitive!

Then it was dinner time and some more activities on the site – tonight we got to make our own assault course, as well as some more archery and team building games.

 

THURSDAY 7TH JULY – BELFAST AND THE TITANIC

We were up and out of camp bright and early this morning and on our way to Belfast to visit the Titanic Experience.

And what an experience it was! A huge exhibition to a huge ship. We especially liked the ride, the cool glass floor and seeing the rivets being made and how they got hammered into the hull.

We had some lunch outside and then got to go on the Nomadic – a smaller ship that was used to ferry the passengers onto the Titanic. It was a bit boring, but cool to see all the same. And we got to dress up as old people.

Then we ‘shipped off’ back to Bangor for another swim in the wonderful pool.

After dinner and back at camp we wrote postcards home to our family and tried to remember everything we had been doing!

Campfire tonight was made magical by the appearance of the one and only Iain for his usual masterpiece. We enjoyed it immensely.

 

FRIDAY 8TH JULY – JAMES LAWRIE SHIELD DAY

We got up and had breakfast then our Patrol did one of the Spare Time Activities and held a referendum on leaving the camp. We agreed we would leave, but then at flag break everyone shouted us back, so we held another referendum and joined everyone again. Hooray!

Now that was sorted, on with the programme, and today is James Lawrie Shield day – a big camping competition that we have anticipated since the last one finished.

Three judges from Northern Ireland joined us to start the proceedings. Then we wandered off to our own ‘campsites’ which would be our base for the day. We had to make a fire, build a shelter and get ready for challenges throughout the day. This is a test of how much we work as a team too so we were on our best behaviour!

First of all, it took us five matches to light our fire (another Patrol wrote at this point: “wow, we lit ours in one match”). During the day we cooked eggs in oranges, tested ourselves at map reading of New York harbour, saved a couple of lives and survived on a desert island. All in a day’s work!

We did very well but there could only be one winner!

Once we had all returned to the main campsite, the points were all added up. Anne, the Chief Judge told us who had won – it was the Stewards Patrol! We all clapped a big well done to Anthony, Kyle, Calum, Aaron and Jack.

Then it was time for dinner – and since it is our last night in camp it is the traditional final night banquet. The cook team did not let us down – especially with the ice cream which was splendiferous!

Once we had let that settle in our stomachs for a while we had a highland games. The final game was the annual Scouter v Helper tug of war. We weren’t surprised when the Scouters won convincingly!

We went to our final campfire – and sang and sang and sang long into the night. We didn’t want it to end because we knew it would mean bed then home tomorrow!

 

SATURDAY 9TH JULY – HOME TIME

We got up and packed our bags, sad to be leaving Northern Ireland and that summer camp was finished but looking forward to getting back to our own beds!

We tided up the campsite, had a final tuck shop then gave out all the awards and badges we had been working towards all week.

The big wait was over too – the points competition winners were announced and it was a convincing win for Navigators Patrol – well done to Michael, Owen, David, Greg and Aidan!

The rain came on so it was definitely time for us to leave. We boarded the ferry at Larne and were soon back on Scottish shores and driving back to Glasgow. Most of us snoozed most of the way up the road so there isn’t much to tell!

Back in Glasgow we said goodbye to all our new friends…. until next year!

 

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