Chance encounter but never met yet
Coracle /ko-ruh k'l/ noun a small, round boat made of wickerwork covered with a watertight material, propelled with a paddle. ORIGIN Welsh corwgl
Early last year I, like many other Scout Leaders, was looking forward to new adventures in Scouting. The reason for my excitement was because I had replied to a request that was issued through Facebook. As the person who had made the request was only in the next county I thought I would see if I could try and help.
The request was for blue mains water piping but it was the reasons behind it that stirred my interest. The piping was to make coracles, something I had never done before so therefore a new challenge; the next reason was that the activities were to be held at a campsite that I had never been to before.
However, the most important reason was because this was to be a camp for children who, for want of a better expression, were from less well-off families - this was my biggest driver for wanting to help as I have always held the belief that Scouting should be accessible to all.
I thought that I could help because of the stuff to make coracles with that was being requested. To my mind there is no better material than blue piping and, as I work for a utility company, accessing this product shouldn’t be too hard I thought. The feelers went out to everywhere that I thought would be able to assist. To my relief the call was answered with plenty of promising responses.
Now for the sad news. Everything Scouting was put on hold due to Covid-19 and, at the time of writing, still is but that was not my biggest disappointment. I messaged the original poster who had requested materials who instantly replied; private messages went back and forth and before I knew it I had now agreed to attend a week-long camp and run the activity!
The people I will be going with are the Muslim Scout Federation whom, to be honest after being in Scouting for over twenty-five years, I had never heard of. So as we are now slowly coming out of lockdown this is something I can start looking forward to again and even as an oldie I am still looking forward to learning new things.
Lastly I am also looking forward to meeting the person who sent the original Facebook post so that we can swap our Scouting stories around the campfire.
Ev's Historical World
We've had fun during lockdown
After the first lockdown, way back in March 2020, when we were allowed to go out and visit places I bought my son who is a cub at 1st Bramshill Rotherwick, a GoPro camera to record his visits. I’m a scout leader by the way.
The reason behind this was that we had borrowed one in February when we went on a trip to Iceland. He recorded everywhere we went just like a mini TV documentary. When we returned home it was edited down from hours of footage to a few minutes. You do get an awful lot of sky, ground and backs of people when you are only eight years old.
Then we bought our own and let him have it for the duration of a visit. So, on returning from say Wolvesly Castle, Winchester or Portsmouth or Southsea, we would edit the footage and upload it to his YouTube account - Ev’s Historical World.
His account is monitored by myself and we have uploaded sixty videos so far. These range from visiting castles and abbeys around Hampshire to mudlarking on the River Thames in London.
During the summer last year we managed a socially-distanced visit to grandad in Devon which gave him the opportunity to have a go at more filming of various places such as Clovelly and Lydford. Back in Hampshire he has filmed at Butser Ancient Farm in all their different Iron Age round houses, Saxon buildings and Roman villa.
Leap forward to November 2020 and we are back in lockdown two. No visiting anywhere so no chance of filming his documentaries. Now since he’s such a fan of history and an outdoors kind of kid, due to his love of beavers and cubs he asked if we could build a roundhouse in the garden.
A quick look around and we found some old fence posts and bits of wood so we settled for a Saxon house - three metres by three metres in size. This occupied us every weekend in November, luckily they were decent weekends with regard to the weather. I managed to cut the hazel whilst at work and we collected the necessary horse poo from a friend in the village. Then we had to make the wattle walls and daub them with the mixture of soil, horse poo, hay and water. This was the first time we had ever attempted this and to be fair I think we pulled it off. We used an old canvas for the roof and covered that with birch bark screening to give it a thatched appearance.
As I write we are in lockdown three. We are now spending our weekends making things such as rocket stoves, Canadian candles, trying our hand at charcoal making and making our own fire-lighting materials along with building furniture from green wood. We are busy trying everything we can possible can so that when we return to face-to-face scouting, we’re ready. Plus gaining some cool badges along the way since there’s been no cub camps.
We’ve missed cubs and scouts and although we do Zoom sessions it's not the same as being outside.
The full build along with the lockdown projects can be found on You Tube at
Getting back together
1st Border Scout Group is based in north Carlisle.
This pandemic has played havoc with everyone. During the first lockdown we did weekly Zoom meets with mixed success. Some were great, others were not. We could not wait to get back together. It became obvious we could not meet at the local church, our normal base. So outdoors it had to be.
Risk Assessments done and passed; programme planned, we came together at the earliest opportunity at Ratlingate, our local campsite. The programme was simple just some socially distanced shelter building and finishing with something to eat that they cooked on an open fire.
What became apparent was that the programme was just the catalyst for the young people to get together and socialise. They were excited to be outdoors with their friends, talking and working together, just being scouts.
So before being locked down again we had managed several long sessions on a Saturday or Sunday, twice a month for three to four hours. The more we did the better it got. Everything from fire lighting to cooking their Christmas BBQ on 19th December.
Yes, it is hard work ensuring that everyone remains safe. However, the rewards were brilliant.
Now we are back to the Zoom meetings. We have done everything from making pizzas in a mug to origami Pikachu’s, quizzes to map reading. Thinking about being outdoors.
Yes we have lost about 30% of our troop but we have gained the help and support of parents. Plans to start a Beaver Colony as a result of this and grow the Cub Pack. As a Group we are rising to the challenge.
Don McCutcheon 1st Border Scout Troop
We’re all off to scout camp, we’re going to have a great time!
When we were on our way to camp, we asked the leaders to turn up the radio and we all sang along to ‘Let It Go’ on the radio. We ate lots of sweets in the minibus and the adults told us to calm down because we were too hyper. Because we had too many sweets in the minibus we continued to sing songs together. As we were singing too loudly the leaders told us to quieten down. We heard on the radio that there was a campsite which was haunted, the leaders said it's fine we're not going to the haunted campsite.
We arrived at our summer camp, the way to the campsite was down a grey muddy ramp. Then we had to climb over fallen trees to get past. The sun began to set so we decided to build a warm fire to toast Marshmallows. Later on we were just settling down to sleep when we heard a roar in the distance, quickly we set up our tents and got to bed. During the middle of the night there was a crash as one of the tents fell down! We rushed over to the tent that fell down to see if the people inside were ok. We wanted to tell the Scout Leaders, but they were all sleeping, we soon found out there was no one in the tent.
All of us then decided to go climbing down the mountains. After this we went hunting because it was morning. Everyone caught a rabbit, we cooked them up and ate them… they tasted disgusting! We then decided to roast some more marshmallows. We split up into two groups to decide what activities to do, Archery or Air rifle shooting. Whilst going to Archery half the Scouts got lost in the woods. Later on we heard a loud bang, it turned out to be a firework. A while later we heard another big bang and it was a Deer running into a tree crashing its antlers. We were all told to go to bed and sleep in the tents, whilst the leaders thought we were all asleep, we all watched them eat all the cake and biscuits from last night's dinner!
We were woken up very early in the morning, which none of us liked! For breakfast we had bacon sandwiches and saw all the crumbs from the biscuits and cakes. When we finished our breakfast we went to go and do Archery, so we went to get our kit and uniform ready for the activity. On the way to archery the path was very muddy. When we got to the Archery Range all the leaders had started to do the Archery without us. We went back to the campsite to find our tents were missing! Only to find out the cows had taken them. Dundundunnnnnn!
As we went to retrieve our tents we were shocked to see the cows had been slaughtered by a Grizzly. By the time we had searched the perimeter we headed back and found the leaders having Bear soup. Later on in the afternoon we found a river and decided to make a rope swing most of us fell in! We heard a crashing in the trees behind us and discovered a Tyrannosaurus Rex roaring. Seeing as it was getting dark and we didn't have any shelter we decided to search around for materials to build one. We saw the vibrant oranges and reds in the sky as we laid down to sleep.
A few of the scouts snuck out at night to go and climb the mountain, one of the scouts tripped and fell down the mountain. A massive water fight broke out back at camp that was started by the leaders. After that we went back to the woods and roasted grapes because we were so tired. To get revenge on the Scout leaders who had eaten the cake and biscuits we snuck into their hideout and stole their biscuit tin. The person who had fallen down the mountain had survived and had climbed back up! As we had all forgotten about the Scout that had fallen down the mountain the leaders were furious at us.
Because we get so smelly on camp, and don't change our pants, by about day four the leaders had to take us to the local swimming baths so we could clean ourselves and make us change our pants. We went back to the campsite and we heard thunder and lightning, then the rain poured. Because all our tents had been taken we had to make shelters in the woods but it was very cold and wet. After the rain had stopped we didn't want to be clean so we went and rolled around in the mud. As we were rolling around in the mud we had the best adventure of our lives.
Soon after we decided to go canoeing in the nearby lake. As we were canoeing someone came up from behind the boat and tipped us over. But on the other side of the lake two of the scouts wandered into a cave and stumbled across a weird looking machine. As they were gazing upon it, it appeared to be a teleportation machine. It turned out it wasn't a cave, it was a washroom and the machine was actually a washing machine. But the washing machine was no ordinary washing machine as soon as we opened the door it dragged all the scouts into it and to another place in the universe. Fortunately the leaders were left behind so they couldn't steal any of our cakes anymore. We went back into the washing machine to try and find the leaders, however we appeared on a beach with sand as soft as silk. We weren't on a beach, we were on a beach in another universe on the hottest planet we had ever been on with sand as hard as rocks. Whilst we were in the hottest universe we went sunbathing and ended up getting burnt. We got transported back to the campsite.
Back at the campsite the leaders wanted to annoy us by putting Ants and Spiders into our sleeping bags. Luckily the Ants and Spiders didn't like the smell of our sleeping bags so they went to stay with the leaders instead. The spiders ended up growing and eating one of the leaders. Luckily in the end the spiders and ants ate all of the leaders.
We were all so happy the leaders were gone we decided to take a joy ride in the minibuses. Once we found our way back from a long treacherous hike we decided to pack everything up and make our way home, although for the leaders this trip home was very nice as we were all so tired and fell asleep. We started to eat all the cake, the leaders heard this from inside the spider and were outraged so they fought their way out. The spiders puked up the leaders and they were covered in green goo just in time to go home. When the leaders had appeared they saw us all eating the cake and started to shout at us but we all argued that we had seen them eating the cake. After we stopped arguing we started to pack up all our things and get ready to go home. Because we forgot about the scout down the mountain he jumped out at us to attack us, unfortunately he was hit by the bus.
Meanwhile, after the leaders had picked up the scout and put him on the minibus we realised the leader had been driving at full speed away from the apocalypse that was happening. As we were so long camping we realised there was a global pandemic and we all had to self isolate. The apocalypse seemed to be of Zombies, they were running at us and were catching up with the minibus. As we were driving along through the countryside you could see the lush green grass through the cracked windows. Then Zombies started coming out of the ground and the countryside was ruined. When the Zombies came out of the ground they were all wearing masks because of the pandemic. The Zombies turned into spiders and they were after the scout leaders so all of the scouts left the bus. Then we realised it wasn't an apocalypse, Donald Trump had unleashed the mutant Zombies from the bunker. Then on the final step home the leaders all started singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ as the scouts trembled in fear at the back. As people started turning into creatures of all sorts everyone decided to start singing. Once we had made our way home safely we realised the Zombie Apocalypse wasn’t really a Zombie apocalypse it was a load of boys who hadn't had their hair cut since the start of lockdown.
We all had a story to tell for the rest of our lives and to tell our grandkids, grandkids' grandkids, grandkids………………
By 17th Purley Scouts
Convert any sofa into a fabulous fort!
For all ages: You may not have a sofa at your meeting place but you probably do at home, or someone else's home, or a hotel or one of those posh shops. You know what to do. Just rejig the four moving parts or get the young people to do it whilst you look the other way.
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