This holiday, fifty-five scouts and their volunteer adult leaders took part in an action packed Easter Camp. Scouts are supported
to be self sufficient, living as patrols, learning to cook, eat and solve problems together. They light fires for cooking, practice the sport of rifle shooting, play wide games and learn to navigate a woodland route into nearby Hexham. That's in addition to the traditional 'egg firing' competition allowing young people a unique opportunity to pitt their wits against the adult team - the penalty....having egg on your face, literally!
The four day adventure took place at Dilston Camp Site, near Corbridge in Northumberland, a great woodland site with a shallow river and excellent hot shower facilities.
Traditionally, the camp marks the start of our 'camping in tents' season and introduces new campers to living outdoors and this year we enjoyed amazing weather where suncream was needed rather than waterproof coats.
After an early start on Friday, Scouts built their patrol camp sites, establishing mess tents for eating and patrol and hike tents for sleeping. After a busy four hour pitch, we headed into the river for a welcome splash around in the uncharacteristic spring temperatures. Bangers and mash for tea ended the afternoon, making way for evening games and a dusk glow-seek widegame played deep in the woods above the site. Hot chocolate and marshmallows topped the evening off as patrols settled for their first night in camp. A late night patrol leaders' forum highlighted the successes of the day and provided some welcome support and advice for the young people who were in their first camp-leadership role.
Early morning sun on Saturday encouraged an early start and campers cooked bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes for their hearty start to the day. Morning inspection required patrol leaders to self-assess their hygiene and site standards before adult leaders confirmed their scores. Morning gathering outlined the plans for the day and rewarded the winning inspection patrols with 'William and Kate' souvenir coffee mugs...needless to say they were overjoyed (!). Patrol Leaders were then briefed on the morning's route to walk to Hexham and patrols set off for the 2.5 miles short walk in search of the market town's St. George's Day Festival. Young Leaders shadowed the six walking patrols and predicted their arrival times. After a chip shop lunch, patrols experienced Morris and Blade Dancing in the market square, welly throwing and a falconry display in the Abbey Gardens. Scouts were particularly amused that one of the eagles made a bid for freedom. Despite the best efforts of the falconer's repeated shouts of 'chuck chuck', swinging bait and even an electronic tracker failed to bring home the bird!
Back to camp for afternoon games, some air rifle shooting followed by a very british dinner served on union flag plates, in bunting adorned tents and topped off with strawberries and cream. (Ok, so the spaghetti bolognese wasn't quite so English!). Night-time camp fire chill-out had some spontaneous songs with favourites such as 'The Cow Kicked Nelly' followed by some rather spooky
ghost stories to add a chill to the otherwise warm evening. Hot Soup rounded off the evening.
Easter Sunday began sunny and after sausage sandwiches and inspection patrols took part in a carousel of activities; learning how to light a fire and cooking pancakes, building an egg carrying raft and honing their air-rifle skills. Following the traditional egg-firing-at-the-leaders debacle a splash around in the river was in order to cool off and clean up. Later into the evening a big camp fire was stoked and scouts sang some camp fire favourites including the welcoming of new scouts into the 'Order of Siam' ;-) Scouts' Got Talent took place during the fire as patrols and leaders took turns in leading songs and sketches. Fireworks marked the end of a spectacular event and hot chocolate and marshmallows shared around the glowing embers of a fading fire provided memories and experience for everyone.
Striking camp on Monday in the sunshine is always a bonus and helped our morning clearing camp pass quickly and efficiently.
Scouts from 1st Fatfield regularly camp throughout the year and many scouts have achieved more than 50 nights away from home in their time with the troop. Easter camp is the first such camp of the season and is followed by patrol camps, troop camps and then a week-long summer camp adventure in the Scottish borders.