Easter Camp 2015
Boldron (near Barnard Castle)
On a nippy Friday morning in early April, after only just securing transport to get the camping equipment to the site in Boldron, the small group of scouts, seniors and leaders were raring to go for the first weekend camp of the year.
In true camping tradition, the weather was abysmal. The sky was grey, the field was boggy, and the gate to the field was on top of so much soft mud and dirt, it would have been impossible for the van to go through it. Thankfully, the farmer, whose field the group would be camping in, offered his tractor and trailer as means of getting the equipment onto the field.
Despite the woeful weather, camp was almost fully erected by around lunchtime. So the scouts and seniors were rewarded with fish finger sandwiches which were fried in the marquee. Veteran scout leader, John, commented on how impressed he was with everyone: “The weather was treacherous but everyone pulled together to put camp together.”
Scouts and Seniors alike partook in a British wildlife test during the afternoon where they needed to identify over 30 specific species of animals and match them to their natural habitat. Some campers were better at this than others.
Before tea, there was a game of ultimate Frisbee which left many of the campers filthy after sliding, diving, and falling in the mud. Although Tom’s team got more points (7, in total), it was Neil’s team who won the game (despite only scoring 4 goals). Before being allowed to go back to camp, everyone needed to head down to the river for a wash.
That evening, Neil hosted a quiz in the marquee where the general knowledge of the group was tested. Maddie, smelly senior, said “the quiz took my mind off the cold and the hot cross buns we got for supper were tasty.”
Saturday morning seemed to drag. It took ages for the fires to be lit (in spite of the knee pads certain seniors were modelling so they wouldn’t get their knees dirty), ages for breakfast to be cooked, and then ages for the kitchens to be tidied up afterwards. Inspection took place so late in the morning, to save time, uniform tops didn’t need to be worn and the making of soup for lunch commenced straight after inspection finished. However, leaders were pleased to see high camping standards being maintained despite the difficult weather conditions.
With an open day at the scout HQ planned for the week following Easter camp to commemorate the centenary of the 8th Darlington Scout group, the Seniors started practising their backwoods cooking — as that is what they will be demonstrating in a mock camp kitchen at the Open Day. Using the hot ashes in their fire pit, they practised making eggs in oranges, twists, and sausages wrapped in bacon. The seniors were shocked with how much the backwoods food exceeded their expectations of it. Poppy went so far to say that her twist tasted ‘really nice’!
Meanwhile, the scouts listened to the knife and saw talk by John to ensure that they are safe when using sharp tools around camp followed by doing map and compass badge work.
On Saturday evening, everyone was invited into the marquee for a camp fire. Classic favourites such as ‘I like the flowers’, ‘You’ll never go to heaven’ and ‘merrily-sings-the-donkey’ were belted out alongside some new songs including ‘Geordie Alouette’.
Scouts thought that bacon grill sandwiches and beans couldn’t get any better but when the sun came out as well — as it did on Sunday morning — the scouts were happily proved wrong. There was a spring in John’s step as everyone made their way around the back of the marquee for a scout’s own Easter service. Lishman the bear even came out to listen to the hymns, prayers, and an Easter story.
The rest of the day was spent dismantling tents and packing up camp. And then moving equipment from camp to trailer, from trailer to van, and finally from van to the Den. Once everything was unpacked to where it lives in the Den, everyone was allowed to go home to enjoy their Easter eggs.