BIG FDL
3rd Gidea Park Scout Group
web site . . .
HQ. The Rowswell Hall, St Michaels Church, Gidea Park.
 Beavers (6 - 8 years) Tues & Fri | Cubs (8 - 10.5) Tues & Fri | Scouts (10.5 - 14) 7:30 Thur
 SUMMER CAMP 2001
GROUP SUMMER CAMP 2001
GREAT TOWERS


PHOTOS BY MARK HUTTON & SARAH COOPER

SUMMER CAMPS

GT HOME

As ever arranging the travel became one of the more complex tasks.  It was made no easier by the Ventures who couldn't make up there minds as to weather they should come or not until the last minute.  Even then they didn't know what they wanted to do till they got there.

Still the SL and the scouts weren't complaining.  Post Hatfield and foot and mouth train tickets are cheep.  And unfortunately Andy could only get 1st Class tickets!

At Euston the Scouts chatted to two children from Kendal who's older brother had camped at Great Towers.

2001
THE TRAVELLERS
Euston
WAITING AT EUSTON

MIKE RELAXES

In First Class we enjoyed complimentary food and drinks. The leaders were a little dismayed to discover that complimentary alcoholic drinks were not available on Saturdays. But the food was good.

One nice aspect of traveling in first class was space and tables so the leaders took the opportunity to get the Scouts to complete the hike planning part of the Hikers badge.

THE BOYS DOING BADGE WORK AT 125mph

On our return journey we took advantage of the complimentary Spanish themed lunch. It was very nice. Virgin Railways very kindly provided small rucksacks filled with books and puzzles for each of the Scouts.

Allen drove all the tents up, in the trailer behind his Rangerover. Andy towed the Canoe trailer in his Landrover which was packed with rucksacks. Nikki drove her car up which was packed with Venture Scouts!

CAMP SITE Our camp site was on a large piece of gently sloping ground in the wild forests at the back of Great Tower Plantation. We were fortunate to have a small car park nearby and a toilet block a short walk away. The Scouts camped down the bottom with there kitchen in a corner of the camp site. The leaders and store were near the car park and the Venture Scouts camped on the other side of our site.

JENGA 

The Scout kitchen area had a small stream babbling by with a bridge leading down into the forest. The main camp facilities were about ten minutes walk along a hilly track through the forest. The Scouts managed to get a game of Jenger at a quiet moment.

Mostin

MOSTIN

On the first night whilst on woodfag the Scouts and Mark discovered a curious carved face in the ditch which was manhandled up to the scout kitchen and used to ward off evil spirits and Vampire Badgers and funnily enough it worked.   Mostin as he became known on account of his mossy beard stayed with us all camp.

After the cramped conditions in Kandersteg last year, Great Towers is palatial. With more than enough room for a game of rounders between the tents.

One evening we spent an hour shooting at targets with the air rifles and another evening was spent in the Archery compound.

 

Scout
TR>

SOGSTA SHOOTS

 

Shooting

All three of our Scout Leaders went for the full duration of the Camp and so did Nikki who is our assistant Venture Leader and Senior Activities instructor. Andy J the Venture Scout leader also popped down for nearly a week. All our leaders on camp have been members of the Rowswell Venture Scout Unit.

We also had a visit from the GSL and his wife.

For the first time since the 1980s, Mark very nearly had to miss summer camp because he was diagnosed with Shingles the week before.  But when the day came he felt better and decided to pack and come with us, bringing a large pack of prescription pain killers with him. Not an ideal situation.

Leaders

MARK'S STILL ILL

 

CLAIRE AND LISA

Having been brought up through the RVU our leaders appreciate the finer points of camping as is demonstrated in this picture here.

We also had Crew members on Camp.  Crew members are those too old to be full time Ventures but not able to commit to taking out warrants as leaders due to other commitments.  Like Student Dave.

THE LEADERS STORE

Students
Students Students

Foot and mouth made planning low land hikes with overnight camps, that the scouts could embark on very difficult.  In the end we decided to sneakily hike them to a remote woodland campsite that was actually a back entrance to Great Towers.

Below, the scouts are seen cooking dinner on our expedition stoves. At the time, that tent was quite old. Twenty two years later, it has just been removed from the group store and is no longer available for use. The stoves are still used regularly as is the oversized fleece jumper loaned to the Scout bottom left by one of the leaders.

EXP

EXPEDITION DINNER

 

Birthday

A SCOUT BIRTHDAY

 

Bivvy

The Scouts had asked that we do some shelter building and survival skills so we looked at the syllabus for the Survival Skills badge and used that for a basis of our activities.  Here the boys are finishing the structure of their three person bivvy.

Scouts

THE BIVVY

Meanwhile the leaders and crew started to dream up some fantastic ideas for backwoods cooking. Rather than the usual sausages on a stick and twists, Dave and Andy convinced us to try spit roasting some chickens!
SPARKS

SCOUTS TESTING THE KEBAB SKEWERS

 

SPIT

THE CHICKEN IS ON

Kebabs were also cooked with lumps of chicken breast, mushrooms, chipolatas and red onion, and there was an odd sausage just in case the spit roast didn't work. But as the Scouts cooked sausages in the dying fire on the right, the chickens are looking good. After two hours of careful turning we were able to try them.

Much to our surprise, the chicken turned out excellent as did the bananas with melted chocolate that followed.

Spit Roast Chicken

It was soon time for the scouts to turn in. After a quick check for Rogue Vampire Badgers, Dave and Mark ensured that the scouts, were safely tucked up in their two shelters deep in the forest.

Scouts

 

THE LEADERS SAY GOODNIGHT

It has to be said that at some time after midnight Mark and Dave were woken by the sound of rain on the roof of the tent and felt a little sorry for the scouts. They generously decided to place some polythene sheets over the shelters. They had half expected to find the Scouts sneaking back to there Icelandics so were impressed to find two Scouts still sound asleep and dry in the first shelter. In the second shelter only one woke up and needed reassuring that we weren't undead badgers come to attack him and that we were just adding a layer of waterproofing.

Climbing

We mixed with the 13th Wimbledon for Rock Climbing.  We climbed on three different crags on the camp site.  One was tall but easy, one was short and more challenging and another only one Scout got up. Even the leaders struggled.

CLIMBING

POSING HALF WAY UP

THE GRANDSTAND

We succeeded in getting all the Gidea Park Scouts and a good number of Wimbledon Scouts through the Climbers Badge. Scout Leader Mark's cousin (right) was disappointed that at three, he was a tad too young to qualify for the Scout badges.

STARTING YOUNG

Climbing

 

 

The Climbers badge takes more than good climbing. The scouts have to learn about the equipment and how to look after it too.

All our meals on summer camp are cooked over open fires so all our scouts have to learn basic fire lighting skills.  By the end of camp the Scouts were becoming quite proficient at lighting the fire for breakfast from the embers of the fire from the night before.

Cooking

CHARLIE LIGHTS THE FIRE

After a mishap two evenings on the trot with the onions, the scouts were challenged to fry the perfect egg.  On an open fire with dented pans, a fried egg is one of the most difficult things to cook.

Sog and Jo

THE PERFECT EGG? 

The scouts also cook and clear up all meals themselves. The leaders help out, particularly at the start of camp but in the main, the work is done by the scouts. Preparing, cooking, serving and clearing up a meal on an open fire, for five scouts and three leaders is one of the most difficult tasks the patrol have to complete all camp. It requires excellent team work, leadership skills, logistics management and a fair dose of common sense.

Mike Fans

MIKE PROVIDES THE OXYGEN SOGSTA PROVIDES THE WOOD

 

Once they realise that the wood needs to be collected, broken up and then stacked ready to be placed on the fire they are well on there way to becoming a smooth patrol.

 

Fanning the fire

By the second week the patrol were able to rustle up a meal and make it look as if it was no effort at all. One night they even finished before the Ventures.

Leaders

LIKE VULTURES THE HUNGRY LEADERS GATHER

 

Lisa and Mike

 

Sogsta

THE CLASSIC POSE 

 

Good Food

A HARD EARNED MEAL

 

Sarah and mike
Canoeing

We canoed on Lake Windermere under the watchful eye of Nikki.  Her first task was to make sure all the scouts were at British Canoe Union 1 Star standard.

Once we were up to standard we were allowed out onto the open lake where it occasionally got a bit rough with all the motor boats creating waves.

canoeing

SHOW OFF

canoe

IN THE WAVES

Canoe

PRACTICING PADDLING BACKWARDS FOR BCU 1 STAR

One day we canoed from Fell foot Park opposite Lakeside at the South end of the lake 9K (5.5Miles) to Bowness.  Fortunately it was brilliantly sunny all the way.

This year we purchased two open Canadian style canoes.  This was the first time the scouts had been in such a boat.  They were very good at helping each other out of them!

NORTH

THE VIEW NORTH

 

SCOUTS

LEADERS

THE LEADERS SHOW HOW ITS DONE

 

MAN OVER

OH DEAR

 

We have a long and distinguished tradition of investing Venture Scouts in strange and stupid places. This falls into the down right ridiculous category. In front of a siseable crowd at Fell Foot park.

GETTING INVESTED

The uniforms were squeezed on over buoyancy aids and the ceremony commenced.  All the scouts were present. The tricky part was not letting our union jack act as a sail 

HALF SALUTE EVERYWHERE

The ventures survived as did the group's new union flag.Boat
 
route

ONE OF OUR ROUTE CARDS

Towards the end of the first week of summer camp we switched focus, from the lakes, to the mountains. The leaders during their winter trip tested some interesting routes around the Langdale Pikes.

But that was before foot and mouth.

The leaders had been receiving weekly bulletins from the Lake District National Park authority and so were well briefed of the access situation.

By the time we arrived in the lakes, most but not all of the high fells were fully open so long as you got onto them via one of several manned access points and kept to sensible precautions whilst on the hills.

The picture below shows us disinfecting our boots at the Langdale access point. After disinfecting we split into two small groups and embarked on three slightly different Hikes.

What follows is a Log Book entry written by one of the Scouts.

DISINFECTING - LOOK WHAT IT'S DONE TO HIS HAIR

Scouts

REST NO 1

Weather: Hot and sunny

Route:

New hotel car park
Go along stikle gyll
To Stikle tarn
Scramble up pavey ark
Go to harrison stickle
Back to car park by langdale pikes

Notes:

We got pulled out of bed 8 am to walk up stikle tarn and get sun burnt. We Scramble for the only time on the camp it was fun we had moldy bananas for lunch and stale crisps.
We was not happy bunys then slid down the stikle tarn
To the pub and had a drink and tell jokes.

The pictures are from the second group that Hiked up to the top of Thorn crag with a bit of easy bouldering and scrambling at the top. The group then progressed along to Loft Crag and Pike of Stickle before double backing and climbing to the top of Harrison Stickle. We finally descended back to the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.

WALKING

Scramble

LUNCH

LUNCH

It was a clear but overcast day that we visited Langdale.  The sun didn't come out until we were back at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.  Only one of the Scouts had hiked up mountains before, so for the rest, it was a new adventure.
VIEW

ADMIRING THE VIEW FROM THE TOP OF THORN CRAG

For some of our Scouts who are more used to climbing Alps in Kandersteg with us, the Langdale Pikes were just little Hills. But they were still a challenge and the view from the top was clear and worth the walk.
VIEW2
QUIET CONTEMPLATION.........

TOP OF HARRISON STICLE

The second group departed from the top of Harrsons Sticle shortly before the first group arrived.

The Hotel by the car park was able to sell us drinks and ice creams which were exceedingly popular as the sun had come out on our way back down.

Most of us managed to fit into the Landrover for the Langdale trip.  The leaders and Ventures however have to squeeze into the back.

We stopped for refreshments before the drive back to camp.
AT THE PUB

IN THE JEEP

THE TRIP HOME

BILLY

GET THE BILLY

The Burger challenge. 

An incentive was needed to focus the scouts minds for a day.  They were set a collection of challenges and successful completion of each task would win them an extra ingredient for dinner.  Complete enough tasks and the leaders will cook it.

Task one was orienteering.  The less said about that the better. For the second task the patrol was split into two teams.  They had to follow a course of compass bearings. If either one got to the end they would be given a huge pile of mince meat.  After a questionable start one team sped up and looked as though they would meet the time limit.  The second team took the slow and careful approach.  When the time limit arrived, there were no Scouts to be seen.

 After about 15 minutes team 2 turned up with the correct answer, winning them an almost full bag of mince meat.  The enthusiastic trio of team one arrived soon after. 

The next task also required a bit of thinking. They had to get a billy of radioactive liquid from a high tree and pour its contents into another billiy without getting close to it. This task certainly promoted team work and raised more than a few smiles.

lash

GENTLY DOES IT 

After successfully completing some more physical and thinking tasks the leaders cooked up home made burgers, shallow fried potatoes and a fantastic array of mixed leaf salads.

WAITING

CELEBRATIONS

 

Below Right, The ventures display their three different types of salads.  The subtle differences between them were lost on the scouts but the greatest achievement was to get all the Scouts to try some.  They didn't all appreciate it.

Below Left we can see the flame grilled burgers being slowly cooked by Andy J whilst Andy L shallow fries the spuds.

Burgers SALAD
Burgers

MAPS

FELL ACCESS MAPS

Helvellyn

Due to the foot and mouth outbreak restrictions were in place.

For our Langdale and Helvellyn Hikes we used the green fell access map.  The maps are picked up from the tourist information centers and showed which parts of the fells were open and where we were permitted to access the fells.

As of August 1st and in time for our last Hike the countryside was opened up and the blue map was made available. More but not all of the fells were opened up and the fell access points were abandoned.  We are still warned to observe local signs etc and avoid contact with wildlife.

For Helvellyn we split into three groups. Some of the Ventures up front. The fast Scouts and finally the slower Scouts. The Slowest group led by Mark were first through the disinfectant at Glenrideing. The venture group passed them at the Youth Hostel but the "slow" Scouts actually caught them whilst they were having Lunch at Red Tarn.

LUNCH

LUNCH NEAR RED TARN
Hole in the wall

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL

Low cloud at 600m made navigation a bit more of a test. The Scouts led off using both map and Compass from the lunch break and quickly found the ridge at Hole-In-The-Wall.

We then started the climb to the start of the infamous Striding Edge, the Aręte that leads up to the summit of Helvellyn.

On arrival at the Edge, Mark stops to assess the conditions before deciding that the more interesting route could be attempted.

The second Scout group passed us half way along the edge before they disappeared into the thick fog.

EDGE

We gingerly made our way along the edge, passing the obligatory jokers hiking in denim and trainers and asking the scouts to subtly play spot the problem.

Top

ON THE EDGE

At the end of Striding Edge we pick our way up to the top. We break out next to a memorial for a climber who's body was found below with his dog still guarding him. This just after we stopped to read a memorial for a local who died on Striding Edge whilst chasing the Glenrideing Hounds who presumably were chasing a lethally cunning fox. We decide that this is not a place to hang around especially in fog and quickly make our way to the summit. 

Memorial

A WARNING TO US ALL

We past the shelter and easily find the cairn that marks the top. We pose for a picture before following a baring to find the cairn that marks the top of our route down along Swirral Edge. 

The cloud had risen so we soon had a clear view of Red Tarn. Mark Challenged the boys to get back to Glenrideing in an hour and a half and they did it, singing most of the way. 

We met up with the others who were enjoying some light refreshment in the garden of the Ratchers Tavern.

Peak

THE PEEK

The big one

After Helvellyn the Scouts were told that we were going to do one more day Hike.  We suggested The Old Man of Coniston or Scafell Pike but asked them to suggest another Hike if they preferred.

To our surprise they unanimously decided that they wanted to attempt the big boy!  At 978m Scafell Pike is the tallest mountain in England although one of the Scouts rattled the others by telling them that nothing under 1000m could be classed as a mountain.

Lunch

LUNCH FOR SCOUT TEAM TWO

We were pleased to see clear skies for the day of our Scafell trip but this meant we had to carry extra water. As it happened, it wasn't too hot, in fact conditions were ideal.

We nipped into the tourist information in Ambleside on the way because Mark had seen some people carrying a new fell access leaflet whilst he was purchasing cold remedy in boots. The fells had been opened up and we were more free to chose our route up.

Team 2

SCOUT TEAM ONE CATCH US UP 

Scramble

APPROACHING THE RIDGE

For this hike we once again split into three teams. Andy J. led the RVU up at a reasonable pace as he hoped to be in Birmingham that evening. Mark Followed up with an assortment of Scouts and Leaders. The fitter Scout team were led up By Nikki and Andy.

It was difficult to climb without continually stopping to admire the clear views of the Isle of Man.

We stopped for lunch just before the last great climb up the scree to the ridge South Scafell Pike. 

This is the clear view East from the ridge showing Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags in the distance.

Ridge
We slowly picked our way cairn hopping until we found the peek.  We could see out to sea and the isle of Man to the south west. We could see Scotland to the North West, lake Windermere to the East and the Dales beyond.

Great Gable

VIEW NORTH TO GREAT GABLE

We sat on top admiring the view, taking pictures and making sure that we were all drinking the correct amount of water. We descended a slightly different route and met the others in the Hotel garden at Wasdale Head 903m below.

Top

ON THE TOP OF ENGLAND 

HARDKNOTT PASS

Part of the fun of visiting Scafell Pike is driving the twisty roads through Hardknott Pass, Wrynose Bottom and Wrynose Pass. Andy and Mark reminisced about a similar journey they had made on the same road back on an icy January morning and Andy's empty fuel tank incident back in 1994.

The picture on the left was edited for the website in 2001. If you look closely, you will notice Dave's head is slightly larger than normal. That's because he is so tall, his head was cut off in the original. Twenty-two years later, we are refreshing this page and enlarging some of the images. So now you get the happy band in the original below.

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The last night we packed most tents and went to Windermere for fish and chips

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