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

The following was taken from the Group Annual Report for 1953.

In April we achieved fame in the National Daily Press through having been robbed while camping outside ROME. But we did much else in that busy fortnight, It was partly a return to scenes briefly visited in 1950 and 1951.

We travelled by way of HARWICH, and HOOK of HOLLAND, then in a special through carriage by way of the Rhine Valley and the St, Gotthard Tunnel and Milan to GENOA. Here we wore greeted most enthusiastically by our friend ORAZIO sommi, now Commissioner for Scouts in LOMBARDY PIEDMONT and LIGURIA.

We stayed 3 nights at the Italian Scouts' Training Lodge by the Mediterranean at SORI amid lemon groves, orange orchards and date palms, watched by hosts of sun-bathing lizards and serenaded by vociferous croaking bullfrogs. We climbed the wooded PORTOFINO Peninsula, 2000 ft. high, affording views over 100 miles of the Riviera.

Then we went to PISA visiting the Baptistery, Cathedral and Leaning Tower. Here again we met Italian Scouts, surprised at seeing their first English Scout visitors. At night we reached ROME camped at the City Camping Club site in the Exhibition Zone, a mile from St. Paul's Church and close to the site of the great Apostle's martyrdom. Here we were serenaded regularly by nightingales.

On Low Sunday we helped almost to fill the English Church in Rome for Matins and Holy Communion; Allen Matthews was Server for the occasion; to a combined party that totalled over 50, most of Communicants. In keeping with tradition, we concluded with a ceremony of the bestowal of Senior Scout emblems.

We spent 2 very hot days exploring the PANTHEON, FORUM, COLOSSEUM, VATICAN MUSEUMS, ST. PETER'S an ST. PAUL'S, again paying our respects to the tombs of the two Apostles.  After this came an unfortunate day of robbers and rain.

The Campsite was allegedly protected 24x7 by armed police. This lured the Scouts into a false sense of security. A scout woke to find his trousers disappearing out the tent door. When he grabbed at them he heard someone running away. He raised the alarm but found the site strewn with the contents of rucksacks. Cameras and money were stolen.

The Scouts concidered this an ill-reward for a good turn for we had brought the Romans their first days rain for 2 months: a 30 hour drizzle. Amid ensuing interrogations by parties of police who seemed able to do little but ask us our mother's maiden names, and to refute evidence rather than write it down (on incredibly ill spelling type writers)

We nevertheless managed to visit HADRIAN'S villa at TIVOLI in the SABINE Hills and the ruins of OSTIA, part of ancient Rome, the scene of the death of ST. Monica, so well described in ST. AUGUSTINE'S Confessions and more recently, in Charles Kingsley's, "HYPATIA".

The following evening the police doubled the arm guard to four. The Scouts also provided a night guard themselves however one of them almost got shot, stepping out from the shadows near a policeman.

We returned by daylight up the TIBER valley, past LAKE TRASIMENS (looking far too beautiful to have been the scene of the Roman disaster in 217 B.C.) fair FLORENCE, through the Apennine Tunnel to BOLOGNA, along the ancient VIA EMILIA to MILAN and again through the Alps to BALE, where the local Swiss Scouts met us, conducted us to the Youth Hostel, and escorted us next day round this beautiful city of ERASMUS and. HOLBEIN.

The last say's travelling was again in clear sunshine, down the vine-clad Rhine valley with its innumerable castles, and distant views of WORMS and STRASBOURG. The mileage covered was 2,700 miles, at a not inclusive cost of £15 upward according to age. 17 members of the Group took part.