At 09:00 on Good Friday, 19 Earley scouts, 3 Johnson Explorers, 5 leaders and 2 instructors set of in three groups from HQ; to cycle a planned route to the Shaws campsite in Cudham. The going was tough for some of the younger scouts as the weather and the hills were against us, but everyone made their best effort.
The Shaws is a Guide camp, but at this time of year only the 9th were as willing to brave the elements as the Earley troop and aside from a single Guide group who were confined to quarters, we had the land to ourselves. The facilities at the Shaws were quite respectable with a powered wooden mess hall for cooking and eating and allocated block showering and toilet facilities, which were all in a good order.
Upon arrival, camp was struck and the lads went off orienteering, before honing their backwards cooking skills by preparing their evening meal of Bangers, mash and beans.
Saturday was again focused on the great outdoors with the leaders walking the orienteering course with the group, then mountain boarding and grass sledging before lunch. In the afternoon we looked at woodsman skills with log gathering, sawing and timber splitting with axes. A campfire was created to cook the free range chickens, which were slaughtered for us by Richardson’s. Upon being delivered to camp by Maggie and Lynne, the chickens were plucked, beheaded and gutted by the scouts before being seasoned, double wrapped and baked in the embers, before being devoured with a fine selection of root vegetables by the ravenous scouts.
After Sundays breakfast, there was an Easter egg hunt before Dan, one of our departing scouts presented each member of camp with an Easter egg, which was generously given by his parents. For Dan, Billy and Gareth, this was their last camp as Early troop, as they now move on to the Johnston explorers with Daniel and Jack – Good luck to you all on the next stage of scouting and we hope to see you at future group camps.
Thankfully, the route home after lunch was easier than getting there and in spite of a brief hailstorm before we set off, the sun shone, the lads seemed to finally get the hang of their gears and we all enjoyed the journey back to the hall.
A big thanks to Dave Monteith who planned and executed an excellent camp and in doing so gained his night’s away permit.
Well done everyone who attended for representing the Earley troop and the 5th Dartford Scout group in a respectful and thoughtful manner as we would like to visit this site and enjoy its facilities again.