|Jamboree 2008 Report|
A small group from Fakenham Lancaster B-P Air Scout Group were able to make the long journey to Humsaugh for the Jamboree celebrating 100 years anniversary of Baden-Powell's first ever Scout Camp. This memorable, historic and fun event was attended by B-PSA groups from around the country, and a contingent of Portugese Scouts.
With Baden-Powell's original camp site now being privately-owned woodland, the jamboree was held at the Greencarts camp site, just over a mile from where B-P's site was. The jamboree was divided into four hubs, using the original patrol names used by B-P - Wolves, Ravens, Kangaroos and Bulls. We became part of the Bulls!
Saturday 16th August
After a very long drive from Fakenham in Hadrian (our rented minibus), including a slight detour(!), we arrived at the jamboree site just in time for tea. During the evening the jamboree held "speed visits" so that all the Scouts could get to know each other, then it was time to retire to bed, ready for the week ahead! Although the day had been fine, soon after we had set up camp the rain arrived, so we used some hay, provided by the local farmer, to make a path between our camp and the dining marquee.
Sunday 17th August
We woke up to find about 2 cm of water over most of the field, and were glad that our tents had proven themselves waterproof! We were also very glad to have our pathway! The morning was spent on site, finishing off our camp and chatting with new friends.
In the afternoon the jamboree attended a service at Hexham Abbey. When B-P was here 100 years ago he marched his 30 scouts to Hexham for their service, but we used minibuses to make the 8 mile journey. During this special service to celebrate the centenary, SPL Drew had the honour of carrying the St. Georges flag, with Tom and Matty as escorts, and Ruth read one of the Scout Laws during the service.
After the service we spent a while exploring Hexham, enjoying a break in the rain, before heading back to the jamboree site for tea and hub camp fires. We also took the opportunity to explore a section of Hadrian's Wall, including one of the original turrets.
Monday 18th August
Once again it was a bit wet, and some parts of the camp were starting to suffer a bit! Our tents were still fine, though, and the path that we had made was proving invaluable - although some parts of it had become a bit thin after Tom had decided to thatch his tent!
The morning was spent doing pioneering activities, building the first part of a large bridge structure on a lane at the bottom of the site. After lunch it was our turn to have a go on the climbing wall, always a favourite activity!
During the early evening we decided to jump back in Hadrian for a return visit to Hexham, and we had a fish and chips, or in one case a haggis and chips, for supper! When we got back to the jamboree site Tom went to join in with the wide games in the wet, muddy darkness at the bottom of the field, while the others turned in.
Tuesday 19th August
We woke to the sound of heavy rain on canvas, and found that we now had a lot of water and mud around our tents. The girls even had a stream running through the middle of their tent! All of the sleeping areas were dry, though, and we were not going to let a little bit of water spoil our fun!
This was our free day, so we decided to be tourists and visit Newcastle. As the weather was so bad, and because the Scouts have to study it in Geography at school, we chose to visit the Metro Centre! The centre is huge, with miles of shops. Does this count as urban hiking?
We were even able to bring part of the jamboree experience with us for the people of Newcastle to enjoy! As we were walking along one of the malls a huge storm broke - and suddenly we noticed that we, and all around us, were getting wet. Something had gone wrong with the roof, and all the skylights had snapped open!
When we got back to the jamboree site we found that they had also been hit by the storm, and some groups had suffered flooding. Because of this they had been offered the chance to spend the night in Hexham Abbey! When we checked out tents we found that we were still dry, and voted to remain on site. It was very quiet with most of our friends away!
Wednesday 20th August
We had a bit of extra time in bed this morning, as the camp was so quiet. When we got up we found that the rain had stopped, and there was even a trace of blue sky between the clouds. During the morning the refugees returned from Hexham, and things returned to normal.
In the morning some of us went down to explore the tree walk - a high ropes path through four large trees at the bottom of the field. In the afternoon we all jumped in the bus for a visit to the Roman fort at Chesters, which was very impressive. This fort had a very well preserved bath, and the scouts are pictured sitting in the original changing room. Chesters was also one of the site's that B-P explored with his Scouts 100 years before!
In the evening the dining area was turned into a tropical-themed nightclub, complete with palm trees! The novelty of a canvas nightclub with a hay covered floor was added to by the leaders and instructors all coming in fancy dress. There was a great atmosphere in the tent, and we danced and sang until it was time to turn in.
Thursday 21st August
We woke up to find that the sky had cleared, ready for Tom, Drew and Matty to head to Hexham to enjoy a couple of hours of mountain biking. The rest of us paid a visit to Haltwhistle, the geographical centre of Great Britain!
In the afternoon we all met up in a former quarry, which had actually been dug on Hadrian's Wall, destroying a large section of the wall in the process! The quarry is now a lake, and was being used for the kayaking, canoing and raft building sessions. I'm sure that not many Scouts can claim to have canoed along a section of Hadrian's Wall, but now some of ours can!
On the way back to the site, we stopped off for a quick visit to another Roman fort and the remains of a temple to the Roman god Mithras. As we were walking back to Hadrian, Drew decided to have a face-to-face staring match with a bull. Luckily, despite Drew wearing a red coat, they seemed to get on well!
Friday 22nd August
Today was a very special day as it was exactly 100 years since B-P had started his camp. Many members of the jamboree rose early, at 5.55, to meet the sunrise on this special occasion.
At 9.00 we all made the journey down to Fourstones, ready for the main event of the day. In 1908, B-P met his 30 scouts at the Fourstones railway station and marched them up to the camp site. The station has now gone, being a private home and a pub these days, but we gathered there to retrace his footsteps.
We walked up the hill to the site, with our flags blowing in the light breeze. When we arrived at the original site there was a short ceremony where we all re-took our Promise (in English or Portugese) and our standards were re-dedicated. After the service awards and medals were presented - and this became even more special for our Group when Jess was presented with her St' Geroge's Award!
After the ceremony we paid a quick visit to Hexham, to have celebratory chips in a welcoming cafe that we had found earlier in the week. We then returned to camp and started to pack our equipment into Hadrian, ready for our early start tomorrow.
That evening the jamboree flag, made using a necker from each group attending, was lowered for the last time. Spirits remained high, though, as it was the grand camp fire that night. Our Group has never had the chance to attend a proper Scout camp fire before, and the scouts were really impressed with what thay saw and heard.
Saturday 23rd August
We rose to find glorious sunshine, and quickly packed the last of our kit, struck the tents, said our goodbyes and boarded Hadrian for the final trip. As we pulled out of the jamboree site the scouts started to sing some of the songs that they had learnt during the camp fire - just one of the many gifts that we have taken with us.
The last Scouts were home by 4.00 - tired, muddy and a bit smelly, but having had an amazing time. Hadrian then returned to Dereham, becoming just another Transit minibus in the WW Rent-A-Van fleet. The jamboree was over, but the memories will last a lifetime.
Thank you to all who helped make our first ever jamboree experience so fantastic. It is wonderful to know that we are a part of such a friendly, co-operative and welcoming Association, and we look forward to meeting up with many of you again in the future. Thanks also to Portugal 902 for their fantastic singing, if there is ever a "Scout Idol" competition, they're going to win it!
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