Charnwood 2011 and Hawkhirst


4,000 Scouts and Guides and their leaders are enjoying a week’s fun and adventure at Charnwood 2011  in the fabulous grounds of Whatton House,  Leicestershire where the most popular activity was zorbing at speed down a high inflatable ramp – pleased they didn’t ask me to try it out!

And the Beavers and Cubs have fun too

As with each of the international camps, Charnwood is open to day visitors and 400 Beavers and Cubs enjoyed their day yesterday, ably hosted by Sandy (ACC Beavers) and Archie Ant – fantastic and totally insane! Hopefully no video clips of my pathetic attempt at dancing appear.

Not all high adventure

Adrenaline Zone and It’s a Knockout seemed to be amongst the most popular activities, although the trek cart ‘gun run’ competition was giving them a run for their money. Amongst all the activities however there was also a popular Beyond Belief quiet area for participants to chill out, say a prayer if they wish or chat to people and get away from the hustle and bustle.

Making Explorer Scouting work

We also ventured into a few of the sub-camps, not exactly dodging the water cannon getting out of Ocean sub-camp, and the ball pit in the Jungle sub-camp (sure you can work out the enthusiasm for a photo!).

Jungle was the Senior Section and Explorers sub-camp, led by Laura (ACC Explorers) so it was great to take time to chat to Matt who runs a very successful District Explorer Scout unit with 60 members and to some of his members. When I asked the question of the youngsters why, they simply said the programme (and Matt) is awesome!

Improving retention

Laura also explained that the County are running some retention initiatives in the autumn to address some of the concerns I’ve previously shared so I was interested to learn more. They are also having some success in linking participation in our awards with those of the DoE scheme.


I was having such fun that I left Charnwood an hour later than planned to head north and to Hawkhirst National Activity Centre in Northumberland. Driving through very heavy showers (storms) in Yorkshire I was relieved to see the sun still shining in Northumberland.

Hawkhirst was a hive of activity with groups from across the UK taking advantage of the fantastic facilities at our site in the Kielder Forest. It has direct access to the large lakes, as well as mountain biking and hiking opportunities throughout the forest, and is in close proximity to Hadrian’s Wall.

It’s the young people that make it

Wasn’t too sure where we were when we arrived at East Kirkbride’s troop camp (a lovely pitch on the banks of the lake with fantastic views across) to see a very large Christmas Tree, complete with a festoon of lights!

South Shield Sea Scouts were celebrating their centenary and hope to get 100 young people on the water on Saturday when they will be joined by their Beavers and Cubs (they already have 80 on camp in the accommodation).

Amy, a Scout from 1st Carryduff, south east Belfast, had a bit of a run in with some midges but clearly wasn’t going to let this get in the way of having a great time, as she very enthusiastically told me, as we joined in (loosely) with their game.

Wandering across the border today to join the fun at Bonaly International Camp in Edinburgh.

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