Our first term included activities such as kayaking, hiking, camping
5th Sept 2002 : Kayak expedition to Inch Garvie
This was our inaugural meeting. Some time shortly after
7:00 pm, six Explorer Scouts and Leaders launched their kayaks from
beside Longcraig pier, near South Queensferry. The start of the
expedition was delayed by our having to rescue the rescue boat, manned
by Clive and Stuart, the Cabin Boy. At last we set off, heading into
wind and waves, course set for the island of Inch Garvie, on which
stands the middle pier of the Forth Bridge.
The spray heaped upon us as we pitched into
relentless waves and soon some of the kayaks had
started to flood. But
we were neither downhearted nor deterred by this misfortune. The rough
waters east of the island were made even more bumpy by the conflicting
tidal currents but the intrepid explorers came through this into the
lee of the island just as the red sun was
disappearing behind a cloud
on the horizon.
The name 'Inch Garvie' is probably originally of
Gaelic derivation, meaning 'rough island'. It certainly is! We
landed and hauled the kayaks ashore on to the limpet and barnacle
encrusted basalt. Weed clung to the rocks and hid the gaps and
crevices, likely home to crabs and other lurking horrors. We clambered
over the rocks and soon reached the Second World War gun emplacement.
Regretfully, we had brought no flag to place here, so we poked around
for a while and, after a vain attempt to creep off and maroon one of
our number, set off back to Longcraig.
The water was not nearly as bumpy as we headed back,
so we played around a bit. We practiced canoeing skills, we rafted up
and tried to use the paddles as sails, we surfed on the remaining swell
and we came back to Longcraig as the light was failing. Once the safety
boat was brought in and bodies and kayaks were hosed down, we tucked
into the barbecue that Martin had kindly incinerated for us.
Thanks to Bruce and Clive from Longcraig Scout Centre
and to Paul for taking the pictures.
Thurs 12th Sept 2002 : Planning meeting
first full meeting. Six Explorer Scouts turned up. We started off by
Alan introducing the Unit to Explorer Scouting. We then discussed
programme ideas with Martin leading a brainstorming session. Then
the Explorers were sent out into Morningside in two groups to answer
some local knowledge questions. We met together at the church again
back for refreshments, followed by a session where we elected ourselves
on to four committees: 'Programme Planning', 'Summer Expedition
Planning', 'Finance and Resources' (Finance And Resources Committee of
Explorers - FARCE) and 'Communications and Publicity'.
21st - 22nd Sept
2002 : Night hike and bothy night
Scouts and Leaders drove down from Morningside
to Peebles where they stopped at Big Eb's for chips. It was just after
9:00 pm when we arrived at Drumelzier and set out from the car park.
The sun had long set but the full moon was lighting the cloudy sky. The
Explorer Scouts' map-reading led us up the hill-track to Den Knowes
Head and then on to the route of the Thief's Road, an old drovers track
through the Borders, along which herds of Highland cattle were once
driven south from the markets of Crieff and Falkirk. There were no
Highland cattle that night, though the eyes of a few sheep (at least we
think they were sheep... they could have been wolves) reflected in the
beams of our torches.
Road took us to an army of cairns and piles of
stones, only a couple of
which are shown on the map of the area.
here, we wandered blindly downhill until we came
to a track, which took
us further down hill and eventually to Stanhope Hope Bothy. Bill, of
the Border Bothies Association, had already arrived
there and had put
out a light to guide us. He had also filled buckets
a couple of fires. We sat around and chatted for a while, some of us
with hot dogs for supper. Eventually, the leaders
though the Explorers sat and chatted for several hours more... and
more... and more.
in the morning to cycle back to Edinburgh. The message from Alan was
that the food for breakfast was in the kitchen, so the cooks set to to
make the sausage and bacon rolls, with coffee for the leaders, who were
not quite up by that stage. We discussed ideas for a summer expedition
and played a few rounds of 'In the Bag', which Martin had brought
along. Then we idled away the time chopping wood and clearing the place
noon, we set
off for Drumelzier, this time taking the low track that runs east of
the River Tweed. By the time we arrived back at the cars, the effects
of the late night were beginning to show and four very tired Explorer
Scouts were taken back to Edinburgh and delivered to their homes.
Thanks to the
Border Bothies Association for the use of
Stanhope Bothy (we hope we will be allowed back some time) and
especially to Bill for getting there before us and making the place so
warm and welcoming.
Thurs 26th Sept
2002 : Megabowl
all met at
Megabowl at 7:00 pm, except for Richard, who had foolishly checked with
the web site to see what time we were supposed to arrive. Alan promised
to try to keep it up to date in future! As we already had a lane of
six, Alan and Martin had to double up. This was bad news for Martin.
Richard took over Alan's lane, which was good news for Alan. There were
several good scores during the evening, including a good few spares and
one or two strikes. When it was all over, we wandered off into the
evening, all having got to know each other a little better.
2002 : Moving On I
to Braid Church where Calum and Euen were moving on from the 25th
Troop. They were presented with their Moving On Awards by Cathy, after
which Catriona, the GSL, presented the Scouts to Alan. The Unit then
ran a game for the Troop, loosely based around the carton characters
Yogi Bear, Mowgli, Bart Simpson,
Fred Flintstone, Tom (of Jerry fame) and Aladdin. The tasks involved
singing songs, making a stone-age car and a mouse trap for Jerry. The
Eagles won, with 62.5 points.
4th Oct 2002 : Moving On II
a successful evening at Braid Church, we all trooped along to Cluny
Centre on the Friday for Richard's Moving On. James presented him with
his Award and Alan welcomed him into the Unit. We ran the same game and
this time the Hawks won, with 63 points.
10th Oct 2002 : Investiture
meeting in the Session Room of Braid Church. Rebecca and Jennifer were
presented with their Scout Membership Badges. After they had made their
promise, the remainder of the Unit, including the Leaders, re-affirmed
theirs. We talked about further programme ideas and then had an
activity based around the Scout Law. A few other 'laws' were discussed.
17th Oct 2002 : International Evening
met in the
Session Room of Braid Church, each of three groups representing
different nationalities. The Explorer Scouts had chosen Thailand and
Italy, while the Leaders had Australia. Each group were expected to
appear in the costume of their chosen country, give a short
presentation, give us some music and introduce us to a few useful
phrases. The Australians were well decked out with shorts and hats with
dangling corks. One of the Italians was sporting a toga, but otherwise
the attire was pretty mundane (more effort required here, guys!). We
then tucked into a spread of Aussie barbi-tucker, Thai snacks and pizza
before going along to the small hall for a session of Thai kick-boxing
(ouch!), Sicilian card games and Aussie-rules handball!
- 23rd Oct 2002 : Camping and walking in
On a wet and
windy Monday, two Explorers and our leader set
off for Killin. We arrived at our destination to pick up another of the
Explorers, and after a cuppa and for some a good few biscuits we set
off again. We had planned to climb a Munro, Meall Ghaordaidh,
but after hearing the farmer advising another party of climbers that
the weather was worse than it was down at the foot, we swiftly changed
our route. We decided to head to some shielings on the lower slopes of
the hill. After a long but steady drag up the hill, we stopped after
navigating the river for a bite to eat. Then we set off again and
reached what the Explorers were sure was a shieling, we stopped and
huddled down behind the wall, which made a great wind break.
After Alan had
pointed out we were not actually at the
correct shieling, we managed to persuade him to
lead us down!
had returned to the van, we changed and all dived in out of the rain.
We dropped of one of the Explorers at her house, and then we went for
the local shop to buy our rations. After much debate we settled for a
curry and some nans. However the day was not over, we still had to
make our way up the road that had snow on either side of it to
Meggernie scout campsite. We then pitched our
tents in record time and
dived back into the van where we were to spend a good bit of the rest
of the night! We listened to the same tape over and over again whilst
chatting and generally having a laugh! We had at this stage had our
tea, and thanks to Alan for doing such a good job of it despite not
reading the label!
The next day we
were surprised, It was still raining!
However we got ourselves ready to go for another hike, and then waited
to be reunited with our fellow Explorer. After stalling for a few hours
in the warm chalet Alan realised what was going on and was even more
desperate to get out and on this walk! We set off up the road on
foot... well the sensible ones did! The less sensible amongst us
chose to run through the bog and also every puddle in sight!! It was a
good low level walk through a forest, with a great view when we reached
the highest point we were going to go. Again we set off along the road
but this time we were going down, and yet again every puddle was
revisited. Then we were left once more by one of the Explorers.
two Explorers and our leader then had the decision to make: to stay in
the bitterly cold and wet conditions or return home safely? Yep, we
proved that we still had some sense in us, we cut short our visit and
returned to the warmth of our own warm homes! Despite the weather, we
all had a great time and Alan must again be thanked for giving us such
31st Oct 2002 : Indoor games evening
from the Session Room of Braid Church and had to make do with the old
Ladies Room. Once divided into three teams, we were given a number of
tasks to do by Martin. Alan ran a D-I-Y game of Pictionary and we had
to negotiate an obstacle course with a balloon kept in the air by means
of a hair drier.
7th Nov 2002 : Skiing at Hillend
enough people to get a group ticket and we were restricted to the main
slope because Thursday is race training. Some of us found muscles that
we had forgotten existed and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Roll
on the winter when we can do this for real up-north!
14th Nov 2002 : Cookery Competition at Bonaly
night, when the Car Park of Bonaly was in danger of flooding the
'Beefy's Best Botham Burger' Competition took place in the Baronial
Hall. The Explorers were split into teams of Jennifer and Rebecca,
Richard and Mikael with Calum choosing the wildcard entry of Alan.
Would this be a choice he would end up regretting?
Chief Chef Haggart overlooking proceedings the cooks went about
producing their masterpieces. Recipes were a closely guarded secret in
case that 'je ne sais quoi' provided that winning formula. With time
counting down and the clock ticking the pressure began to tell with
last minute preparations taking place. Ding!
so to the marking, all Burger were of the highest quality and would do
any restaurant proud. Each burger has been named as follows: Richard
and Mikael - Hell Burger; Jennifer and Rebbecca - Can't cook Won't
Cook; Calum and Alan - Barry's Big Beefy Bonaly Baronial Burger
up the contestants awaited with baited breath for the results and
finally after much soul searching they were announced:
place: Jennifer and Rebecca
- 2nd place:
Calum and Alan (the gamble didn't pay off, Calum)
Richard and Mikael
21st Nov 2002 : Programme and progress review
held at Braid Church in the Session Room. The three committees
met and talked about the programme for next term, the summer expedition
to Loch Ness and the Great Glen and the finance and resources of the
Unit. Alan gave us a quick game where half of us were blindfolded
and were led through a series of tasks by the others. We talked about
how it felt not to be able to see and what it felt like to be depended
- 24th Nov 2002 : Morningside District Explorer
two Morningside District Explorer Scout Units met at Bonaly to get to
know each other and talk about joint activities. We then had a Scottish
dinner. We'd call it the annual dinner but that's a bit difficult as it
was the first one. We finished off the evening with a couple of games -
Who wants to be a millionnaire?
and The weakest link. Three of the North Face Explorers stayed
overnight in the Zodiac Bothy.
28th Nov 2002 : Taking drugs and making decisions
all met at
Cluny Church and started with a brain-storming session on drugs,
medicinal and non-medicinal, legal and illegal, and socially acceptable
and non-acceptable use and misuse. We then split into two teams, one
representing the marketting division of a new drink that had been shown
to be addictive and the other, an action group hoping to ban its
introduction into Britain. Each team was given a budget and had to
decide upon a course of action.
5th Dec 2002 : Incident Hike
trainee agents were dropped into North Korea, ready to Die Another
Each group had to estimate the times they would take to reach three
The first was on top of a hill code-named Capelaw, where they came upon
an agent with a bullet wound in his upper arm. One of the groups failed
to find the entry wound, never mind the exit wound! The second
was code-named Bonaly Reservoir and here they discovered a South Korean
agent who was trying to communicate in a wierd hill-dialect that he had
been separated from the detachment to which he was assigned. He was
a helicopter to come and pick him up and the trainees had to interpret
his sounds and sign-language and make the appropriate signals. The
checkpoint was back at Bonaly. One of the teams laid an ambush for the
other but somehow fell asleep before they arrived. Calum, Jenna,
and Jamie were awarded their double-zero certificates. The others were
sent back for further training.
12th Dec 2002 : Desert Island Disks
met at Cluny
Church. Martin had created three music quizzes, one with artists
beginning A - M, one with artists beginning N - Z (including a few with
dubious credentials) and one of film themes and musicals. Nobody wanted
to be in Alan's team, though they could have used his knowledge of
Frank Sinatra singing My Way... but not very much else. The
quizzes were broken up by a discussion on what constituted a good pop
song and then with writing one of our own. Lyricist Mikael surpassed
19th Dec 2002 : Video and pizza
meeting of term was held at Richard's house. Richard had this great
attic with a computer, pool table and hi-fi. This was a last chance for
the founder members of the Unit to get together before the new Scouts
move on in January. They have worked well together and Martin and Alan
are very pleased with how the Unit has evolved. We all look forward to
its growing as more Scouts join us and look forward to welcoming the
first of them next term.