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Operation Great Tower

1st October 2011

Great_Tower_Tshirt_logo_1.jpgOperation Great Tower 2011


Camp started on the Friday night when everyone was instructed to bring their kit to the scout hall for loading into the van & trailer, due to the early start to our journey the next morning. At 05:00 hours we met at the Scout Hall ready for the off.

We arrived on site half four this afternoon, the van & caravan delaying proceedings due to lack of speed up hill. Good weather while setting up site made up for the delay. Fish & Chips from the lake for supper tonight were very welcome. On site activity day tomorrow, catching up on zzzz's could also be one of them!"

Sunday was our first full day on site. A whole day of onsite activities high ropes, low ropes, leaps of faith, circus skills, archery & shooting. The Battle of Britain flypast and the Red Arrows both added to the entertainment! The Explorers cooked us a resplendent Coq au Vin followed by Chocolate & Strawberry Angel Delight. We had some musical evening entertainment with a steel band and disco finished off with a firework display."

Monday morning after breakfast we set off to walk the fell Cat Bells. We drove up to Keswick admiring the scenery along the way. Upon arriving in Keswick we took the launch across Derwent Water to a landing stage where we began our ascent of Cat Bells. The sky was clear and the sun was shining. The first 1/2 mile or so went steeply up hill to about 500 meters. It was hard on the legs but we persevered and soon we were at the top, or were we? Well nearly as it was a false summit. At the top we had our lunch. Tom said it was really good & fun. Cameron enjoyed the scrambling bit the best. They both thought it was challenging and want to do it again! After Cat Bells we returned to Keswick where we had a very welcome ice cream. The Girl Scout patrol treated us to a well cooked Pasta Bolognese followed by Eton Mess.

Tuesday we went to swim in Coniston Water via the Windermere ferry; Wednesday was back on the trail to Keswick, for canoeing on Derwent Water in the shadow of Cat Bells. Ellena commented "I was in a boat with Louise and I dropped my paddle while playing a form of netball. I hadn't noticed until we were 10 metres away. So I had to paddle with my hand. We eventually got there and I lent too far to grab the paddle so we capsized! Lake weed wrapped around our legs and we stank of mud! We finished playing and started to head back, when we started to grab onto other boats. We had just let go of the Explorer boat when they came at us at speed towards the middle of our canoe and we capsized again! This time when I attempted to get back in I slipped and fell back in!"

Thursday saw the activities stepping up a bit with the Explorers off on an overnight hike & bivvy. Ben said "We planned to walk 5 miles out of the back of the campsite and return in time to build a bivi shelter out of some tarpaulin, rope and whatever we could find at the site. We walked at a steady pace while singing and stopped every couple of checkpoints for a quick rest and drink. Despite poor light, a few wrong turns that were quickly corrected, we made our way to our separate campsite away from the main camp, and built our bivi. We tied a rope between two trees and lent the tarpaulin on it, holding it down with large stones in the corners. There were some "interesting" sleeping arrangements due to the slope and slippery sleeping and survival bags. Food cooked on a trangia, we lit a fire and went to sleep. In the morning we packed up and marched back to camp with more singing." Matthew describes it as follows "The walk itself was okay as it was mostly tarmac and not too hilly. Thankfully we didn't get lost and managed to reach our overnight stop at 7.30 after our 3 hour hike. Despite the light shower we managed to set up a bivi to sleep the 5 of us, however it was on a slope which led to some interesting sleeping arrangements. We slept by our own camp fire and managed an adequate night's sleep. In the morning we had a 20 minute walk back to our camp site to the soundtrack of the Ben Wood Quintets' wonderful singing."

"Friday night saw the finale of camp with the 'Eynsford6thfactor' entertainment evening, part of the camp challenge, 6 acts were up for the judges' scrutiny; Explorers, Girl Scouts, Callum & Frankie, Callum on his own and Claire accompanied by Pete. 'Mr Bruce' compered the acts and in between announced the answers to some of the camp competition questions. The judges, Angela, Pat, Trevor & Nick had a tough job to single out the winners but I think Claire was top of the shop with 'Somewhere over the Rainbow'. The Explorers sung us out with a reprise of Bohemian Rhapsody from the minibus performance earlier in the week."

Sadly all good things come to an end, and Saturday saw an early start to strike camp and begin our journey back south.

Angela Field, Scout Leader comments, "I personally had a great time last week at camp. The Scouts and Explorers were so well behaved. It was truly a pleasure to take them all away. As I think of everyone by name I have a special memory for each of them - memories I will treasure for years to come"

With thanks to all the blog writers who have helped contribute to this report.

A photo gallery will be loaded soon.

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