PENARTH Explorer Scout units Storm and Les Pughs’ Own teamed up for this year’s summer camp on the Isle of White.
The group of 25 set of from Penarth train station at 10am for the all-day train trip to Lymington pier. A smooth and uneventful six hours later saw them arrive at the island's Corfe camp site, to be greeted by the site of their yellow minibus and trailer loaded down with the equipment for the week.
So it was no resting and straight away all hands were put to use carrying the equipment along the woodland track to the clearing, at the edge of the estuary that was to be home for the next seven days.
First up was the large marquee tent, this proved interesting as it took all hands to hold on to it as the wind picked up just as it was being pitched, extra guy lines and pegs were used to hold it down. Soon after all personal tents were pitched and the communal cooking area set up. Spaghetti bolognaise was the meal for the night.
First full day on camp saw a relaxing time around Shalflet and Totaland where some took to the water and others walked along the headland to the Needles.
Back on camp the days cooks set to the evening meal of beef stew, after which they tried their hand at archery.
7am saw them up and preparing food for the day as they were to be off camp until 5pm, 8am saw them start the walk to Brightstone wood where they had an all-day bush-craft session.
This started promisingly with a demonstration of fire lighting without matches, however just as they had prepared their fires the heavens opened and washed everything away, undeterred they turned their hand to shelter building, the challenge being to use only material in the wood, some good attempts were made, once completed it was back to fire lighting as the rain had eased off, a lot of effort was put into this and all eventually succeeded.
A slightly later start greeted them the following morning, this time there was a full days cycling to be done, it was off to Brighstone wood again and then following the main bridal track, up and over the hills, through the wood and into Newport, from there after some excellent map reading from Alasdair, they found themselves in Cowes.
A short ride further on they entered a woodland area crisscrossed with tracks, a really good place for some off road cycling so of they went, then it poured down. With bikes slipping and sliding they worked their way through only for Dan to have a puncture, no fear quick repairs saw him off again, however a short time later the tyre fell apart.
Luckily it had stopped raining. Don’t panic we have plasters and duct tape we can repair it, so they did and Dan was able to get to the main road.
The faulty bike was picked up but the rest of the group continued their ride back to camp.
The next day dawned warm and clear and it was off to Shalfleet again to pick up the instructors for same sea kayaking and coast-steering, the morning was spent riding the waves in and around the caves and rocky outcrops of the coast, whilst the afternoon was spent scrambling in and out of the water onto the rocks and into the caves.
After three days of exhaustive activity a calmer day followed with some beach combing looking at the geology and history of the coast and hunting out fossils, dinosaur poo seemed to be the easiest to find.
This evening’s meal was a challenge. In groups of twos and threes how well could they feed themselves for £2.50 each. Beef baguette was Alasdair, Tom and Peters offering.
The final full day was spent with a bit of sightseeing on the islands steam railway and then dismantling the camp, as an early start was need for the journey home the personal tents were packed up and all slept out under the stars. But not before they had spent two hours wandering the streets of Calbourne listening to tales of woe and ghostly goings on of the islands past.