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Decoy Broad Summer Camp 2017

posted 17 Sep 2017, 10:48 by Zak Warren   [ updated 15 Oct 2017, 11:01 ]

We celebrated Ellen MacArthur Troop’s tenth anniversary by taking our famous summer camp somewhere completely new for the group: Decoy Broad in the Norfolk Broads. To make it extra special, we made it bigger and better than ever before!

We all arrived at the HQ at the crack of dawn, bleary eyed but excited to get going. We loaded up the van with our kit, waved it off, and then piled into the minibus. After five hours of travel, The War of The Worlds and many Queen songs, we arrived at our destination. Not long afterwards, the van arrived and we began setting up camp. With the tents pitched and dinner on the stove, we explored the site and attempted a wide game. Due to the nature of the site, our wide game ended up being very narrow but fun all the same.

On Sunday morning we finished setting up camp (there were even a few camp gadgets created!). We then eagerly took to the water. We managed to get afloat every day, canoeing, kayaking, sailing and pulling, with the entire broad to ourselves and lots of islands and hidden waterways to explore.

The patrols cooked for themselves and a couple of leaders each day, which led to some interesting variations on the recipes! This led nicely into the much anticipated return of “The Hungry Games”. The leaders ran a selection of puzzles and challenges, which the Scouts had to work together in their patrols to complete. If successful, the patrols won a token that they could exchange for an ingredient for their lunch. They all managed to achieve several tokens, with one patrol achieving them all, so none of them went hungry!

On Tuesday we said goodbye to the PLs and APLs, who set off on their canoe expedition up the River Bure. They took all their food, tents and the other supplies they wanted in their canoes and paddled about eleven miles to their campsite. This included a couple of portages and a relaxed stop for lunch. While the PLs and APLs were off on their adventure, the acting PLs took up the challenge of leading the remainder of their patrols. They enjoyed more time on the water, learning knife, axe and saw skills and taking part in some backwoods cooking.

The next day, while waiting for the PLs to return, the remaining Scouts enjoyed the ancient civilisations theme day. The first clue led them to the pulling boats and out into the broad. They then had a series of riddles, cryptic maps and puzzles to solve to find the coveted Viking treasure! One team fell far behind with the clues, so decided to chase the leading team in a bid to beat them to shore. The leading team took pity on them and passed them the “final clue”. The second thought they solved it and raced to the other island, while the first struggled to keep time in the middle of the broad. With the second team closing in on the island, the first team revealed their bluff, spinning around and pulling together, they raced back to shore. They found the prize as the second team were still wondering what had happened! We awarded extra points for cunning!

One day we hiked to a museum and were taken on a trip along the river in a traditional sailing barge: The Wherry Albion. We learnt how to sail a scandalised rig, use a quant and manoeuvre a large vessel in such a confined environment. It was very different to the agile boats we’re used to, but the Scouts took to the instructions very well.

On our final night we invited our neighbours, another RN Recognised Sea Scout Group who were camping in the next field, to join us for a campfire. There were plenty of good songs and sketches to celebrate the week and the adventures we'd experienced. The other group were bemused at first, not normally taking part in campfires, but soon got into the swing of it. All too soon we were loading up the van and climbing aboard the minibus to head back home. Even though everyone was tired out, the Scouts left looking forward to the next adventure-filled camp!

Check out all the photos here