August 2013 - Summer Camp
Ten 1st Crawley Scouts and a couple of leaders invaded the peace of the well-hidden ‘Spur Campsite’, Slindon near Arundel for 9 days of camping and exploring. The tiny campsite lies in the centre of the huge Dale Estate which is to be found several miles west of Arundel. The Spur and its allocated woods is run by Bognor District Scout group and has room for only one troop to camp at a time.

The Scouts were there to have fun and to learn how to take care of themselves, how to feed themselves and how to cope with living outdoors. They were expected to do much of the work around camp for themselves and some found this concept easier to understand than others. By the end though most Scouts were much more capable and had given up on the prospect of someone else doing their work for them. Hopefully these ideals will continue when they are back at home and their bedrooms will be tidy and clean for ever more...
During the camp there was a 10 mile hike from Amberley, a boat trip around Chichester Harbour followed by a ferry ride and a small hike, an evening on the South Downs on the old Roman road, bivouacking, fire lighting, rope throwing, rope climbing, pioneering, an ‘A’ frame race, a barbecue and swimming on Clymping beach, a visit to Tangmere Aviation Museum and swimming at Arundel lido. All Scouts had training and practice with knives, saws and axes and went on to make bows and arrows and camp gadgets, everyone had to help with the cooking and spend time doing washing up and on one day there was even a kit inspection. We had many good discussions beside the fire and on one night were entertained by a guitar recital, a book reading, a ‘light show’ and an attempt at some home-made fireworks.

The weather was perfect for us all week except for a short shower while we were hiking and a deluge on the morning of the last day. Nonetheless all of our kit was packed away dry in the end. Several Scouts spent most of the week sleeping outside without the use of a tent. On one morning it started to rain at 5am which got the bivouackers up very early for breakfast indeed!

The food during the week included; roast lamb with rosemary with roast potatoes; spaghetti bolognaise with fresh basil, spinach and parmagianno; pasta with pesto and cheese; freshly baked focaccia with ham and cheese; vegetable pakoras; backwoods-cooked chicken and fish with baked potatoes; porridge, rice pudding with nutmeg, chocolate custard, boiled eggs, grilled asparagus, honeydew melon, green vegetables, lots of salad, balsamic vinegar and lemon dressings, spices, herbs, cereals, deep-fried Mars Bars and of course sausages. There was a never-ending supply of cake and even the most picky of eaters did not go hungry. On one of the hikes we even foraged for fresh Marsh Samphire.

We saw a stoat cross the road on Bury Hill as we were driving to the start of the hike, there were two Red Kites flying very low over Arundel lido and every night at our campsite we saw huge Long-eared bats hunting and we could hear Tawny Owls duetting. There were Woodpeckers and Nuthatches in the trees, Buzzards overhead, Roe Deer in the meadows and dragonflies around the tents. We found a Devil’s Coach-horse Beetle in one of our buckets and returned it safely back to the woods. At West Itchenor we found shore crabs and under the landing jetty there we saw large, silver Mullet.

We were also visited by several Scout leaders during the week which included District Commissioner Eddy Hills who came to interview a further three Scouts for their Chief Scout Gold Awards. This took the number of Scouts that have earned the award in 2013 to five.

Despite being woken at 8.00am everyday by a madman with a police whistle, being forced to eat unusual food, being made to wash, shower and tidy up after themselves (what cruelty), forced to walk up and down hills and then made to go to sleep by 10.30pm every night, all of the campers made it to the end without running away, being eaten alive or by being collected by parents or ambulances... even Donna!

Well done everyone!