#SLSCroatia23 Brownsea Weekend

Conquering the Elements
As the weekend commenced, a group of enthusiastic leaders embarked on a journey from London to the picturesque Ferny Croft Scout Centre on a Thursday afternoon. As we neared the campsite, a sense of anticipation mingled with the air, accompanied by a realization that the weather might not be on our side...

Indeed, the scene that greeted us was a damp one. Our designated pitches were submerged under a foot of water and muck. However, undeterred by the challenging conditions, we forged ahead, determined to find a suitable spot for our camp. After considerable effort, we discovered a section that showed promise, and with unwavering optimism, we prepared for the arrival of 120 eager Scouts the following morning.

B-P with SLS Scarf

Challenging Hiking Adventure
Following breakfast, the patrols embarked on a hiking competition filled with excitement and muddy obstacles. As they navigated through the challenging terrain, even crossing elevated streams by piggybacking their leaders, the competition evolved into a true test of survival skills rather than a casual race. Amidst the adventure, Patrol 3 found themselves playfully accused of cheating and taking shortcuts, resulting in some lost shoes in the muddy terrain. Despite the scorching heat, everyone had a great time, occasionally taking wrong turns but embracing the unexpected twists along the way. And, as expected, the Pinks tried their usual tricks, but everyone knew it was all in good fun.

A Day of Surprises
The next day, the atmosphere was charged with excitement as the 120 Scouts, accompanied by the rest of the dedicated leadership team, arrived at the campsite. They had embarked on a thrilling journey from the South London Scout Centre, fondly known as The Fort, on two coaches.

And so, the camp was officially underway! The Scouts wasted no time in setting up their tents, braving the unpredictable terrain that lay beneath their feet.

With spirits high and appetites whetted, the first activity on the agenda was preparing dinner. However, this task proved to be more challenging than initially anticipated.

As the sun cast its golden glow upon the camp, six boxes of magnificent pheasants were meticulously arranged on tables. Chopping boards and knives were distributed among the groups, accompanied by a thorough demonstration on the art of plucking and skinning the birds. It was heartening to witness even the most squeamish among the Scouts wholeheartedly engaging in the process, their curiosity piqued by the intricate details. Once the meat had been expertly prepared, it was handed over to the talented food team to work their culinary magic and create a delectable feast for everyone to enjoy.

That evening we planned to sit around a huge fire, sing sing and roast marshmallows but Mother Nature had other ideas and dropped an impressive amount of water on us!  A soggy and chilly night was had.

Embers of Friendship
On that evening, in the true spirit of the Croatia contingent, everyone at the campsite was invited to gather around a shared campfire. Dressed in elaborate costumes, the participants added an extra touch of flair to the festivities, while the leaders' slightly off-key singing provided some entertainment. The scouts wholeheartedly embraced the occasion, immersing themselves in the lively atmosphere and delivering impressive performances. These encounters with fellow scouting groups presented a wonderful opportunity to forge new friendships, adding to the camaraderie of the campfire gathering.

Brownsea campfire

Starry Night Adventure
On that clear night, a unanimous decision was made to take advantage of the favorable weather conditions and begin the Brownsea Island trip early. As a result, all the tents were taken down. Acouta was given the choice to either stay indoors in the hall or sleep under the stars. Surprisingly, around 50 individuals opted to spend the night outside, gazing at the magnificent stars. Despite the night not being particularly warm, it turned out to be a truly remarkable experience for everyone involved.

The Brownsea Island Adventure began with an early start as we made our way to the ferry at Poole harbour. Before setting sail, we indulged in a delicious breakfast of bacon rolls, enough to feed a whole pig, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

As the ferry took us across to the island, we were greeted by perfect weather. Upon arrival, our patrols were assigned the task of walking to the campsite while everyone had the chance to explore the area, including the original Baden Powell campsite, the birthplace of scouting. It was a special moment when we gathered around the campfire circle during lunchtime, where our very own County Commissioner presented numerous awards. Witnessing the recognition of achievements in the historic scouting location was truly amazing. Before leaving, we made sure to leave our own South London Scouts sign at the site, a token for future groups to discover.

The rest of the day was dedicated to exploring the island. Some of us took the opportunity to take a dip in the sea, while others embarked on nature hunts, spotting the peacocks and red squirrels that call Brownsea their home. With the day coming to a close, we boarded a boat back to the mainland, tired but filled with cherished memories. Our journey continued as we hopped on coaches, one step closer to our main trip to Croatia.

SLS sign on Brownsea