Setting the scene for the weekend, the Explorer Scouts sat by the campfire, in the outdoor classroom, a big cargo parachute. They listened to the weekend’s itinerary and safety brief. Whilst the camp is located on a Scout site, we were a ten minute walk from the main camp. Based in a small plantation, there is a nice variety of trees and under-story, so we disappear into the woodlands, out of sight of the campers on the main site.
All the Explorers were keen to be learning and or improving their knife skills. After discussion of knife safety, small groups were shown how to use a Mora knife, an important step up from their penknives. They, practiced cutting techniques and ultimately made tent pegs, to be used later in the day for shelters set up and construction.
Explorer Scouts learnt how to improve their fire lighting skills, covering fire steels, flint and steel and wire wool and batteries (always a favourite – just like a small firework display). Fire-by-friction can be challenge, so to help the Explorers be successful, they worked in teams. By having two Scouts holding the bearing block in place, and another two on the bow, each Scout had one task making the job far easier.
The Explorer Scouts, learnt how to build natural shelters from the materials found in the woods and then went on to learn how to set up a tarp and hammock. Here you can see them setting up the first of many tarps and hammocks. By the time it was getting dark they had a small village set up and enjoyed chilling out in the hammocks.
Along with ponassing fish and plucking pigeon, the Explorer Scouts helped to prepare a Muntjac deer. The dear had been shot a few days earlier and gutted immediately to ensure the meat was not spoiled. But the Muntjac still needed to be skinned and jointed. The venison joints were cooked in an earth oven / fire pit, with hot rocks cooking the meat, the heat sealed in with the earth dug from the hole.
In all there were 18 Explorer Scouts, from two units based near Aylesbury, with their respective leaders helping. A few of the Leaders had attended the Youth Leader Bushcraft Training course earlier in the year. Everyone had a great time, leaders too, helped no doubt, by the Explorer Scouts enthusiasm throughout the weekend.