Turvey Woods - a backwoods experience
The scouts asked for a backwoods day. So we got in touch with Fingal CoCo and sorted out the insurances. Our original date was't going to work so we reschedule for the 8th December.
Based on what the scouts requested in our weekly meetings, we ran up to Tesco to get fresh food for the day. Cedric the bear gave us a hand!
We rendezvoused at 10.30am at Turvey Allotments with 11 scouts, 2 venture scouts and 2 cub scouts, Catherine, Sean and myself.
The scouts were in great form, well prepared and excited to get out again.
Everyone took something to carry and we made our way down to the campfire area. First things first, cup of coffee, and get Sean's hammock up which was immediately commandeered by a cub scout and Cedric!
The scouts also investigated the area and this is what they do when they go exploring. Thank you Alex D for your photos!
We were then joined by Ross, one of our scouter friends from 49/136 Swords who very kindly took the time out of his busy day (and it was a busy day) to go through fire etc with the kids. He explained about fire, different ways of creating fire and demonstrated the various ways. The scouts were hooked. There wasn't a word out of anyone whilst they soaked up his words. A MASSIVE thank you to Ross for this.
We decided that we needed to get a fire going so myself , Sean, Alex and Keeva worked on this. But everything was damp, despite the fact that we had dry tinder with us and our fire starting kits it just wasn't working. We were getting frustrated but didn't give up. In the end when we had a spark and yet another "nest" of fire etc Ross came over and put three or four "feather sticks" on our fire and hey presto we had a fire that was happily burning, after that it was just a question of feeding the fire and that was our main fire for the day.
Ross had to head, like I said he had a lot on yesterday, and our PL's and APl's with their patrols took a corner each and started lighting fires. All I can say is despite the fact that everything was just damp they didn't give up. Charlie kept going and got his fire started. Thank you for bringing extra bits of wood too btw, they came in handy! Sarah and Griffin got some chunks of chicken, stock cube and a bit of oil and wrapped it in silver foil and when they had hot embers placed their parcels on Charlie's fire.
Luke and Antony, our venture scouts, took control of the half-barrel and again with perseverance got their fire going. Aaron cooked amazing bacon, sausies and onions. When I next turned around (got dizzy from all the smoke of the fire making) Alex D had a parcel of cooked peppers ready..for something amazing later on! Molly was working on her fire, Ruth and Sophia joined her with their tinder supplies. Jossica and Patrick were working on food prep. Sarah helped Ellie May to cut some more onions. There was so much going on it was hard to keep up! I reckon it was the tears from the smoke were blurring my vision! Oh and the potatoes were in the embers about three paragraphs ago!
Our two cub scouts were everywhere from feeding fires to grabbing some cooked bacon to making feather sticks (which everyone had a go at) to hanging out of trees they had a blast. Our venture scouts were great. They were busy with the half-barrel as I said, but when needed they were more than happy to give a helping hand. Thank you boys.
Salmon - what can i say! We brought fish as I said earlier. I naively thought that only the three scouters would actually eat the fish. Yes the kids would happily cook it but would they eat it! How wrong was I. Catherine and Alex D had checked the salmon earlier as it was cooking on the embers. It wasn't quite ready. It didn't take too long however and off the fire it came. OH MY GOODNESS, it was absolutely delicious. Alex D had seasoned one salmon parcel with garlic, the other with peri peri. Collectively we attacked that salmon, EVERYONE loved it and as Daragh said history was made for some of us that day for actually eating salmon!!! Alex D did a great job of fending us of so that he very cleverly made salmon and pepper (that's what he had prepped earlier) kebabs for Sophia and Ruth! Really fantastic stuff!
Griffin in the meantime went with Sarah to check how the chicken was going. It was cooked and of course someone had to test it for quality purposes and I can safely say it was melt in the mouth delicious!
Thanks to my friend Ross I can safely say that I like bread on a stick (although i made it like a scone) and so does Sean. I was bit heavy with the salt but lesson learned. But the flavour and texture were spot on!
Everyone kept busy with maintaining their fires or getting the food ready and then keeping an eye on it. It was just lovely. Once they had nibbled the kids cleared off into the forest for a little while and we let all the fires burn down. Not too long however as it was very quickly time to start heading back to the car park and the walk took us 30 mins on the way down to Turvey. Granted we had no food or water to bring back so we were travelling a lot lighter! All fires were extinguished with water and everything packed and put away and rubbish put in black bags and carried back to the parking. Right on time to meet our parents.
We agreed that we will definitely do another Turvey day however next time stay longer. The allotments close at 4.30 so we really didn't have a choice but we would start even earlier next time and stay later (opening hours permitting). We've already made contact with Fingal about another date! Catherine and fellow scouters - just letting you know now :)
We learned a lot yesterday. We know that we have to be prepared with fuel for the fire that's fine, but we also learned how handy the feather sticks really are. Next time we will make about 50 of them :) before a spark is even struck! We want to be there longer because the potatoes were cooked to perfection, fluffy in the center but we just ran out of time. However to be fair, the kids found the strawberries and marshmallows and chocolate and made short shrift of said fruit and marshmallows so no complaints there.
All in all a fabulous day, the weather held out for us and the kids had a blast. We discovered that Sean's hammock doesn't hold two people and the teamwork and friendship of the scouts and venture scouts to help a fellow scout back to the carpark will stay with us for a long time. As we always say a great bunch of scouts!
Next stop! Portmarnock Den for another backwoods adventure!
The Scout Team