Another weekend, another scout camp. This time it was a new one - a moonlight hike. This year, Scouting Ireland released a limited edition “Moonlight Hike�? badge to promote youth members hiking at night.
This weekend, the scouts were going to be based out of Larch Hill, Scouting Ireland’s headquarters and our home away from home. To mix things up a bit, it was decided that we would stay in the chicken huts, two backwoods style wooden huts, and cook, backwoods style, on open fire for the duration.
One of the section’s focuses this year was fire building and cooking. The scouts hard work clearly paid off as the fire was roaring in minutes and the food served was worthy of the Michelin guide. Saturday’s dinner was a curry, prepared by our very own in house chef and Scouter Fiona Fitzgerald, served with fire grilled naan bread. Breakfast on Sunday was a camping classic - Rashers and sausages. The Scouters, who clearly have a taste for the finer things, treated themselves to some ham and cheese toasties finished on the griddle.
Now onto the actual hike. The scouts tooled up and got ready to head off around half seven. After the obligatory panic for missing gear, the scouts marched off and started their adventure. The hike itself was one that most of the scouts are familiar with. Heading off from Larch Hill the cohort made short work of the walk down the road and into Kilmashogue woods. From there it got more difficult as they made the ascent up towards fairy castle.
The sweat, most of it from the scouters, was worth it as the climax of our hike revealed a stunning vista - The setting sun on one side, and Dublin’s skyline as it came alive with lights for the night. It was here that the scouts lined up and, one-by-one, were presented with the Moonlight Hike badge (Scouters included). There was something fitting about receiving the reward for our adventure while at the climax of our journey.
After a quick snack, the scouts headed off on their journey. After a brief period back amongst the forest, the trees once again fell away as the group ascended to the ancient cairn that was built thousands of years ago. Again the view of Dublin at night was stunning. If only the people who settled there long ago could see it today.
It was about another hour back to Larch hill. The scouts built a fire and roast some marshmallows whilst the scouters retreated to their hammocks for an early night.
Overall, it was a great weekend and a good challenge for some of our younger scouts. The hope is to make hiking a larger part of our programme for next year and, if this weekend is any indication, the scouts will enjoy every one.