We had been looking forward to our first proper outing with our Cubs for the new 2019/2020 cub year. A Pioneering/Backwoods Day. However disaster struck the morning before the day itself, due to heavy rainfall the campsite we were going to spend our day in was unusable. No panic as such but certainly a rush of brainstorming suggestions amongst the scouters for a new venue as we didn’t want to let the kids down. We settled on Larch Hill very quickly. Phew!
We arrived at Larch Hill with a healthy number of 12 cubs plus 4 leaders.
We knew it was going to rain, the views of the mountains were a bit of a give away (even if you hadn't done a forecast check!) so we decided that we would get through as much of the day as we could and if it became miserable for everyone we would call it. Thankfully it didn't come to that.
First things first where were we going to base ourselves. Mary and Fiona found a nice spot but as soon as we walked back to the kids a misty rain started coming down as well as a slight breeze so we rethought it and moved to another field nearby. We were now sheltered from the wind and not exposed to full on rain. Yes the trees would keep dripping on us but you can’t have everything….
Once settled on a spot the cubs went with us down to collect some pioneering poles. They worked in pairs and as a time saver they took two poles each.
We got straight into it with Mary taking the lead on showing the kids their lashings. We all dug in to give a hand and the cubs had a turn at trying out their clove hitch know that they’d learnt over the last few weeks. They all did really well and despite the rain there wasn’t a single complaint.
Another team led by Katie went scouring for wood – they weren’t going to find “dry” wood per se however they found wood that hadn’t been exposed completely to the rain and even though the bark was wet the inside was still dry. We shoved all the bits the kids found under our tarp to stop it getting any wetter. Team Katie did a great job !
Soon enough there were mumblings of “I’m hungry, can we eat”. Of course says Andrea, you don’t need to wait, you’re hungry then eat! So soon enough lunches starting popping up here and there.
Whilst the cubs were making two tripods and attaching spars etc Jenna and Alex followed by Rian and Saoirse got started on an altar fire (raised fire). We were keen to get a fire started, one for heat, two for food and three it’s the best thing on camp (shhhh I didn’t just say that!).
Despite the rain we got a lovely fire going very quickly. Any bits of damp wood were kept on the side of the fire to dry them out and because they were thin they dried quickly. Dimi, Andrea and James took the ax and kept a steady flow of wood coming. Hmm if only you could bottle the smell of campfire….
We know we are youth led but once the work was done and the site was tidied up of any excess poles (again the cubs paired up and put the poles back into storage) the kids disappeared into the forested area right beside our base. At one point coats were coming off with all the fun happenings going on in the woods.