On Sunday 27th March 2016 2nd Daventry Scouts met at the group HQ to start their yearly Easter Camp. For the last 3 years, the troop has had a tradition of going on a week long Easter Camp. The first year was a week in Derbyshire and involved climbing, abseiling, visiting some caves and generally having a good time. The second year involved a week in Devon, spending time on the beach, going for boat trips and visiting a Penguin Sanctuary. This year we decided to push the boat out literally and visited Belgium!
Below is a summary of what we did on the camp along with some photos to show some of the activities they got up to.
Sunday 27th March The Scouts met at the Scout Hall and checked they had their passports and all their kit. They had some supper and made sure they could get everything on the Minibus. We didn’t want to have to offload kit at 4am Monday morning!!
Monday 28th March At 4am we set off for sunny Dover. Unfortunately it was not very sunny! We had torrential rain and gailforce winds to contend with. It was so extreme that no one was allowed outside on the ferry and we were moved to the last boat out for the day to Calais. This was ok, except we were supposed to be going to Dunkirk! After a lovely full breakfast (Some of the Scouts liked it that much they brought it back up) on the boat we faced the task of tackling the rough seas. We survived and landed in France at lunch time.
After roughly a 2 hour drive we arrived at De Pinte near Ghent in central Belgium. If other groups are planning a similar trip I would well recommend the hostel we stopped at (Contact Matt Taylor at 2nd Daventry Scout Group if you would like details).
The Scouts then unpacked and went off to explore the woods that the hostel was located in. Connor and Matt then went on their own expedition as hunter gatherers, as the Monday was also a bank holiday in Belgium and the shops were closed. This was not bad planning, we were aware before we set off, so had taken with us the absolute essentials such as Bacon and Monday’s dinner!
After dinner, we all had an early night ready for a full day Tuesday.
Tuesday 29th March Bacon and Egg baguettes, orange juice, Tea and Coffee set us up for the day. The weather was wet to begin with, so we were glad that we had slept in a building overnight! We started the day by visiting Hill 62 – Sanctuary Wood near Ypres. There were trenches here left as they were at the end of the war. The Scouts had the opportunity to look round the museum and explore the trenches. What was most moving was that one of the youngest scouts passed comment about how “Lucky” they were. Following the trenches we visited the Canadian War Memorial at the top of the hill.
After these we went to Ypres itself and had lunch, followed by a visit to the In Flanders Field Museum. Here the scouts were given some free time to wonder round the interactive museum. We then visited the Menin Gate to show the Scouts where they would be taking part in the last post ceremony the following evening.
Wednesday 30th March
This was another busy day. We started again with the bacon and egg baguettes and then set off for Bruges. When in Bruges we visited the “Choco Story” where the Scouts got to learn the history of Chocolate, watch some Belgian Chocolate being made, and then got to sample it!! We also visited a local shop and all had local Belgian Hot Chocolate to drink!!!
We then gave them the opportunity to spend some Euros whilst walking through Bruges and heading back to the minibus for lunch. Not that many wanted it after all their chocolate!
The afternoon was spent back at our base where the Scouts polished their shoes, ironed their shirts and their Neckers ready for an early dinner and then the trip back to the Menin Gate for the Last Post Ceremony. The scouts were given pride of place stood in the middle of the road (This had been shut to traffic by the police). One of our Scouts (Duncan) read a prayer and then 2 scouts and a young leader laid our wreath.
Loud music was played on the way home followed by a late pudding of Belgian waffles, chocolate and vanilla ice cream, squirty cream and Nutella!
Thursday 30th March
Guess what, we had Bacon and Egg Baguettes followed by a trip to the Tyne Cot Cemetery. This was at the request of the Scouts. This experience was extremely humbling. Over 11,000 graves of which over 8,000 were unnamed. In addition to this there was a wall with over 35,000 names of missing servicemen.
We then visited a park in Ghent with a beach and lake where we had our packed lunch, a game of football and rounder’s. We finished just in time as the weather turned and down came the rain in time for our BBQ and Camp Fire for the last night party!
Friday 1st April
This was the last day, so when in Rome... We had a continental Breakfast! We then packed and set off the weather was good, and the sea was like a mill pond. We also got to travel from Dunkirk this time!