Gradbach Training Weekend

The years training camp was held at Gradbach (about half way between Macclesfield and Buxton)
The programme was based very much around training / reminding the Scouts of the skills they will need in order to enjoy this years camps to the full

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Click to Enlarge Upon arrival on the Friday night we had a slight problem when the minibus and trailer got stuck on a very narrow lane on the way to the site, so the first activity was to empty the trailer and carry the gear we needed to the site, then whilst the Scouts got started pitching their tents most of the Leaders, with help from the Explorers, pushed the minibus out of the jam and back up the hill to freedom!
After an interesting tent pitching session in the rain it was time for bed, only to be met with super cold conditions when waking up in the morning
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After a rather pro-longed breakfast (due to the cold I'm sure) we started collecting altar fires and wood ready to cook our lunch and tea on open fires. Allthough we managed to build some reasonable wood stores everything was absolutley soaked, so it took a bit of work to get the fires lit and keep them in
In the morning we also covered Axe and Saw work with those who have not used either before, preparing them for future wood gathering
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After a rather pro-longed breakfast (due to the cold I'm sure) we started collecting altar fires and wood ready to cook our lunch and tea on open fires. Allthough we managed to build some reasonable wood stores everything was absolutley soaked, so it took a bit of work to get the fires lit and keep them in
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After everyone had a go at hiding it was time for our campfire, made all the more special by the fact snow started to fall halfway though
Waking up the next day it was all to obvious we had a below zero night, with snow still on the tents, and frozen puddles on the ground, fortunatley the water supply was still working
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In the morning we also covered Axe and Saw work with those who have not used either before, preparing them for future wood gathering. For the Friday night and the Saturday morning we had two special visiters on site, Ryo and Shu Okamoto, both ex members of 3HG, they returned to their homeland of Japan around 2 years ago, back for a visit we were more than happy to welcome them on our camp
As you can see from the photo's below we also had some far stranger visitors,s the site was also being used for a medival contest rehersal, ready for Tatton Park at Easter.
After lunch the weather really set in, with a quite violent hale storm, hence time to take shelter, except for the poor souls keeping the fires going!
The afternoon was quite a relaxed affair, keeping the fires lit, with DJ even heading off to the local petrol garage to buy some dry wood as local supplies were thin on the ground
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As per lunch tea was cooked on the fires, this time with a plentiful collection of dry wood, the going was far easier, after dinner we had a troop wide game, involving a small group hiding and being searched out and marched to base by the rest of the troop.
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It was also very nice to welcome some Explorers on the camp, They stayed seperate from the troop and did their own activities but joined us now and again for items such as the campfire
This is the first time (apart from Kandersteg) that we have managed to run a joint Scout and Explorer camp in the last 4 years, and it worked well
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The rest of Sunday was basically spent taking the camp down for a early return to our HQ in order to wash the vast coating of mud off everything and everyone.
All in all a camp with very little done, except suriving the cold, but I hope everyone on it will agree a good weekend non the less