9th August 2008 by buff
The alarms went off at 6.30, showers were completed by 7am and then the process of cleaning our bunkhouse began. Floors were swept then mopped, loos were cleaned and our day sacks were thrown unto the bus. Breakfast was a little earlier than normal around 8am, and by 9am we were on our way home.
We left the centre with a light drizzle falling but when we reached Glasgow a blinding rain with serious spray was all around us making driving a little interesting! A much needed break at Gretna Green recharged our batteries and after a coffee or two Momma Bear and Mad Michelle took over the driving from Buff and Osama for the next leg.
We were seriously delayed in the northern Lake District for around an hour by…..about 10 traffic cones in the fast lane and, you guessed it, absolutely no road works or road workers in sight – over 10 miles of traffic carnage – it must be the summer holidays! Our lunch stop was near Chorley in Lancashire where the boys took over the driving again. The rain did stop for most of the remaining journey and only really started in earnest as we were coming into Cwmbran. Arrived home at the hut 7pm as predicted.
A fantastic week – many thanks to all the leaders and explorers that made it such fun…see you in September.
8th August 2008 by buff
Friday evening saw both the explorers and the leaders saying their goodbyes to our new friends. We have made some great new friends in the Glasgow area (Alan and Bryon and their Scouts / Explorers) and have a good base for future activities in Scotland. A number of our explorers will also be missing certain English lads from our new friends from Cheshire! (Mike et al…Embarrassing photos to follow).
Flagdown was held at 6.15pm and saw an interesting development….the return of Barbie! Following a brief and slightly garbled final message from “Da Barbie Snatchers”, Barbie was found straped to the central flagpole! Fil was overjoyed and immediately rushed to her rescue and was last seen showing Barbie the sights of the centre and the village.
The mini-bus was packed with everyones kit to enable us to make an early start on Saturday.
8th August 2008 by buff
Friday morning was “choice time”. Following a week of programmed activities, the explorers were allowed to choose their last morning activity – Ethan, Jordan and Oli headed off for a hill walk while Becky, Jodie, Eloise, Matt OB, Tobi, Becky G, Laura, Jon did Jacobs ladder, wobbly pole and archery whilst the rest of the unit went off for a paddle in a kayak. Becky even managed to get to the top of the ladder with her hand strapped up.
Following an excellent lunch of the biggest jumbo hot dogs that I have had for a while, the unit went off to do “Rafting, Bell boating, Spladoosh” – A race across the loch. They were last seen halfway across (right in the deepest part of the loch) slowly sinking!
The responsible adults managed to blag access to a powerboat and Buff took off down the loch with Momma Bear screaming and Rosie n Jim laughing!
6th August 2008 by buff
It’s official – in addition to being a kidnap victim, Barbie is also a jail bird. Further information on Barbie’s travels was secretly passed to “Gorgeous Ali” who in turn passed it to us. It appears that the kidnappers have taken barbie to Inverary Jail – where she was brought before the judge and recieved her parole certificate! (See the photos!). We await Fil’s response on the ransom…although it is not looking good for our shortest member – Fil seems to be “going off” his current Barbie and is already eyeing up “good-time girl” Barbie!
6th August 2008 by buff
Today was our “rest day” – our instructors disappeared after breakfast. Many explorers took the opportunity to have a lie in…however, the biggest shopping mall in Glasgow beckoned! By 10am we were underway as the weather finally turned and the drizzle came down. Shortly after 11 we pulled into Breahead. A massive shopping complex with the added bonus of Xscape next door – this was an activity centre with a difference. Totally indoors and containing a snow dome, a high ropes assault course, outdoor shops, restaurants, games arcades…and absolutely filled with Norwegians! – it was tough!
Following a quick photo opportunity outside OUR FreeSpirit shop (see photo), we all split up and did not reconvene until 4.30ish when we invaded the local Chinese buffet – all you can eat for around 6 quid – what a silly concept with team “huge appetite” aka, Kieran, Tobi, Ethan, Jordan and Rhys arriving. I’m sure that this restaurant will soon go out of business! However, all this food had its consequences…one Oli G decided to bring it all back into view again…as we were leaving the restaurant, and a second near miss by Jim almost rolled the mini bus…only kidding!!
6th August 2008 by Momma Bear
Becky G and Mamma Bear decided they would buy some bargains in trespass. 2 bags, a fleece and a pair of shoes – total price £38 not too difficult you’d think?? Michelle tried her luck with the YTS boy behind the counter and said “do we get 10% off for scouts?” The goth looking wannabe manager said no we don’t but you can have it anyway. Cool, we thought – price should be £34 ish. YTS rung the items in and it came to £38 the first time and mamma bear said how do ya work that out? No chance are we paying that. As the queue was starting to build up he cancelled the items and started again. Once again, the boy did it wrong, This time, the goth woman was losing her rag and fil was really embarassed and had to walk away from us and the long queue……….. Even with the calculator their 3rd attempt still failed! Mamma bear did a quick manual calculation for them when they suddenly realised what we had been telling them for the last 10 minutes – the total price was wrong!! Eventually much to the relief of the frustrated people behind us they managed to get it right! The next challenge was to get the items in the bags………
Great day shopping…..shame about the staff……….
5th August 2008 by Fil
We started the new activities timetable today and the first activity of the day for my group happened to be sailing. We split into two teams of six and headed down to the jetty where we were then taken to the sail boats in a small dingy at high speeds. Once we arrived at the sail boats we got aboard to find a lot of bird poo which unfortunately we had to sit in. Once we were over that we pulled up the sails and headed out in the lake. There wasn’t much wind to start but as we got going the wind picked up and we went faster.
After about fifteen minutes of sailing to get the hang of things we met up with the other sail boat that had gone out and arranged a few races. The races were quite fun as was the whole sailing experience overall. We didn’t get wet and it was an enjoyable and relaxing sail around the loch with stunning scenery all around.
The sailing instructors were very helpful and let us take control of the whole boat. We all had a go at steering the boat and pulling the ropes which are known as sheets in sailors terms. After about a good two hours we headed back near the shore and tied down the boat. We were then taken back to the jetty at high speeds in the same way we were taken out. As we got back ashore we went back to site and prepared ourselves for lunch that was to come shortly.
5th August 2008 by Osama
Following reports that there may be seals in distress out on the loch somewhere a crack team of Explorers jumped into the rescue boat (Will, Rhys, Fil, Tom, Matt) and headed out to search the vast waters. First up driving the boat was Rhys. His unusual search pattern consisted of a giant figure of 8, s-turns and several u-turns and left the searchers baffelled, but Rhys did have a big grin on his face. This resulted in no seals being rescued.
Matt then took over the helm and funnily enough I think he’s read the same search ‘n’ rescue manual. He then followed the same search pattern, so still no seals, but his grin was rather wide. Tom blitzed the local seagulls with his control of the boat as we shot past the moored peanut factory.
Fil then became David Hasselhoff. The wind was flowing and blowing through his coiffured hair. It’s true, for the first time, his fellow Explorers have seen his forehead. Fil said that he was going to get one of these to play on Llandegfedd, but alas no seals were found.
Will was then in control, now his grin was as cheesy as a cheesy thing made out of the cheesiest cheese. Will managed to do what no other helmsman had done. He soaked the lot of us, bailing became a serious issue (I’m sure that the seals were having a great time watching us from the shoreside).
Several u-turns, figure of 8’s and Will’s trademark manoeuvre, The Doughnut. We were all feeling it was time to head into the jetty and get on dry land. No seals were rescued but the feelgood factor was 1000%. Hope the others enjoy as much as we did.
5th August 2008 by richard
During their expeditions on the loch, the Explorer’s came across a floating grey box. According to their sailing instructor, this box is a peanut factory. The factory stores peanuts in the water for a month to ensure they are properly salted. Once they are ready, they are picked up by the Peanut Express, but sometimes, the peanuts fail to stay within their container and end up washing up on shore.
Strangely, our Explorer’s found this hard to believe, but Matt O’B was absolutely convinced by this, bless!! It turns out the peanut factory is, in fact, a Scottish Naval Outpost.
5th August 2008 by richard
Barbie is still MIA, and at flag break this morning, the Barbie Snatchers made contact again. The centre manager, Ali, received another ransom note stating the demands. Our crack forensic team is struggling with identifying the source of the ransom notes and the location pictures we have received. The cunning kidnappers have changed their brand of toothpaste used for glueing the letters in place.
4th August 2008 by buff
Explorers, as I am sure you all know, are teenagers – renowned for being clean, helpful, polite etc. So the responsible adults (Mel and Rosie) were very suprised to see the following female bedroom in our bunkhouse…I wonder who’s it was…….
4th August 2008 by buff
Barbie, one of our FreeSpirit newest recruits, who was reported missing yesterday, was today reported kidnapped! During our morning flagbreak, the centre manager…one gorgeous Ali (according to Momma Bear, aka Sarah)…read out a note which had been pushed under his office door (see photo). It stated that our good friend Barbie had indeed been kidnapped and would be ransomed. Rumours have been circulating all day about possible sightings – in the loch, on top of the wobbly tower. We await further contact – the police are baffled!
3rd August 2008 by buff
Two of our unit members…who also moonlight as professional fishermen, popped down to the jetty and setup for an evenings serious fishing. Following 2 hours work, “I ain’t afraid of anything” Ben and his hippie friend Mr Tobi Lerone cast their lines, threw their bate…and caught a “poisonous starfish” whilst watched very closely by the local seal – who’s name was Bob.