As we near the end of our first month of 2016, the team across Clyde have been busy planning developments to support local Scouting. In the first of a new series of blogs, our recently elected Vice Chair Fraser introduces himself and shares some updates from the first meeting of our Executive Committee this year.
I am Fraser McGarrigle, Assistant Cub Scout Leader with the 204th group in Great Western District and Vice Chair of Clyde Scouts. Over the coming months and years a series of projects have been planned to enrich scouting in Clyde Region, both on a small scale and on an international level.
Projects within the region itself have been planned with the intention of supporting our Regional Commissioner Marion Rankin in her efforts to encourage more camping and traditional outdoor skills over a wider spectrum of groups. We are therefore supporting four distinct but interlinked proposals at Auchengillan.
First, work is soon to begin on the long awaited tree conservation project. Site managers Andy and Claire have been working on a 10 year Woodland Management Programme which will remove the unsafe spruce and large trees and secure the future of the woodland across the entire 120 acre centre. The project will result in the restoration of diverse native British Woodland: over 12 different tree varieties are being planted to increase biodiversity, improve drainage throughout, and to provide a more open and appealing landscape. Crucially, it will allow for permanent bivouacking sites and even reclaim the lost campsites of McNamara’s Outpost and Lomond View, which were lost to the forest some years ago.
Second, we will be introducing some new buildings with the hope of making the outdoors more accessible to smaller or traditionally “indoorsy” groups. Three small cabins are to be erected sleeping six people each, and one large cabin with a raised barbeque fire in the centre, seating round the edges, and two rear extensions to accommodate four leaders. All four cabins have will lighting and electricity, and are designed to provide an all-weather, ready to use introduction to overnight outdoor experiences. Proposed to support new groups, groups with limited equipment and leaders with limited experience under canvas, they will provide a “best of both” accommodation – some of the charm of sleeping close to nature, but with the luxury of a roof and electricity! Of course they will be readily available to any group that wishes to take advantage of them.
Third, we are going to be building some camping shelters in three of our most popular camp sites: Slums, Himalayas and Tank Wood. With incorporated fire pits, these undercover shelters will provide a base to store equipment whilst pitching tents and an undercover area to eat in during wet weather. They will also provide a small sheltered area for teaching vital outdoor skills such as orienteering, craft work or cooking on a gas stove. Or even more simply for sheltering from rain, or for shade in sunny weather! There will be no charge for hiring the shelters, they will be free for all groups.
Fourth, returning to Marion’s vision of a focus on traditional scouting skills, we will be introducing new resources in conjunction with the tree project. Sites like McNamara’s Outpost, Lomond View, and the Kyle Cabin woods will afford opportunities for development of bivouac, hammocks, and light weight camping sites, hence allowing some slightly more innovate and imaginative camping, and affording opportunities for learning lightweight camping and traditional Scouting skills.Free of charge for Clyde Scout Groups that are camping, each patrol (or equivalent) will be issued with an altar fire, a daily basket of fire wood, and a couple of extra baskets for a campfire. Large pioneering timbers will also be made freely available - although groups will need to provide their own ropes.Author: Gary Bainbridge