The 1st Madrid Scouts travelled to Cantalejo near Segovia for our joint Group Summer camp with the Beavers and Cubs. It was over an hour drive from Madrid, and as we drove through the rain and even hail on the way, we wondered what the weather would have in store for us this weekend!
The Friday night was spent pitching our tents, setting up camp and enjoying exploring the campsite, luckily the rain we experienced during the drive from Madrid to Cantalejo never materialised at the campsite itself, instead we would have warm, sunny days with light breezes throughout the weekend.
At mid-morning we stopped doing the hard work in order to make s’mores which was a lot of fun and quite sticky!
Afterwards we picked up litter from around the campsite and managed to fill a whole carrier back just with human debris that was strewn around the playground and camping plots. Finally we went back to the cabins to finish packing before having lunch in the dining hall. At the closing ceremony our new Beaver Chiara made her promise and Marco was awarded the Bronze Scout award. It was a happy end to an exciting weekend.
Cubs and Scouts arrived on Friday afternoon ready to set up the tents that will be their homes for this adventurous weekend.
Saturday morning was a bit of relax with some games.
But the thrilling activity of the day would be canoeing, where Cubs would show their strength and their skills.
After such a exhausting activity, the afternoon went by at the camp with some free games and rehearsing the Night Show.
Sunday was the day for a hike and also for striking the camp, packing all the stuff and some free games until the closing ceremony.
Both Cubs and Leaders had a relly good time!!
The Scouts managed to have a very late night on Friday, earning themselves both the ire of their Leaders and becoming volunteers for washing up of breakfast pots and pans the next morning!
Saturday morning was a very early awakening for some Scouts, but we all enjoyed cooking our own breakfasts over hiking gas stoves and making ‘eggy bread’ together with baked beans and sausages. We used this as a rehearsal for cooking on the same equipment on Sunday during our hiking expedition.
Before the bus for canoeing arrived, we spent time practicing survival skills, including bivouac building and basic knife skills, teaching the Scouts how to use knives safely and responsibly.
We had planned for two full and exciting days, the Saturday onwards would be mostly taken up with a canoeing trip through the beautiful gorges of Embalse de las Vencias (Las Vencias reservoir, approximately 110Kms to the North-Northwest of Madrid),
Sunday we would then hike, including cooking bacon sandwiches for our brunch and bivouac building all using the lessons learnt on the Saturday morning.
We all boarded the bus on Saturday, headed for the canoeing. A short delay getting onto the water meant we had some very impatient Scouts eager to try their paddling skills!
The steep canyon walls lent a calm and serene atmosphere to our canoeing and we saw both eagles and vultures nesting on the ledges aplenty.
Lunch on a beach at the halfway point was very welcome and gave everyone the strength they needed for the trip back! Overall, the group planned to canoe more than 6 kilometres, but we are sure with the demonstrated lack of steering skills seen, some boats ended up paddling much further!
The Saturday evening on our return to the campsite we planned and plotted our hike on maps for the next day, in patrols the Scouts worked out their packing lists and plotted 8 figure map references on the 1:25000 maps of the local area.
We planned for a 6.5Km hike on the Sunday morning, discussing what time we needed to set off, what to take with us, who would carry what etc.
We then had some time to award their badges, some had been overdue for quite a long time, and it was good to see we were catching up with the work done by the Scouts.
To end the day’s activities, the Scouts joined the Beavers and Cubs in the traditional Scout “Show”, where jokes and skits were performed to the amusement of the whole group and then BBQ burgers filled hungry stomachs.
Sunday morning was an early start again, as the Scouts prepared to depart on our hike. We packed and stored all of our personal equipment before leaving, so as to be prepared on our return in case we were late.
We set off into the Cantalejo countryside, carrying our bivouac and cooking equipment distributed amongst the members of each patrol.
Just over halfway into our hike, we stopped at a shady wood, the patrols divided up the work between them with some members of each patrol cooking and the others building their bivouacs, just as if they were setting up camp for the night, it was great practice for some of the hikes in store for the older Scouts and brilliant experience for the younger ones.
After a hearty brunch of bacon sandwiches, we packed up all the equipment again and finished our hike, arriving back at the campsite in time to wash up our cooking pots and pans, have a brief rest, lunch then striking our tents in time for the parents arrival and Camp Closing Ceremony.
And the weather held all weekend!