Adventures at Silverhelme Scout Campsite – a review

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Adventures at Silverhelme Scout Campsite – a review

5 June 2018

Two weeks ago (18th-20th May), Cumbria county Beavers and Cubs from 1st Leven Valley group in SW Lakes took a brave step and crossed into Lancashire for a ‘nature’ themed weekend at the Silverhelme scout campsite in Silverdale.

On the way at last!

As the camp site is only a 10-minute walk from Silverdale railway station, we had planned to get there by train and foot.  However these plans had to be rapidly rethought, as only one hour before our planned departure time Northern Rail announced that all of the Friday evening trains would be cancelled.  After some encouragement from Marguerite (Brown Beaver), Northern Rail laid on an coach for our party and got us to Silverdale.

By the time we arrived at Mortimer Lodge, our home for the weekend, the baked potatoes were done to perfection.  After a later-than-planned supper, we explored the campsite, wonderfully set amongst the limestone and woodlands.  We were even treated to the sight of a Roe Deer!

After exploring the campsite and cocoa, it was time for bed and lights-out, though of course certain members of both Beavers and Cubs competed to be the “last to sleep!”

Campfire Safety

After the night’s “late-sleep competition”, some bleary-eyed and some less so youngsters and leaders woke to another sunny day.  Some of the leaders mentioned something about it being fabulous weather for a wedding somewhere down south, but all the young people cared about was being outside and discovering insects in the old oak tree, building a new tier on the ‘Bug Hotel’, and learning and using tracking signs in the woods for others to follow along behind.

Saturday afternoon was spent learning about campfire safety and fire-lighting with flint and steel, then wide-games and preparing the campfire for later on.  A tasty tea of Spag-Bol and garlic bread was followed by Jam Jar Pudding – fresh fruit and granola in whatever quantity you prefer, all piled into a jam jar!

 

 

Around the campfire

The campfire was lit at 8pm, and renditions of traditional songs were interspersed with Beavers and Cubs doing turns of jokes, story-telling, and the Cub version of ‘Simon Says’, which we call ‘Wolfie Says’!  The songs could have gone on all night, but ‘Time’ was called and cocoa brewed at 9pm with most of the Beavers and some of the Cubs ready for their beds!

Sunday breakfast

Sunday morning started off much the same as Saturday, with everyone tucking into cereals and a good cooked breakfast.  After breakfast everyone pitched in to make up packed-lunches for later in the day.  Well fed and fuelled for the day, the group made their way to the campsite chapel, where we held a reflective ‘Scouts Own’, and a moving-up ceremony for two of our Beavers who transferred up to the Cub section.

 

 

We had already pre-booked a visit to Leighton Moss, the RSPB nature reserve just down the road from the camp site, so after packing up and sorting out our camping gear, we walked down to the nature reserve to meet with one of their rangers and explore the site.

Exploring Leighton Moss

Our visit to Leighton Moss included: ‘flying’ around the reserve as Marsh Harriers, carrying out a ‘mini-beast’ survey, learning how to use binoculars properly to see some of the birds out on the mosses, exploring a part of the mosses using our senses, learning about bird nests and nesting, and getting to watch some of the birds feeding on the special ‘feeder display’.  Beavers, Cubs and Leaders thoroughly enjoyed the experience at Leighton Moss!

Stranded at Silverdale

After a great camp, the journey home was supposed to be an easy two-stop train ride from Silverdale back to Grange, where parents would be waiting to learn about our adventures.  However, the train was so overcrowded we were left standing on the platform – despite us pre-buying tickets!  So rather than risk the next train being full as well, our ever-helpful parents made the half-hour drive around the head of Morecambe Bay to collect the young people.

The camp was a great success, despite the challenges of transport, and we will definitely be using Silverhelme again.  Great outside space made even more special as the weather was superb!  During the weekend the Cubs earned nights-away and Naturalist badges, and the Beavers gained additional Nights Away badges and many completed their Adventure Challenge Badge.

A great camp at Silverhelme!

 

 

 

Joseph Cowell,

Leader, 1st Leven Valley