he last week in July saw 14 scouts, 2 explorers and 7 leaders (I think!) from 2 troops (297th Bradway and 46th St Pauls) journey across to North Wales for a week spent doing a variety of adventurous activities in the great outdoors. After months planning, preparation and organising the week finally arrived. There was little room for error. What could go wrong? After all, one of us knew roughly where the camp site was and the Internet assured us that it never rained in Wales, so we were all set!
The week finally started with a beautifully sunny Saturday morning at the scout centre doing some last minute kit packing and attempted trailer light fixing before a departure of what should have been a fairly painless 3 hours top journey. After deciding the minibus couldn’t handle the dreaded Snake we set off the longer but flatter Woodhead route. Half an hour later, before we had left Sheffield, we pulled into McDonalds for a breakfast and toilet stop. Rolling once more we continued making fair progress until, just after leaving Sheffield, we started to lose kit off the roof of the bus. To make a long story short, almost 5 hours later – and a trailer unhitch, drive back, trailer re-hitch, solid traffic, toilet stop and roof rack re-secure, more solid traffic, another toilet stop and navigating the labyrinth of Wales’ single track roads – we arrived! After many failed attempts at squeezing the minibus with the trailer through the field gate we found our fellow scout leaders had arrived hours ago and already eaten and set up half of camp! By this time it had become super hot and the rest of the day saw us set up camp.
Sunday saw the scouts cooking breakfast on open fires before a walk through Wales’ almost non existent footpaths (scrambling through bushes and fighting through woodland) to Betws-yn-Rhos where we ate lunch. After exploring the town a little it was decided we would play football golf which was a very happy hour struggling to put a ball in a hole. After we returned to the campsite so the scouts could cook their tea.
On Monday, after cooking breakfast, we drove up to the new water sports centre at Colwyn Bay where half the scouts did kayaking for the morning and half did sailing. Lunch was a picnic on the beach where we then proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon flying kites and playing French Cricket.
I am told that on Tuesday everybody went for a walk in the nearby Snowdonia National Park which turned out to be rather strenuous because of the hills. Also some heavy rain over night which is hard to believe as it never rains in Wales!
Cycling was Wednesday’s activity where everybody did very well in an almost 30 mile cycle! It was a scenic ride along the coast and promenade from the coastal town of Llandulas on all the way to The Great Orme and round further to Conwy Castle where lunch was eaten. After eating we went to see the Worlds Smallest House and cycled back to where we started. A successful ride with few falls and injuries! That evening the campers in the next field, a scout group from Safron Walden, came over for Camp Olympics which included activities such as the Square Minute and Ugg Bashing. To round it off we set a world record for the longest game of Kubb ever to be played which went on until dark when no body could see enough to play and everybody was glad to see the back of it!
Thursday was water sports day 2 where half the group did sailing and half paddle boarding. The paddle boarding at least was a great success. After another picnic and a play in the local park, we all walked on to the next seaside village: Rhos-On-Sea, where we played Crazy Golf. That evening it was our turn to go to the Safron Walden campsite to enjoy an evening BBQ and a chat with the farmers brothers wife’s mates dog from Newcastle. A family tree I still struggle to understand.
Friday was the last proper day and to make a great end to the trip we went to brave Zip World; a network of zip wires connected and strung around the tops of the trees. After this high adrenaline activity, we located and drove to the latest development in surfing technology: Surf Snowdonia. On the way we hit some awkward traffic around a bridge, so we continued upstream where we tried to take the minibus over a public footbridge thanks to some absolutely cracking navigating! Decided this was not the best plan we retreated the steps and crossed the river at the proper place. Not deterred however, we took a rather different ride back to camp along vertical, single track roads with grass growing on them in a minibus full of children with “Highway to Hell” blasting out of the radio, where we started the process of striking camp. Later we drove into Llandudno to have fish and chips and a walk along the pier. A great last supper!
The return the next day was less eventful than the journey outbound after a final strike camp and last flag down. The minibus pulled into Bradway (on time!) and everybody was glad to return to the bosoms of their families after an outstanding week!