Once again its been another rewarding scouting year for our Troop.

One of the last things I mentioned in the 2016/17 annual report was that our troop had just won the District camping competition – the Totem – and were looking forward to the Zonal competition in June.  Well I am pleased to advise that the team put in such a good effort they made it all the way to the National Competition Final at Meggernie in September.  They were a very determined group and put in lots of training to improve their skills. And it paid off, Andrew, Ethan, Adam, David, Ewan and Ben persevered and gained second place in the Competition. Well done boys– we are very proud of you all!

In July 2017 we took 8 Scouts over the sea to Crawfordsburn Scout Camp nr. Belfast in Northern Ireland – where they met 3000 other Scouts for a week long, International Jamboree – NIJAM.  They had an amazing week despite having to move camp within 48 hours of arrival – we were flooded out due to torrential rain! We also had a brilliant day trip to the Giants Causeway and the scouts banded together to win the biggest bear in the penny arcade – he’s now our mascot.

In August, we enjoyed a camp at Bonaly when the scouts built a pioneering frame on which to hang their hammocks. In September, we had a backwoods bivi camp at Fordell Firs and the Scouts started on their climbing badge. In October we enjoyed a survival camp at the Craigs in West Lothian and tried out Dutch ovens for the first time. The homemade pizza the Scouts cooked for lunch was a winner. During the half term break, four of our oldest Scouts undertook their expedition challenge, arranging the transport to and from Bonaly, where they camped the night. They also did 14 miles of a hike in between carrying full kit. They tell me they’ll all pack less next time….  Later in the month, after they did their expedition presentation, our Group Leader presented Chief Scout Gold Awards to Andrew Thomson and Ben McHardie.

In November we went to Nine Acres in the Crook of Devon where the scouts practiced a variety of first aid scenarios and navigation skills. On the Saturday night we had our own fireworks party.  As we like to practice ‘U-shaped’ scouting, we started on the Astronautics badge, which had been at the request of one of our Scouts. … Rockets at the ready!

In December we had a first go at fund raising for Summer Camp 2018. The Christmas hamper raffle raised £450 and a bag-packing session raised a further £641 with gift aid taking it to over £800.  Many thanks to all Scouts and parents who contributed/participated as we raised enough to cover our transport costs to Chamboree 2018 in Cheshire in July. Our Christmas craft camp was followed by a trip to see Aladdin at the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy.

Over the New Year we shadowed three more of our senior Scouts as they went on an expedition to East Linton and onto North Berwick, where we stayed the night at the Scout Hall, curtesy of the North Berwick Scout Group. After a trip to the Sealife Centre, they hiked with full kit to Dirleton.  Our first camp of the year was to Wemyss Firs near Kirkcaldy, which is becoming a firm favourite with the Scouts. It was a cold camp, -4 degrees, our first sub-zero of the year. We tried out the new orienteering routes .. even if the deep snow covered up some of the clues. Later that month, the Scouts planned a Burns night supper with haggis, neeps and tatties for dinner. The haggis was piped in by two very professional looking (and sounding) pipers, Ethan and Brooklyn as we all looked on wearing our kilts and tartans. Various Scouts did readings and we all Sang Auld Lang Syne. There was a perfect end to the event when our District Commissioner presented three Chief Scout Gold awards to Ethan O’Neale, Adam Harper and Zack Niven.

In February, we had a joint camp with Monday night Scouts and the Explorers at the trampoline park at Jumpstation. Even Leaders joined in the activities – fortunately no (permanent) injuries!

In March, we started the Stage 1 Musicians badge. We had an exciting visit to Dalgety Bay Police Station and welcomed eight new cubs to our Troop. We took them all on their first Scout camp to the Craigs, where they learned to pitch Vango Force 10 tents for the first time.

In April, the sun shone and we all enjoyed the St Georges Day District Camp and all our canvas came down dry…. Bliss. The Scouts also finished their Stage 1 Musicians badge with a recital for parents of compositions by all three patrols.

In May, the scouts learnt all about knots and lashings and how to put up a bivi/tarp tent. We had an excellent visit to the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. We also entered a new team in the District Totem camping competition and were delighted that with such a young patrol there were only 8 points between them and the winners.  We rounded off the month with a Group camp at the Secret Bunker in St. Andrews where Scouts slept in dorms which were part of the exhibits…. Normally off limits to visitors. So a fun but informative time was had by all.

So once again I hope you will agree with me that it really has been a productive and enjoyable year for Scouts and Leaders alike.   My thanks to all my fellow scout leaders Gordon, Murray, Paula and Tony.  It was truly a team effort.


Iain Stevenson

Donibristle Scout Troop

Donibristle Scouts Annual Report 2018