We finished the final leg of our Summer Camp on a wet Wednesday. Starting at Gairlochy we took a few moments out to visit the Commando Memorial at the top of the hill before beginning our final leg along the Caledonian Canal to Fort William.
As we began the rain began to fall, slightly heavier than Tuesday, but it didn't dampen the spirits as the finish line was in sight. A walk that started in April in glorious sunshine, finished in July on a damp drizzly day! Congratulations to all the Scouts who have completed the whole route from Inverness to Fort William.
Day 2 of the hike and, after a night of comfort in the Great Glen Hostel, we set out on the penultimate leg of our Great Glen journey. This was a long stretch which took us from the swing bridge at Laggan to Gairlochy. The route followed the shores of Loch Lochy with the occasional steep hill to negotiate. The weather was variable with periods of sunshine and periods of very light rain, that type of rain that comedian Peter Kay refers to as the one that “gets you wet through”. It didn’t dampen the spirits and both groups finished in the sunshine.
It was then back to the hostel for dinner and Brendan’s customary 145th expedition quiz which tests how observant the Scouts have been over the previous days. Tomorrow we complete the final section from Gairlochy to Fort William.
With a hearty breakfast and a packed lunch it was time to leave our Satellite camp home and embark upon completing the Great Glen Way.
It was a teary and emotional departure with an empassioned closing ceremony led by our camp chief Uncle Kenny. We owe a huge thanks to all our satellite camp staff who cooked us soup, glamorously displayed our lost property (Lindsay and Karen) and unblocked our portaloos (Jimmy and his stick).
With cloudy skies above our tents were rapidly dismantled, we broke our own record for striking our mess tent (with the help of Richard) in under 3 minutes flat!
It took a wee bit of jiggery-pokery but after numerous attempts and only a little brute force we eventually packed both the bus and the Volvo with kit and people and set off for our Great Glen start point. The drive cross country was very drizzly but the clouds parted as we reached our destination.
Taking advantage of a small weather window we managed to complete our section of the Way in good time, before the heavens opened as we flopped down and enfolded ourselves in the luxurious comfort of the Great Glen Hostel with all-mod-cons including running water and flushing toilets.
In an almost unprecedented turn of events last night Scouts from the 145th decided that they didn't want any supper and would rather just quietly go to bed.
After a full day, of activities in the morning followed by the country fair in the afternoon, our scouts sang their hearts out at the international campfire to round off their first full day at Blair Atholl.
Our weary troops then decided to save their energies for this mornings events including the Scouts Own and an afternoon spent sampling the atmosphere of the main site by being hosted by one of the sub-camps. This provides a great opportunity to make new friends and find out what the two weeks of Blair Atholl International Patrol Jamborette is all about.
Having marched from our Satellite camp home to Blair Atholl castle itself following the main jamborette procession and a pipe band we participated in a water themed scouts own. We were also witness to a very special event with the Blair Atholl camp chief being awarded his Silver Wolf by none other than Scotland's own Chief Commissioner.
Sunday afternoon we were welcomed across to the main site where we were treated to a barbecue dinner by MacLean sub-camp. A big thank you to all who looked after us.
The evening's excitement culminated in a pirate themed disco (ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR). In an exclusive revelation our scouts described this well organised and popular event as "lame" having spent a matter of seconds outside the door. They then contented themselves with a ball, some jumpers and a large square of grass in an important international footballing festival.
With the songs of last night's campfire still ringing in our ears (literally), we arose on Saturday morning to damp grass but bright skies. Saturday morning was a chance to participate in on-site activities ranging from arts & crafts to climbing and gorge walking.
One of the most sought after activities was the "Atholl Experience". All we knew was it involved copious amounts of mud! From the colour of Joe's t-shirt at the end I can confirm this description to be accurate but from the smile on his face well worth it.
Saturday afternoon is the world famous Country Fayre, so popular in fact that it requires its own special currency, the "Atholl". So far we have seen: splat-the-rat, face painting, beat the goalie and many, many more. The country fayre also provides an opportunity for Scouts from different countries to experience the food and culture of other nationalities. There are Americans frying burgers, Canadians covering pancakes in maple syrup...and of course Glaswegians deep-frying mars bars.
With so much to see and do, it is hard to get round everything. That is why the 145th has sent out roving reporters to find the inside scoop on the country fayre.