Scouts are home again after going Dutch

They’re home again now after their expedition to Holland, but Hemel Hempstead District Scouts packed an awful lot into their week-long trip.

Last week a first despatch gave an update on activities including canoeing and high ropes adventure, and the packed programme continued into the final few days of the great adventure.

Hemel Hempstead Scouts in Holland, summer 2013

Hemel Hempstead Scouts in Holland, summer 2013

For many, the highlight of the camp was the overnight hike.

Scouts took various different routes to make their way in groups from the base camp at Buitenzorg to a remote, primitive site near Austerlitz.

The older Explorers made the whole 25km expedition on foot, while scouts used a combination of trains, buses and hiking to make the journey.

On arrival at the site, the first job was to make shelters for the overnight stay, using tarpaulins and rope to construct bivouacs.

Cooking dinner followed, with Wayfarer hiker-style boil in the bag meals cooked on micro stoves.

After dinner and a wide game everyone snuggled down under their shelters for a night of sleeping in fresh air.

The Explorers were unlucky enough to be hit by a thunderstorm around bedtime, but the bivouacs held up and they all stayed warm and dry thanks to their survival bags.

The scouts, who tackled the challenge the following day, had a clear and dry night for their adventure.

Next up a party of 80 scouts and Leaders turned up at the local open air swimming pool in the pouring rain, much to the amusement of the lifeguards who told them that Dutch people don’t swim in the rain.

Amsterdam provided a packed day of activities, including a trip to the Nemo science museum – six floors of fully interactive exhibits to push, pull, poke and prod – and a ferry trip across the harbour to join the pancake boat for two hours of cruising and eating as many pancakes as possible. The record was 9½ pancakes for a leader, eight for an Explorer and 6½ for a scout!

On the final day everyone headed for the Walibi theme park near Amsterdam.

Tired but satisfied organisers looked back on the first district international camp as a huge achievement.

A spokesman said: “The expedition took a whole year to organise and every detail was planned with military style precision.

“The comments on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hemel.scouts sum up very nicely just how successful the trip was.

“We are very lucky to have such a committed leadership team in Hemel Hempstead who can make such expeditions happen, and we will be starting to think where our next one, scheduled for 2015, will be over the next few months.”