51 Scouts, Ventures and Leaders from the Roscrea Scout Group have recently returned from a marathon 12 Day Annual Camp in the Channel Islands. One of the biggest Groups ever to travel together on Camp set off from Roscrea on Monday June 30th. The first port of call was the Irish Ferries evening sailing from Rosslare to Pembroke. All was going great until at 1am on the Tuesday morning upon docking in Pembroke it was discovered that the ramp to get us off the ferry was broken.
An anxious wait ensued; no-one knew how long it would take to fix the ramp, the minutes turned into hours. At 4am finally the ramp was fixed and off we got, we were met by our Welsh Coach who would take us to our next ferry in Poole. We arrived in Poole and surprisingly it was sunny! The Condor Fast ferry speed us out to St.Helier in Jersey. Twenty six hours after setting off and two boat and two bus journeys later with no-one travel sick we arrived at the International Scout Centre in St. Ouen in Jersey.
We awoke on the Wednesday morning to what all the world looked like Irish weather. The swell in the sea curtailed the water sports planned for that day but no-one really minded as we were on holidays and we managed to get in Blokarting instead. The local Steam Museum was visited in the afternoon. That evening the Ventures visited Corbiere Lighthouse a special place.
Thursday was a trip to the Jersey Experience / Living Legend where the Group enjoyed an interactive display and show on the history of Jersey. A great day was had by all with the Crazy Golf and Go-Karting the highlights. On Friday the Group visited the German Underground Hospital which the Germans had built during their occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II. The afternoon was spent on St. Brelade Bay doing a spot of Swimming.
Saturday was auctioned packed. In the morning the Group joined with the Jersey Scout Association who in 2008 are also celebrating their Scouting Centenary in a joint activity making a huge Jersey Cross on the lawn on the Scout Centre. A photo was taken of the Cross from an RAF helicopter. In the afternoon the Venture and Senior Scouts were split into four teams and dropped to separate parts of the Island. The teams were set different challenges and using foot power and public transport had to make their way to a set finish point. Great fun was had by all weaving their way around the island. The rest of the Scouts went to a Maizin Maze Adventure Park for an afternoon of water fights and such like activities.
That evening the Group went Bowling and played Quasar in Jersey Bowl while the Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders had a welcome break on an evening out in St. Holier.
Sunday morning brought a welcome lie in until 10am! After chilling at the centre we were on the move again to undertake a High Ropes challenge at a nearby Adventure Centre. Suspended high above the ground the Scouts and Ventures faith and courage were tested on a physically demanding obstacle course and the leap of faith and slingshot activities. That evening the Ventures had their night out to the Chinese in St. Brelades.
Monday was time for shopping for those presents for friends and family. After a day spent shopping in St. Helier it was off for a relaxing swimming at Aquasplash. Tuesday our last day on the island was another action filled day. The traditional sandcastle completion was won by the Swifts with their dolphin creation which magically changed into a shark half way through. Michael Parlon’s team won the soccer competition in a keenly contested final on a penalty shoot-out. With the winds high the Group partook of another excellent session of Blokarting. That evening was the Campfire and the announcement that the Swifts with their Patrol Leader Joseph Kelly were the Best Patrol on Camp.
On Wednesday morning with a small piece of sadness and a last minute hospital dash it was time to leave Jersey. The winds were moderate to high so the crossing back to Weymouth was a bit rough but we arrived back in the UK to buckets of rain. After a short journey we arrived in Braggers Wood to more rain. After a quick dash to the Chippers for 50 bags of Chips and the clearing out of the Campsite Tuck Shop – fed and watered it was time for bed.
Up bright and early on Thursday and off to Oakwood on our way home was the plan. Or so we thought. Just past Swansea we got the news that Oakwood would be closing at 5pm that evening. Given that it was 2pm a miracle was needed otherwise we faced a 12 hour wait at Pembroke dock. Luckily we work well at miracles and with the help of Wayne our excellent driver an alternative activity was found. A slight detour and 30 minutes later we arrived in Heatherton Activity Park. The Group enjoyed Go-Karting, Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting, Archery, Crazy Golf, Pistol Range and water bumper cars! Finally it was time for the short journey to Pembroke dock where our planned 6 hour wait for the 3am sailing home awaited us. A Chinese was enjoyed by all on the door step on the dock as we waited for it to open. Sorry to the people of Pembroke for eating all the chicken in the town that night.
We set sail on time and landed in Rosslare at 7.30am. Then came one of the saddest moments of the camp as we said goodbye to Paddy Owens who was departing from Roscrea with his family to live in Wicklow where his dad is to be the Methodist minister. Arriving back in Roscrea we were greeted by the parents with a large Cead Mile Failte banner holding up traffic in Abbey Street. After a great cooked breakfast (Many thanks), it was time for home. Until Next Year!!