Sunday, July 08, 2007

Top Gear

Above : New site vehicle after first modest off-road test

After a very busy few months, this weekend saw the start of the school holidays and a corresponding quieter period of the year for the site (in terms of weekend activities), as most groups from now on will be staying for a full week and arriving/departing at the weekends.

Despite some very bad weather on friday evening (which caused one group to arrive and quickly depart), the rest of the weekend was great with only a few brief showers. Arriving saturday morning were a youth group from London who were glad to reach the site after a monster overnight drive in their minibuses. The weekend also saw other visitors in the shape of a cub camp, 2 local swimming clubs, a Lanarkshire youth club and a birthday party group.

In addition, we also had the pleasure of welcoming the local fire brigade (by invitation, not necessity). The Seventh Day Adventist Church, who are regular visitors to the site, were holding another of their successful camps over the weekend, and their minister and camp leader Marcel had arranged to baptise a number of their members on the Saturday afternoon on site using a large portable water tank which was very kindly provided (and filled) by the fire brigade. The good weather held and the event went to plan. After emptying the tank, the firemen and women proceeded to siphon some coffee from the staff urn before returning to service.

Another arrival this week was the long-awaited replacement for the site's green Land Rover. Although it had provided many years of service, it was now 17 years old and suffering from a number of expensive maintenance problems, so after discussion with the Fordell Board and others the decision was made to replace it with something more up-to-date.

The new vehicle is a Ford Ranger 2.5TDCi and was supplied by a local dealer. The decision was made to buy a new vehicle as the latest (2007) model of the Ranger has a new engine which is much more fuel efficient than the outgoing model and should provide good cost savings over its lifetime. In the near future the Ranger will have the site livery added to it as with the old Land Rover, perhaps with the exception of the 'Ouch' sticker was was present next to a large dent in the front wing...

Above : Optional extra - custom badge...?

The weekend finished with the local Incas swimming group having a barbeque after their activities, and the remaining staff having a game of 'football tennis' outside the staff hut after being inspired by the Wimbledon final. Due to the lack of a proper net, the alternative of a bench seat and old table along the centre line meant that accurate scoring was impossible but much fun was had by all.