Sunday, January 27, 2008

Burns Weekend

Above : Another first for Fordell - the world's only combined swimming pool and campfire circle.

Four weekends into the new season and things were still pretty quiet on the camping front, although a few keen scout groups from Fife and Glasgow decided to defy the weather and come anyway. Most of the site was unuseable due to the recent rainfall, but a few dryish spots were found and camps set up. Campfires look like they will be a long way away as the campfire circle is still completely submerged; at the very least they might require an extra couple of firelighters to get going.

Above : In the absence of a ladder, Jean stands on the next best thing - Ginga's left shoulder.

A healthy staff turnout and few activities on the saturday led to a mass-decorating session in the staffhut. After lots of work last year in the hut replacing ceilings and lighting, the next stage was to paint the lounge and toilets. After an intensive shift all-day saturday, the lounge had been treated to a shiny new coat of white eggshell paint, as had most of the staff's hands. Unfortunately no-one had remembered to buy any thinners or hand-cleaner beforehand so Stevie, as the only one not covered in paint, was despached to Homebase to pick some up.
The toilets were also treated to a bit of a makeover, with a nice lilac for the girls and a macho blue for the guys (who didn't like the lilac much).

Above : Intricate brushwork was required to paint around all the spiders' webs in the lounge.

In the evening, the site welcomed the local Inch Scout Fellowship who were holding their annual Burns Supper in the Henderson building. Some of the Fordell staff attended and were treated to a fantastic 5-course meal (actually 6 since most had a second helping of the haggis starter). After the traditional formalities and some particularly bad jokes by chairman and retiring site quartermaster Pete, the evening continued until the early hours with a healthy mix of conversation and karaoke.

Above : The traditional part of every Burns Supper - Brian reads out the football results.

Sunday saw a bit more decorating work carried out in the hut, along with the now-traditional ceremony of starting up the space-bus (see previous post) to keep its batteries charged up.

Things should start getting a bit more busier from now on - the first busy weekend being the new activ-8 camp which is being held on th 15-17th February.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bumper New Year Update!

After the traditional festive shutdown, the centre is looking forward to another busy and exciting year. As a special New Year gift, we are offering 3 blog updates for the price of 1 and if you scroll down after this entry you'll find out what happened in the site during December too.

All was quiet on site on the 11-13th January, no campers at all presumably because of the light coating of snow and ice everywhere. The Henderson centre welcomed a large group of nearby guide leaders who were in to check out the site and discuss their huge (600+) camp which they will run later in the summer.

Over the winter months lots of work has taken place on creating new activities, and one of these is a bmx trials track which can be taken to bits and assembled anywhere with a flat(ish) surface. The staff spent most of saturday finishing off the work on this, most of which had been carried out by a local helper. The course comprises 7 different obstacles, all of which are designed to be tricky but very close to the ground to make them as safe as possible.

Above : Test-pilot Callum has a narrow escape after plunging down the sheer 2-inch drop to the ground.

After several hours of building, testing and falling off the obstacles, the project was finished and ready for groups to try out in the coming months. Callum, who has bravely tested all the obstacles extensively, then suffered the embarrassment of falling off his own bike on his way home whilst negotiating a particularly difficult straight, flat road with no obstacles at all.

Above : Callum's tribute to the late, great Evel Knievel -attempting a jump over the new 'Space Bus'. Close, but perhaps a slightly bigger ramp is required next time (click to play)

On sunday there was only one group visiting - a birthday party group who took part in the challenge course, caving and new inflatable gladiators arena. In the morning the staff spent a while sorting out a drainage problem on the exit road which had caused huge puddles to appear; however one hour later and with the help of a steel marquee pin and sledgehammer and the puddles had miraculously disappeared.

In the afternoon a staff training session had been arranged for one of the site's new facilities...the Space Bus (see video above and pics below). This is an old double-decker bus which is owned by Dunfermline East Church and has been converted into a 'playbus' with games and facilities onboard. The church are storing the bus at Fordell, and in return the site will be use it occasionally for groups. One of the church members came in to show everyone (12 staff) how everything worked and how to operate the lighting, heating, etc. The inside has had a huge amount of work carried out, and has full heating, lighting, TV screens, playstations, music, etc. The church are hoping to have the outside painted in a more 'cool' style, and described it as looking like a 'bathroom on wheels' at the moment!

Above/below : Space Bus training