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