Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bumper photo update from last weekend

Above : Ian bonds with his new friend at flagbreak

Despite saying last weekend that there would be no more quiet weekends (visitor-wise), one more managed to sneak in. Saturday was exceptionally quiet on the activities front (see photos) - with a total of four paying customers and a staff/participant ratio of over 2!

Like last weekend though, lots of activity elsewhere on site. Flagbreak on saturday got off to a bizarre start when someone sneaked up and tied on a furry toy (fox?) in place of one of the flags early in the morning. After flagbreak, most of the groups onsite packed up and left, having been there all week, and it was time to sort things out ready for the next groups arriving.

Photos from the weekend below - including the major task of the weekend which was removing a huge amount of soggy toilet-roll from the inside roof of the toilet block (male and femle); a fairly regular occurance as kids seem to find it fun, despite being told not to do it at every flagbreak...

Above : Scottish Fellowship loading up equipment for Blair Atholl jamboree next week.

Above : Busiest activity sheet of the year!

Above : The Explorer group had slightly lower numbers than expected.

Above : Work is well underway to reclad the office/reception building in the same style as the staffhut.

Above : Finished stage with partially-finished gazebo

Above : High drama on saturday afternoon when thieves ramraided the staffhut and stole the sausage rolls!

Above : In the absence of spare ropes or pulleys, Ian and Craig have to function as tent poles for 2 days while the canvas dries off.

Above : Stevie and Bob playing 'toilet gladiators'

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Shut that door!

Above : Stevie and Henry fall for the old 'superglue on the doorframe' trick

Despite being right in the middle of the summer, last weekend (5th-6th) was unexpectedly quiet, the likely reason being that it was the start of the school summer holidays locally...where kids foolishly choose to go on exotic holidays or down to Alton Towers rather than coming to Fordell and having a shot of the pedal go-karts and spacehoppers :-)

However, although there were only a handful of activity sessions to run, the weekend was definitely not wasted and the respectable turnout of staff got stuck into a big pile of maintenance and DIY jobs around the site. After repainting the lines in the carpark, trimming bushes, strimming, moving wood to the woodpile, taking loads of old scrap metal away to the local dealers and doing a number of small jobs in preparation for the big camps coming up (and all before saturday breakfast...!!!), attention turned to the ongoing work inside the staffhut.

Next on the list of improvements was to install an interior door midway along the corridor. Reasons for this stop noise from the lounge reaching the bedrooms, to keep the heat in when the front door is being opened frequently...and obviously to hide the hideous mess inside from the campers, who occassionally venture inside the hut to check the activity board.

Above : Young-at-heart Henry works out the trajectory for his skateboard ramp

Above : Yet again, Stevie falls for the old 'pound coin superglued to the floor' trick

After finishing the door, it was just a matter of hoovering up the mess on the carpet and carrying out the regular urn-checking ritual which must always be adhered to rigidly.

This is definitely the last quiet weekend for a good while - the two huge camps are just around the corner so keep watching the blog for updates and photos from both these events soon.

Above : No comment required :-)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

New Facilities

Above : New 10-pin bowling alley

Observant visitors may have noticed a few wee changes on site recently - one fairly obvious and one hidden away discretely.

The old rifle range, which has been lying dormant for the past decade (this activity not taking place anymore) has been converted into a 10-pin bowling alley to provide a new self-supervised and all-weather activity.

The range (at the side of the main store) has been used for a variety of purposes since then, mostly storing wood, random bits of metal and lots of useless things. The roof had suffered a bit and so this has been mostly replaced to make it weatherproof again. With help from a number of volunteers, the range has been cleared and converted into the bowling alley, complete with fantastic hand-made skittles.

Above : Beavers entranced by spooky glow from outer space

A couple of local beavers were happy to assist with the obligatory opening / photoshoot, and achieved very respectable scores too.

The 10-pin bowling is now available for use by site visitors and can be booked by the hour, often at short notice...and Ian has added further details and rules on the main website (

Above : After a hard day's work, Bob finds out that some young scallywags have stolen his house and are removing the floor joists for a campfire

The more obvious change is near to the reception / vending machine area - you may remember the old triangular house (The Sheiling) which was used by various full-time staff and which was demolished several years ago. Well, nearly demolished - the foundations were left and it was suggested that they could be used to make a wooden stage which would both provide a useful facility and also make the area look a bit nicer too.

Above : Nearly finished - service team working on stage

As luck would have it, there happened to be a very large team of explorers on site on the weekend the wood arrived who were super-keen to take part in a service project. The team were from all over Scotland and are training for a trip to Malaysia, where they will take part in a number of large service projects, including building new buildings to help local people.

After an amazingly short time, the huge stage was finished and the troops had well-deserved break. It's planned to use the stage for the first time during the big Festival camp in a couple of weeks (Guides) so we'll put up some photos here. After that it's planned to erect a small marquee/gazebo on top and use it as a tea-tent / relaxation area for the campers.

That's all for now, but here are a few piccies from recent weekends - with lots of groups enjoying the great weather.

Above : Leader cheats by using perspective and standing on a tree to get past tricky bit of route

Above : Young scout is sent up to carry out weekly fire-bell test

Above : Fordell crate thief caught red-handed