Thursday, October 22, 2009

JOTA 2009

Amazingly, that's a whole year since the last Jamboree On the Air (JOTA) so last weekend it was time for it again. The event was organised by Fordell's resident amateur radio club (KARS) who had been busy during the week setting up the equipment and rigging up a few temporary wire aerials in the trees.

Bases were set up in the reception building and Scottish Headquarters - this year there was a special website setup for the event which you can look at here.

Above : reception room busy on sunday afternoon

Above : Caught in the act...a couple of young scallywags try to hack into a US Military website during Jamboree-on-the-internet.

Above : Main man Richard feeling a bit camera shy

As well as the JOTA, the KARS guys have also been helping the centre a bit by making up vinyl vehicle stickers for the centre land rovers. Both vehicles are now looking splendid with custom signs as you can see from the photo below.

While the JOTA proved very busy, the rest of the site was fairly quiet in terms of activities and visitors. Most of the staff had decided to have a rare weekend off, apart from serial Fordell addicts Henry and Ali who weren't able to tear themselves away from the staffhut, cheap coffee and even cheaper food for even one weekend.

Saturday was pretty quiet and sunday we had a visit from an combined stag and hen party (?!) who had heard that the challenge course was good fun and spent a couple of hours falling off beams, getting stuck in tyres and finally having a shot of the climbing wall. Excellent group and they all seemed to have a great laugh, even if a few of them found some of the challenge course obstacles a bit challenging.

This weekend also looks like being quiet, next event coming up is (I think) the annual first aid course by Brian and June which we'll no doubt have some photos of here.

Bye for now!

Above : Things to do in the staff hut when you're bored #421 - play Pacman with Quorn slices and crisps.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Paddy the dog

Following a busy weekend a few weeks ago we received an email on behalf of the Tullibody guides, who'd had a camp and taken part in lots of activities on site. With them had been their official mascot, Paddy the dog, and as promised here are some photos of him taking part...(totally unedited of course...)

Above : Feeling left out as the guides all get to go crate climbing.

Above : Trying to drop some hints to the instructor.

Above : Harnessed up and ready to go.

We hope Paddy and the guides enjoyed themselves at Fordell and look forward to seeing them again soon.

Away from activities and there's been quite a bit of work going on at the centre. As mentioned a few months ago, the quad track has now gone and is gradually being turned back into a grassy camping area. The photos below give you an idea of how much it's changed (and these are a month or so old, so it should be looking even more different now). Now we're nearly into the winter season, there'll be a lot more time soon to spend on various projects and odd jobs around the centre, so look out for lots of exciting (?) photos here.

Above/below : old quad track before/after clearing and topsoil.

Despite the end of the summer, the weekends are still pretty busy for now- lots of groups either camping or popping in for activities. A mix of weather with a few cracking days and a few dreadful ones too.

Above : Don't leave animals in hot cars!

A couple of weeks ago we ran some activities for the Pentland Challenge, which was an activity camp based at Bonaly and organised/run by the Scottish Fellowship. Due to the large number of participants at the event, a few groups were brought over from Edinburgh on the saturday where they took part in some of our activities (climbing, jacobs ladder, challenge course, low ropes, etc).

Above : Craig discovers the chilli pepper which has been comically planted in his shepherd's pie.

After a particularly busy saturday, the staff retired for an enormous meal of shepherd's pie, only to be called into action immediately after it was discovered that one of the toilets in the toilet block had a bit of a problem. Brian was unanimously elected as chief toilet-unblocker while the rest watched and learned from a safe distance (the staffhut). The photo below gives an idea of the seriousness of the problem...

Above : No comment required.

Above : Brian telling an enthralled audience about his near-death encounter in the toilets.

That's all for now folks, as the blogmeister has to rush off to Dunfermline to help with his Explorers, but we'll be back in a couple of weeks with another update so stay tuned.

Disclaimer : no real dogs or fluffy animals were harmed during the making of this blog post.