Camping 1984-1993

The camp of 1984, the year of the Chief Scout's visit, stays in the mind as one of those long sunny camps you wish would go on for ever. An advance party set out the afternoon before the camp, having been held up at School by a bomb alert!

The Shawbury campsite
at Acton Reynaud 1984
Seven or eight of us took the minibus and stayed overnight at Redditch, in a Scout HQ, before proceeding to the camp site in time to erect a couple of tents before the arrival of the main party, which was then collected from Shrewsbury station, also in the minibus. Tim Bird constructed a camp loom, the only time I have seen one in operation. I also recall one Scout who had a particular affinity for a muddy pond, who had unfortunately only brought one pair of socks with him.

The experimental camp loom 1984

In 1985 we returned to West Sussex, this time to Selham, where we camped on a field adjacent to a disused railway line. The '86 site, which was discovered by our roving ASL Steve Turner, was near Congleton, and necessitated another long train journey. It was a cold, wet camp, memorable for the large supplies of sardines brought by our first veggie camper, the fishing umbrellas used to shelter under at meal times, and the fleets of taxis used by the Venture Scouts, who were present in force, to take them about their business. The day trip was to Manchester.

Rafting at Selham
on the Western River Rother1985

The following year, at Wisborough Green, also started wet; in fact we arrived during a thunderstorm and had to sit in the minibuses and wait for the rain to stop before venturing to put up any canvas. We built a monkey bridge over the river here, and a raft of sorts.

1988 saw us a little further down the A272, between Petworth and Midhurst, but in 1989 we undertook one of our few forays into East Anglia, to a blackcurrant farm near Woodbridge. One night someone torched the piggery, and our sleep was rudely interrupted by the escaping beasts.

Our return to Tisbury in 1990 was favoured with some of the hottest weather on record, with the temperature exceeding 100F in the stores tent on several afternoons. A great deal of pioneering was undertaken at both this and the following camp; a self-closing gate was designed and constructed by the Panthers. The Hay-on-Wye camp was held on an elongated strip consisting of several small fields with a stream along one side. The camp had a rather claustrophobic feel to it.

Rest hour at Longridge
Monkey bridge

'92 and '93 saw us attempting a different style of camping. We booked a site on Sherriff Island at the Scout Boating Centre at Longridge, near Marlow. It was interesting to have to ferry all one's equipment across the water to the island in the Thames in a small boat; firewood was collected by boat, shopping expeditions began and ended by boat, and even trips to the toilet involved a boat! Many canoeist badges were gained. These camps were memorable for Glen Russell's superb catering.

Camp Sites 1984-1993
  • 1984 Shawbury, Shropshire
  • 1985 Selham, West Sussex
  • 1986 Congleton, Cheshire
  • 1987 Wisborough Green, West Sussex
  • 1988 Tillington, Petworth
  • 1989 Rendlesham, Suffolk
  • 1990 Tisbury, Wiltshire
  • 1991 Hay-on-Wye
  • 1992 Longridge, Marlow
  • 1993 Longridge