This summer, 12 Explorers from Units around the District took part in an action packed week at Buddens Campsite in Dorset.
After settling in to the site, getting set up and enjoying a calm initial day getting to know each other, the first activity the Explorers got to have a go at was crate stacking, run on site by the Scout Adventures team. In pairs they took it in turns climbing crates, with some dramatic falls, major wobbles, and a new site record being set for the highest crate tower.
Next they took a trip to Man O’ War Beach. After a hike up to the cliffs at Durdle Door, the Explorers trekked down the steps to the beautiful beach, where they got to soak in the summer sun and swim in the turquoise sea. After walking back up to Lulworth Cove, they stopped for ice cream before returning to the site.
Our Explorers excelled at their next activity – throwing tomahawks and angels on site at Buddens. They took it in turns to step up to the targets and launch their angels, with everyone managing to hit the target. Making the step up to tomahawks took some adjusting, but they were all equally as good! To finish the session, they threw at a targets with their names pinned to them until all except one were eliminated, leaving a winner.
They then travelled to Brenscombe Outdoor Centre where they split into two groups, tackling a huge variety of climbing obstacles. They faced a traditional climbing wall, angled logs to climb, and a leap of faith. In one challenge, three Explorers took in turns to climb an incredibly high pole one at a time, and stand together on a tiny platform. They then held hands and leant backwards out over the drop.
A highlight of the week was Kayaking at Buddens. Our pitch at the site sat at the edge of the lake, where the Explorers paddled around to an area where they played a fast-paced take on water polo. There was a lot of splashing, a lot of capsizing, and a lot of fun. Before putting the kayaks away, they swam out to a small pontoon in the lake, and performed their best flips and tricks as they dove into the water.
Next up the Explorers got to try the sites brand new climbing tower, having a go on the lengthy zip wire. They all leapt from the tower in a mix of styles – some head first, some feet first, and some looking like Superman. Once in the air they span, posed, and hung upside down, before running back to go again.
The Explorers then headed back to the sea for some more climbing with the Brenscombe team. This time they clambered up rocky cliff faces in a mix of routes that tested their skills, all set against the backdrop of the ocean. They also abseiled down ledges, and supported each other when they were out of their comfort zone.
After a quick stop at the beach for another ice cream and the opportunity to bury an Explorer in the sand, they then made their way to Brand’s Bay, where they boarded a pair of canoes and set out to Brownsea Island. They had the opportunity to explore the site of the very first Scout Camp, stopping at the visitors centre, the site of Baden-Powell’s groups’ flag, and the famous memorial stone. Two of the Explorers were invested in front of the stone, surrounded by their friends and the island’s peacocks, and it was also an opportunity to give out some awards. They then got back in the canoes and paddled all the way back to the bay, in what turned out to be a very serious race.
The last activity of the camp was the Mud Run at Dorset Water Park. Half of the Explorers were eager, and half were cautious, but they all got stuck in. It wasn’t long before they were covered from head to toe in gooey mud, with one belly-flopping into a huge puddle at the beginning of the course. They made their way along ropes, up hills, down some impressive slides, and through a barrage of obstacles, before emerging unrecognisable at the end.
It was a fantastic week in Dorset, made great not only by all of the amazing things the Explorers got up to, but also by having a brilliant group of young people and leaders. We’d like to thank all of the leaders that volunteered their time, with extra special thanks to Phil, our District Explorer Scout Commissioner, for organising the trip and making sure it all went as greatly as it did.
To see more pictures of what they got up to, check out the full album in the Gallery.