Scouts in Namibia

Two of our ex-Scouts (now Explorers) are off on a very exciting adventure. They will be part of the Forth Region Scouts trip to Omakange, in Namibia where they aim to help raise funds and then help build an infant school and community garden in a remote impoverished village.

Omakange is about 170 km from Etosha National Park and although the village has a relatively high population of 700 people, there is no school. The nearest school is about 6-7 km away which means children aren't able to make the 14 km return journey every day along dusty roads under a hot sun until they are about 8 years old.

Forth Region Scouts have partnered with Scouts of Namibia to develop the project and it's hoped that a new scout group is formed locally as a result of the project.

You can follow the Scouts' adventures on Facebook and Twitter at the following pages

Good luck from all of Balfron Scouts, Cubs and Beavers!

Search and Rescue

Last night we had a visit from the guys from the Trossachs Search and Rescue Team. They told us all about their work, how they search for lost walkers in the hills, ambulances stuck in the snow, and in general help all the emergency services, particularly when it's difficult for them to get to where they want to be.

They told us all about the emergency first aid they have to know and then set us a chalenge. We had to find someone who was lost (in the graveyard!), and help them if they were injured. We spread out for the search of the area, found the injured walker, called back to our team to bring the equipment, put on the leg splint, because it seemed like he had broken his leg, and then used the collapsable stretcher to get him to safety. We had a great time and learned a lot...we even managed to put the splint on the correct leg.

Many thanks for the Search and Rescue team!

Path building

A couple of weeks ago we helped out the local community group who are in charge of looking after the paths around Balfron. They wanted to re-route the path down past the field where the old Ballindalloch mill used to be so that it went around the field. This means the path is in a much better condition and that the farmer can now use the field for his young everyone is happy.

Well...maybe the scouts weren't too happy when they saw the four tons of gravel they had been asked to spread along the path! But the really got stuck in and did a great job, they even used some great big stones to fill in the large holes in the path before they covered with the gravel. There was a great group spirit and by the end we had a great path to walk on.


Cubs Camp at Barrwood

Balfron Cubs at Barrwood, 27-28 May 2017

The Cubs had a very successful weekend at Barrwood - Richard has already sent an email around everyone with details, but here are some of the pictures taken over the two days

Campfire Activities

Tyre Tug of War


"The Beasts of Barrwood" - Cubs had to make a beast out of natural materials and hide it somewhere around the campsite.

Inchcailloch Scout camp

This weekend the Scouts went to Inchcailloch, an island in Loch Lomond, close to Balmaha. We set off from Balmaha in the old ferry boat, with Calum bringing supplies in his canoe.

After what seemed like a long walk across the island with our full backpacks we reached our campsite for the weekend. The scouts set up the tents and had plenty of time to play games on the beach, go paddling in the lovely warm loch (or so the scouts told us) and make a fire while Calum made the hot chocolate.

It was a lovely night, with a great sunset and plenty of time to go off and explore the island. We searched for wild garlic for the soup, had our dinner on the beach and set up hammocks for those that wanted to forego the comforts of a tent. After a night walk to the graveyard, scaring a few deer on the way, it was time for bed.

It rained a bit in the night but we didn't notice it. After having to get woken up by the leaders we had a great breakfast and then headed off across the island to get the ferry back to the mainland.

The national park only allow a few people to stay on the island at any one time (we had it all to ourselves) so after hiking eight miles to Drymen the first lot of scouts said goodbye and the leaders picked up the next lot. Retracing their steps another eight miles back to Balmaha the second lot enjoyed the Saturday night on the island.

Lots more fun on the beach, wide games and garlic collecting later and a few more people in hammocks and it was time for bed...and an hour or so later the scouts actually went to sleep...but not for long. The dawn chorus (of fighting canada geese as well as barn and tawny owls) was very loud so a few scouts were unfortunately woken up quite early!

But maybe that was good as there was plenty of time to get the tents down and trek across the island back to the ferry and the waiting parents.

That was the end of another very successful Inchcailloch camp...the best bits were probably Calum's wonderful cooking, the great weather and the beach. 

We'll definitely be back soon!

Balfron Scouts go Navigating

Scouts go Navigating  

(Guest blog written by one of the scout troop)

On Thursday the 5th of April, Balfron scouts set out along the path from Blanefield that follows the route of the Loch Katrine pipeline. Along the way we navigated to various points and had to say what was at that point, some groups had more success than others! We recorded our route using a GPS tracker - shown in the picture above.

We had lots of fun and it was good navigation practice. We used a variety of methods such as map and grid references,  as well as using an app on our phones that told us where we were by latitude and longitude. 

Although some of the groups were late we all had lots of fun and we can't wait for our next walk.

The Great Balfron Egg Drop

Last week we challenged the Scouts to build something to carry an egg safely from the McLintock hall down to the car park two floors below when it was thrown out of the window. There was lots of cardboard, scrumpled newspaper and sellotape used in a very creative session. We had parachutes and cushioned boxes within boxes...and all but one of the eggs survived.

The second challenge was to get the egg safely down and to travel the furthest away from the building...the winner was a giant cardboard airplane which glided nicel down to 15 feet away from the building. 

Rope bridges and mud

Scouts got the chance to put their rope and knot skills into real practice building these excellent Burma bridges across a crocodile infested swamp! They had to use clove hitches, reef knots and lorryman's hitches. Good teamwork and a bit of engineering we're also required.

Although the bridges all provided good safe crossings the scouts all still managed to get covered head to toe in mud! Sorry parents!

En garde

This week Gregor came to show us how to fence...some of us thought that making fences was a bit dull...but it turns out we got to be pirates!

Invertrossachs Scout Camp

Our first ever trip to Invertrossachs campsite didn't start off very well. Severe weather warnings meant we decided to call off a Friday night stay and we finally arrived on Saturday afternoon. 

It was still raining at Invertrossachs but that didn't put off the Scouts. They manfully carried gear up to the campsite in the rain, put up their tents in the rain, put up hammocks and bivoacs in the rain, ran around the campsite in the rain and went on the search for wild boar in the rain.  

...but then it was time for Calum's delicious chicken noodle stew (in the rain)...cooked in Calum's Cafe.

For pudding there was homemade chocolate oranges (muffin mix in hollowed out oranges). 

The next day it was much brighter (only a few rain showers) and after breakfast buritos we went down to the main centre to have a go at Bell Boating

Two guest Scout leaders took charge and led us out into the water for a morning of races, attacks and sumo-wrestling. 

Everyone agreed the campsite was great and I'm sure we'll be back... 

...but for now it's great weather for drying tents!