Camp at Kibblestone

On Friday 8/2/02, we went to Kibblestone for a weekend ‘camp’. I say ‘camp’ as the Scouts were staying in The Outpost and the only people actually camping were myself and one of the Ventures! For anyone familiar with The Outpost, it has just undergone a revamp and there are now heaters in there – part of the ‘fun’ of staying in The Outpost was freezing to death at night!

On the Saturday we did some knife and axe instruction with two of the new Scouts. In the afternoon we made a bridge across a road. However, we did it without using rope! See the photos. In the evening we did a wide game and then returned to The Outpost for a supper of pancakes.

On the Sunday we spent the majority of the morning pratting around. In the afternoon we packed up and came home.

Written by Nick 11/3/02

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Minibus Vandalism

On Sunday 7/10/01 I had to go to the hall to check over our minibus so it would be ready for use for our forthcoming camp. Unfortunately, some vandals had broken into it, set fire to the seats and ripped out most of the internal wiring, relays and fuses. This meant it was unusable and, in view of the damage done, beyond repair. After a few phone calls it was decided to scrap the mini bus. Not ideal, but it meant that it could not get damaged any more and cause a potential hazard to the hall.
This means we are now without a minibus, but we are continuously fund raising and there are a couple of avenues we are exploring to get some more money. More about those if they come off!
The good news is that there has been an article in The Sentinel (our local newspaper) on Monday 15/10/0. I’ve typed it out below –

The Sentinel Monday 15/10/01

Vandals destroy Scouts’ minibus

By Denise Markham – Newcastle Reporter

Vandals have left a Scout Group in limbo after wrecking the Group’s minibus which was to take them on a trip.
Boys from Porthill Scouts were scheduled to go on a camping trip this weekend to Kibblestone in Stone, but vandals have now damaged their minibus.
The culprits forced the vehicle’s locks open and set fire to the seats, ripped out the electrics and snatched the radio and speakers.
It is believed that a gang of youths climbed over a four-foot wall to make their way in to St. Andrew’s Church Hall car park, where the 10-seater vehicle was kept, before carrying out the vandalism, a week ago.
The Scouts are now having to make alternative transport plans to ensure they do not miss out on the camping trip.
Police say they are aware of the incident and special patrols have been stepped up following a number of complaints about anti-social behaviour in the area. Officers are also visiting schools to talk to pupils about the consequences of anti-social behaviour.
Nick Wood, leader of the Scout Group, said: "The bus was 10 years old but it was safe and road worthy and we took the Group out frequently on camping trips, to play football, ice skating and hiking.
"I’m very annoyed at what’s happened and we are having to get rid of the minibus.
"We were supposed to be going on a camping trip next weekend so we will have to think of other ways to get there. We will still be going. We won’t let vandalism stop us.
"It is annoying. We give up our spare time to give young people a good time and something different to do and it feels like it’s all been thrown away."
PC Paul Bonell-Sims, North Staffordshire antisocial behaviour co-ordinator, said work to reduce antisocial behaviour was taking place.
"Presently within the North Staffs Division, 33 per cent of our time is spent dealing with nuisance and disorder incidents," he said.
"It is for that reason, reducing the levels of antisocial behaviour is a divisional priority. We have received almost 100 calls complaining of disorder in these areas so far this year.
"We currently hold more antisocial behaviour orders than any other division within the country, which will be increasing before the end of the year.
"Only a small minority of teenagers cause these problems but they have a huge detrimental impact on lives of those who suffer.
"We accept that we cannot be everywhere all of the time but would urge members of the public to contact the police when they are affected by groups of teenagers causing problems.
"We do not wish for the silent majority to suffer."
Porthill Scouts are now hoping to raise £2000 for a minibus.

As soon as the above article was in the paper, than one of our local radio stations, Signal, rang to see if they could do anything for us. After quite a few phone calls between them and myself, Signal arranged the hire of a small van for the weekend for us. Also Bradwell Community Shop and one of our old Scout Leaders, Dave Farr, gave us a donation for the minibus fund. So many thanks to both Signal, Bradwell Community Shop and Dave for their support.

On Thursday 18/10/01, the following appeared in The Sentinel –

The Sentinel Thursday 18/10/01

Scouts weekend back on track

A Scouts camping trip which was in danger of being cancelled can now go ahead thanks to the generosity of a charity.
The Porthill Scouts had arranged a trip this weekend to Kibblestone near Stone, but because vandals damaged their minibus so badly it looked like the trip would have to be abandoned.
But after reading in The Sentinel about the plight of the Scouts, Signal Radio’s Walkathon Appeal arranged for a van from Afford Rent-a-Car in Shelton to help them out.
Leader of Porthill Scouts Nick Wood said: "The weekend can now go ahead and the Scouts can look forward to a great time."

So, we were able to go camping. All we need to do now is some major fundraising!

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Hoe Down 13/10/01

This hoe down was a bit of an end of an era. The caller, Cyril, who we have used for the last twenty years or so had decided to call it a day, so this was his last hoe down for us. Also because this was to be the last hoe down organised by the Group Executive Committee of Mike, Irene and Maureen who are also retiring from the Group next year after nearly twenty years hard work with fund-raising activities.
The evening went very well with the majority of people initially getting the dances hopelessly wrong, but generally getting the hang of things.
After the traditional pie and pea supper, Mike presented Cyril with an engraved cut glass vase as a thank you. He was very surprised!
At this point we sprung a surprise presentation on Mike, Irene and Maureen. Jop got up to do a little speech and then I presented the ladies with some flowers, while Michelle presented Mike with a bottle of Glenfiddich. Carol then took our photo. Everyone was very please and impressed that we had managed to keep everything quiet.
In all we had a great evening and made over £100 in the process.

Finally, once again thanks to Mike, Irene and Maureen.

Written by Nick

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Ice Skating At Altrincham

On Wednesday 26th September 2001, we left Porthill at 7:00 pm en route for Altrincham Ice Rink near Manchester. When we eventually arrived at our destination, we had to wait for a while for Jop because he was running late from work.
We went in, but Tony decided that he would prefer to go to the pub to meet his girlfriend rather than join us on the ice. We did a few circuits around the rink and then two of the Scouts spent a bit of money by going on the arcade games while another watched. One of the Scouts seemed to be the better player on ‘Alien Destruction’ and won the football game.
We went back onto the rink with about half an hour left; all the Scouts and leaders went round together, just having loads of fun!!!
Sadly it was time to leave at about 9:00 pm. We all got off the rink, returned our skates and then one of the Scouts got a drink of coca cola then rushed back to the others. When we were all together we saw that it was chucking it down, suddenly Tony came round the corner and we all ran to the cars. We split up and the leaders took the Scouts back to their homes.

Written by Anthony

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London Trip 3/8/01 – 6/8/01

Friday 3/8/01

Everyone met up at my house at 10.45 and we left, on time(!), at 11.00. There were eight of us – Mat & Antony (Scouts), Tony, Carol & Michelle (Ventures) and Dave, Jop and myself (leaders). The actual journey itself wasn’t too bad, except it was very hot. We stopped off on the M1 at a service station for some lunch at about 13.00. After restarting, we arrived at the camp site at around 14.40. As we were driving in, we met the Bailiff on the way out! He was just off to meet his grandchildren and said that he would be back in around an hour. So we were left to do a bit of sunbathing.

Once the Bailiff came back, we got the keys to the buildings (we cheated and didn’t camp this time!) and got set up. While some of the group set up the rooms, the rest of us went shopping.

With the shopping finished we returned for a quick tea and it was then off into London itself for a ‘London Walk’. Fortunately the Tube was behaving, and we arrived at Tower Hill on time for the start of the ‘Jack The Ripper Haunts’ walk. There were so many people wanting to take the tour that it had to be split in two. It was a very interesting and informative tour. We got to see some of the bits of London not normally seen by tourists and also learned a bit about The Ripper and the conditions of the Victorian East end of London.

We got back to the site completely knackered!

Saturday 4/8/01

We actually got up at a respectable time and after a good breakfast set off into London again.

First stop was Hyde Park to watch the 41 gun salute for the Queen Mother’s 101st birthday. You don’t actually realise the scale of what is going to happen until some soldiers walk onto the field by their ammo boxes. Moments later horses come thundering down the field pulling the gun carriages. The guns are then set up and on the stroke of midday, they start to fire one by one. Our ears rung for a few minutes after they finished firing – I’m glad they were only blanks!

Jop and Dave then hired a rowing boat and Mat and I hired a peddle boat for half an hour on The Serpentine – how very civilised!

After a bit of persuasion from Carol and Michelle we then went to Harrods. Our favourite bargains were £50 per kg for some mushrooms and £6500 for an antique chair! Once we had bought the place up we went on to Covent Garden for a quick look round.

Our final stop for the day was Oxford Street. On passing the theatre staging Les Miserables, Dave and Jop decided that they would like to ‘take in a show’, so they went to get tickets for that evening’s performance. They were lucky and got reasonable cheap tickets, so they went back to the camp with Antony while the rest of us carried on to Oxford Street. As we were on our way, we got caught in a major downpour – no matter where we go, no matter what we do, we always get wet!

As we got back to the site Dave & Jop were leaving for their evening of culture and so we had our tea and chilled out for the rest of the evening. A slight diversion was that my cousin popped round to say ‘Hi’ (his family live just round the corner from the campsite).

Sunday 5/8/01

After a more leisurely start and later breakfast, during which Dave & Jop told us about their adventures after the show in Soho, we set off on our travels once more. We travelled down to Tower Hill and crossed over The Thames on Tower Bridge. We then had a walk along the South bank of The Thames towards the Tate Modern art gallery. We had a quick look round, it certainly is an impressive building (it’s an old power station), with some interesting exhibits.

As time was pressing on we had to carry on down The Thames towards Westminster to the London Eye. The views from The Eye are very impressive, especially on a fine clear day, which we had. We could even see Alexandra Palace which is just up the road from where we were camping.

Once finished on The Eye, we wandered up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square for a few photo opportunities.

After we got back to the site, it was time for the traditional end of camp BBQ. Jop & Dave did a splendid job of cooking and, as usual, we had too much to eat again. My cousin turned up again and helped us out with the food.

Monday 6/8/01

Got up a bit earlier than usual as we had to pack up and tidy up before going out. Also, we had to make sure that our uniforms were looking smart and pressed properly as we were off to the Houses of Parliament.

Just as we set out for the Tube, it started to throw down with rain and wet got drenched (again…….). Fortunately, by the time we arrived at Westminster we had all dried out. We met up with our local Member of Parliament, Paul Farrelly, who had arranged a tour round Parliament for us. The Palace of Westminster is a fascinating place, full of history and the actual Commons chamber is a lot smaller than it looks on T.V.

Back at camp, we had an improvised lunch, packed up and left at 15.30. We finally got home just before 19.00.

All of us were knackered, but a good time was had by all.

Written by Nick

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Indoor Climbing

In May we went indoor climbing.
We went to the wall, which is in Stafford Scout Group’s hut. When I first saw the wall I thought it was small, but some of the routes which had been planned were quite hard, especially the one where you had to climb over a door using only your arms. The overhangs were also quite tricky, as we had to clip the rope to carribenas when we went up and unclip them when we went down i.e. no abseiling down. We had a good time. I hope to go again soon although maybe for longer. I would recommend indoor climbing to anyone who thinks they could do it or are just up for the challenge.

Written by Antony

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