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LeCastor

"Pilgrimage" to Scouting's Roots...

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As a Wood Badger and aficionado of Scouting, both present and past, I have long dreamed of one day making my "pilgrimage" to Gilwell Park near London, England.  Also, I am now thinking it would be fun to take my family to Brownsea Island where we could participate in their family camps.  

Has anyone made the journey over to either of these historic sites?  For our British brothers and sisters, is this something your Scouting groups enjoy?

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Family camps????  Have you gone over to the dark side?

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20 minutes ago, Stosh said:

Family camps????  Have you gone over to the dark side?

Haha!  No, I just thought this was a good way to get my family over to visit Brownsea Island and in a fun way.  I don't know how it would work logistically to take a Troop, for instance, over to Brownsea for a camping trip.  Since it's under the management of the UK's National Trust.  I gather that's like the Park Service in the USA?

Maybe @Cambridgeskip can give us some insight?

Edited by LeCastor
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I hear where you're coming from.  If mamma ain't happy.......   well, you know the rest.  Le Castor Petit should be ready in a couple of years anyway.

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As it happens I am at Gilwell Park as I type! Massive event called winter camp, big weekend jamboree affair. We come every year it's great fun :)

 

Gilwell are quite welcoming to visitors, phone in advance and they'll have you there. Be aware that's it's in a transitional phase. A lot of the old buildings are being closed knocked down and replaced. So the famous camp square looks quite run down but is due to be totally rebuilt.

 

Brownsea is indeed run by the National Trust which is a charity that looks after a lot of historic sites. It's open to visitors all year, no need to book advance. There's a passenger ferry from Poole harbour. Very beautiful and the original campsite is still there. Scouts can camp there but need to book years in advance! If you have any problem with wasps be aware it's infested with them.

 

There are plenty of places to camp near Poole and you can do a day trip there. We went for the day in 2015 while camping at a place called Ferny Crofts in 2015. Photos here http://12thcambridge.org.uk/summer-camp-2015/

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On 14/01/2018 at 12:58 AM, LeCastor said:

Thanks, @Cambridgeskip!  That's very helpful. :D

No worries!

I would add though that while Gilwell is worth sticking your head into if you are passing I wouldn't make a massive detour to see it  if you only have limited time in the UK. There is some scout history there but you can probably see all of it in a couple of hours. The majority of the site is a run of the mill (for the UK) scout campsite and activity centre. Eccles (BP's caravan) may be there depending on what time of year it is. Easiest way to get there is to drive but if you are using public transport take a train to Chingford and get a taxi from there, or it's about 45 minutes walk.

Similarly I would combine Brownsea with something else. When we went it was the same day as the Bournemouth airshow nearby which we combined it with. 

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34 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

Ohh, my (not so) inner Scout nerd is going bananas.

I would LOVE to make that trip.

Let's do it!

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56 minutes ago, Stosh said:

Ya, but you're standing on "hallowed" ground. :)

Exactly! 😎 🇬🇧

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Just now, LeCastor said:

Let's do it!

I would love to, I just have to convince my wife now!

Maybe, I could take her on that trip to Ireland she wants and arrange a SLIGHT detour for a day of Scouting Adventure, lol.

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Thanks, @Cambridgeskip.  Actually, we've got family based near London these days, so it would definitely just be a side trip.  I like that you are trying manage expectations, though.  ;)

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All things being equal (i.e. we've booked and put a deposit down) we have one night's camping for my explorer scouts at Brownsea Island in the summer. Looking forward to being on "hallowed ground", walking in the footsteps etc, though I've been told not to get my expectations up too much by some, if memory serves you can't have open fires there anymore, but it should be an interesting start to the summer camp.

We also go to Gilwell Park most years, in the summer, they have a camp with about 4500 Explorer scouts attending, and a great big heap of activities, and not much sleep. The little museum is interesting, and you'll usually find volunteers from all over the world there, oh, and the shop for all your branded goodies. I think there's probably a "history trail". Obviously, you can camp there, but there's also hotel rooms available if you want a night there but don't want to carry tents and sleeping bags across the pond.

Though not really hallowed ground, if you're ever in that London, England, Baden-Powell House is in Kensington, near to the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, V&A museum, and the Royal Albert Hall. It's a hostel, but not run by scouting anymore, there is a little kiosk of goodies you can buy, and an excellent photo opportunity as there's a big granite statue of Baden Powell outside it. Possibly the only statue in London of man in shorts! :)

 

Edited by ianwilkins
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