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Cambridgeskip

High adventure photos

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Posted (edited)

Some of my scouts are just back from what I think you would call a "high adventure" trip to the Scottish Highlands. A mountaineering course run by our neighbouring scout county. I've put a load of their photos on our group website and some of them took some cracking pictures! There will be some video footage in due course as well. Just thought I'd show them off. I was there as staff, mostly on cooking, toilets and bins but did get one day out on the mountains in stunning weather.

Anyway photos here. Enjoy!

Edit - should probably add the photos with the spinal stretcher were a demo when the local mountain rescue team came in to do an evening talk with the trainees. They aren't for real!

Edited by Cambridgeskip

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1 hour ago, ItsBrian said:

Looks great! Wish we had that around me.

It's a bit further than "around", it's 10 hours drive to the Scottish Highlands!

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36 minutes ago, Cambridgeskip said:

It's a bit further than "around", it's 10 hours drive to the Scottish Highlands!

To be fair, Brian is within 10 hrs of Baxter State Park/Katahdin in Maine and much closer to the Whites in NH and the Adirondaks in NY. All three would be great places to run a "convenient" Winter mountaineering course for east coast scouts.

Northern Tier is 20+hrs away and is extreme Winter camping with no mountains.

The only non-unit mountaineering options I know of in North America are a Summer program in Eastern British Columbia through Scouts Canada and an opportunity at one of the Alaska High Adventure Bases. A less extreme option like your Scottish camp would be a great addition to BSA's program. 

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46 minutes ago, oldbuzzard said:

To be fair, Brian is within 10 hrs of Baxter State Park/Katahdin in Maine and much closer to the Whites in NH and the Adirondaks in NY. All three would be great places to run a "convenient" Winter mountaineering course for east coast scouts.

Northern Tier is 20+hrs away and is extreme Winter camping with no mountains.

The only non-unit mountaineering options I know of in North America are a Summer program in Eastern British Columbia through Scouts Canada and an opportunity at one of the Alaska High Adventure Bases. A less extreme option like your Scottish camp would be a great addition to BSA's program. 

Our troop is too small to support a 10 hour trip... we don't even go past 4 hours for summer camp.

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3 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

Our troop is too small to support a 10 hour trip... we don't even go past 4 hours for summer camp.

Fair enough. The 10 hrs in Skip's post just jumped out at me since that is the limit for a single days drive in the G2SS... so the limit of a more affordable drivable trip for many troops.

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The stinkiest night that I've ever spent anywhere was in the Harvard mountaineering cabin at the base of Mt. Washington.  Three of us drove up from Georgia to do some real ice climbing and got thwarted by an early warm front.  We were hiking up trails that were mush and ran into the climbers from the previous week coming down.   There were about twenty unwashed bodies laying on top of sleeping bags emanating a ten day fragrance crammed into a tiny cabin.  It literally smelled so bad that you couldn't sleep, but outside was 3 to 5 feet of melting snow, so there was nowhere to go...

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9 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

Our troop is too small to support a 10 hour trip... we don't even go past 4 hours for summer camp.

So is ours! Hence these kinds of trips in the UK tend to be organised on a district or county basis. Scouts and explorers tend to sign up on an individual basis, albeit you tend to get little clusters who go along from particular troops or units. To give that some context my district, Cambridge,  (which is big as districts go) has a total of about 1000 youth members and 200 adult volunteers in various roles. My county, Cambridgeshire, (which is small as counties go) is about 6500 in total. This trip is run by our neighbouring county, Hertfordshire, who have about 15,000 members (youth and adults) in total and they will take a few from out of county as well. Hence we got to send a contingent along. The Cambridge contingent was a total of 12 from one scout troop and two explorer units.

Does that make sense?

The place it's run from is itself wonderful. I think I've mentioned it before. It's run out of a disused railway station. It was an old railway line that closed in the 1950s. Hertfordshire Scouts, who were already sending scouts on mountaineering trips to Scotland identified and acquired the site in 1962 and developed it from there. In a couple of the photos you can see what I mean. The station buildings themselves are now the dining room, kitchen, office etc. The platform itself gives a nice shletered area for things like a brew when the scouts get back off the hills and for practicing with kit before taking it out. The accomodation is log cabins built on the old track bed. If you are a railway nerd like me it's absolute heaven!

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12 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

Our troop is too small to support a 10 hour trip... we don't even go past 4 hours for summer camp.

Most areas where high adventure would take place have group size limits. The Adirondacks for example puts a hard limit at 9. The Whites is 10. And the USFS recommends 10 or less even where not required. The first LNT principle suggests smaller groups as group size exponentially increases impact.

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2 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

Most areas where high adventure would take place have group size limits. The Adirondacks for example puts a hard limit at 9. The Whites is 10. And the USFS recommends 10 or less even where not required. The first LNT principle suggests smaller groups as group size exponentially increases impact.

I know at least 5 scouts in my troop wouldn’t be able to afford it as well.

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9 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

I know at least 5 scouts in my troop wouldn’t be able to afford it as well.

Sadly the nature of these things is that they don't come cheap. As a group we are lucky in that we have enough money we can assist those families who struggle with the cost although there are still limits.

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56 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

I know at least 5 scouts in my troop wouldn’t be able to afford it as well.

Guided trips for sure. However most public lands are available to use for free. The only costs are food/gas. Much cheaper than summer camp for same duration of time. If you are interested, I regularly adventure in many of the locations much less than 10 hours from you. I am happy to help you plan a high adventure type trip for your patrol.

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@DuctTape is right. A well-trained crew/patrol can do this for pennies on the dollar. The trade-off, however, is spending time getting trained. Thorough enjoyment of this kind of terrain without a guide does mean monthly shake-downs and conditioning trips and weekly research and practice drills. Some scouts will need daily physical fitness. Others will need to learn how to hold their own with land navigation, tarpology, first-aid. And when it comes to costs, even when well contained, some scouts will need financial help from the others. But, shelling out extra $ is a lot easier to do if you know your bringing aboard a buddy who has earned your trust.

The average scout and his/her patrol are not there, yet. That's why these district/council contingents exist ... so the above-average scouts can join up with leaders who are good on-the-fly team builders and the group can hire a trusted guide. Cheap? No. Convenient? Yes.

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@qwazse is spot on. When one looks at the monthly outings a patrol could be doing all along with increased challenges along the way, the training is ebedded. A patrol cannot just be plop campers for 3 years with one&done advancement and expect to be able to plan an execute an advanced high adventure trip. 

I view all adventure on a growth continuum. When the adventure takes one step further out from their comfort zone, it is "high adventure" for them. Too often the high adventure trips must be guided because as qwazse points out, the training part was skipped. I am disheartened by this, as there are many steps which are fun to get to the next level. 

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