142nd/180th Camp Craft Competition

Hi! My name is Cathal Greene and I am the Senior Patrol leader in the 142nd/180th Esker Lucan Scouts. Recently, I, along with 7 other people took part in a county camp craft competition called The Shield.

The first thing to be done for the shield was to pick the team. We held a training day in which everybody who wanted to go to the shield could come. Everybody practised knots and lashings, and showed me what they could do. For the day, I had to plan what we were going to pioneer. I spent some time with a pencil and some paper and eventually came up with some designs that I like.

 

By the end of the day, we had our practice campsite built, I had my Shield Team chosen and I had jobs for each member. The final team was Brendan as Assistant Patrol Leader, Petra as Quartermaster, Ben as Scribe, Kiera as Head Chef, Cormac in charge of First Aid, Jordan in charge of Fire Safety, Alex in charge of food and water stores and me as Patrol Leader.

On the day of the competition We went down to the Scout Den at 2pm to pack up our gear and then head off to Larch Hill! When we got there we found out that we would be camping in Kelly’s Field which was at the very back of Larch Hill. I wasn’t happy about this as this meant that we would have to carry all of our gear a long distance, but luckily, the people at Larch Hill were nice enough to drive our gear up in a trailer for us. We got up to Kelly’s field and unpacked the trailer. I had a look at all the sites available and decided that site 5 would be our home for the weekend. We had 30 minutes worth of free time so we walked down to the Beavers Playground, sat around, practised our campfire performance and had a quick chance to check our uniforms. Once it hit 6pm we walked back up to Kelly’s Field for our sign in inspection.  As soon as our inspection was finished we started on our camp. The first job was to get the tripods and quadpods made, while the storage tent was being put up.

After that we started on our sleeping tents and then our eating/fire/food preparation area. At 9 pm, we took a break from the work to relax and have our small dinner of hot dogs. After our dinner, we got back to work to finish our camp but sadly we were unsuccessful at finishing our camp. With everybody very tired, and with the rain about to pour down, we all got into our tents and slept the night away.

We woke up at 7:30 am to get ready for our day. As soon as everybody was up, breakfast was served. A good few bowls of cereal to fuel our day! The first job was to finish our camp so we put up our dining shelter to protect us from the elements (which we found out we definitely needed!)

We then were told that we would be doing our bases. There were four bases to be done, with lunch when the first two bases were complete.

We head off to our first base, First Aid and Emergencies. I had a lot of fun at this base, both demonstrating what I did know and the things I learned. From the looks of it my patrol had a great time too! We learned the recover position and how to do CPR.

Our next base was Food hygiene. At this base, we learned how you should store and cook food correctly. We also had to gut and prepare a fish. It was fun but I think some people in my patrol enjoyed it a little too much. We took our mackerel that we prepared and head back to our camp to have lunch. We had sandwiches and crisps for lunch. We tightened our lashings and fixed some errors before we took some time to relax.

We then head off to our third base, The Knot Board. This was my favourite base of the camp because I got the chance to show off my knot tying skills, but I also got to teach some members of ,my patrol some new knots.

After that, we went off to our fourth and final base of the day, The Tent Pitching. For this base, we had to erect an Icelandic Tent, but sadly, it wasn’t that simple. There were some parts missing from the tent that we had to work around, and also everybody had certain limitations. I myself could not leave a designated circle, Brendan, the APL was not allowed to speak and others could only use one arm, were blindfolded or were tied to another person. This was certainly the most difficult base on The Shield.

After we had finished the bases, we head back to camp to start on our test meal. Kiera, the head chef had worked with the patrol to decide on the menu. We decided on battered mackerel with pasta carbonara and garlic bread for main course, with a homemade s’more dip recipe for desert. Jordan, who was in charge of the fire, made sure we had enough fire wood to light and maintain our fire. Once we had our fire going, and Kiera had the mackerel prepared, we started cooking! We got the main course done and left our desert cooking while we had the leaders examine the main course. Once that was finished, I served up desert which went down great with everybody! Once our inspection was done, it was time for what we had been dreading, the dinner wash-up! It took a while to wash everything and put it away but we got it done.

The next item on the agenda was the campfire. For the campfire each patrol has to perform to entertain the county. We decided that we would sing “Riptide” by Vance Joy with me playing the ukulele. We made a good decision in choosing this song as the crowd reaction was fantastic! After the campfire everybody was even more tired than the night before. I had to go to a Patrol Leaders meeting while everybody stayed up for a short while playing cards. When I came back I joined in with the card games but soon decided it was time for bed. I quickly scanned the campsite to ensure everything was okay then I got into my tent and jumped inside my sleeping bag! I was very tired so it didn’t take long at all to dose off.

We were up the next morning at 8:00 am. Today was the day that we he had to take down the camp to head home. First we had our breakfast of cereal then got straight to work. Sadly, as soon as we started taking apart our camp, the rain came down. Once the rain cleared we got our campsite down just in time. I think Brendan and I set a world record for the fastest time to take down an Icelandic Tent and pack it away! We got our inspection done and then got our gear taken down to the car park and loaded it into our van.

It was the time we had been waiting for, it was time for the Awards Ceremony! We were very nervous going and we weren’t sure if we had done enough to win. We went in and sat down as they began to call out the winner. They started at 6th place, and then they kept counting down and eventually got to 1st place, and I couldn’t believe it. “And 1st place, the winners, goes to 142nd/180th Lucan, The Platypus Patrol”. I couldn’t believe it, we won!