The Perse School

Hiking, pioneering and a hog-roast – PES Winter Camp 2014

6 Nov 2014

Over the half-term break, the Perse Exploration Society Ascent Group ventured to Stonewall Park in Kent for their annual 3-day winter camp. Here, they put into practice the bushcraft, navigation and pioneering skills they have been developing so far this term. Senior Patrol Leader, Ben Cameron (Year 10) shares his experiences of the trip.

“Winter Camp 2014 was located at Stonewall Park in Kent. Stonewall had a huge expanse of woodland and two lakes for the PES Ascent Group to use over three days. The Year 10 student leaders (bears and stags) went as an advanced party after school on Thursday to start setting up before the whole troop arrived. We arrived at Stonewall at 8pm, which was earlier than expected, and we all worked really hard to set up really quickly. We went to bed that night exhausted from school, the bus journey, and the set-up, but really looking forward to the fun days ahead.

The advanced party set-up had great benefits the next day as when the whole troop arrived we had completed lots of tasks and could concentrate on the patrols setting up. On the first day of camp the patrols prioritised putting up their sleeping and dining shelters and organising their designated patrol sites. All the patrols worked really hard to set-up.  At the end of the day we played a small ‘wide game’ in which a single student/zombie had to try and catch everyone else and turn them into zombies. After that we had a troop campfire with biscuits and hot chocolate, with lots of loud singing that everyone enjoyed.

Saturday saw the first day of activities. The site was inspected by the ‘bears’ in the morning after flag break. There were bushcraft activities for tow of the sections, and navigation, pioneering and a small hike with challenges along the way for the other two sections. Bushcraft involved making bread, lighting fires and roasting a pig. The pig went down well with everyone – especially the crackling and the homemade apple sauce! The incident hike was also a great success with some great teamwork, memory and comical bases scattered around the route. The hike was conducted over the lovely countryside around the park with lots of competition between the patrols.

On the Sunday the two sections switched activities. In the evening we had a Harry Potter Horcrux ‘wide game’ where patrols had to complete seven bases based on the seven horcruxes from the books. The patrols ran around in the dark while dementors and death eaters (bears and stags) tried to catch them, which was thoroughly enjoyable. It was very close but in the end Salamanders patrol won and will have their name engraved, pride of place, on the wide game trophy.

On Monday the troop had to pack up. It all ran to plan and went very smoothly meaning that we left camp early and had lots of time to unpack back at school before parents came to pick everyone up.

On the whole, Winter Camp 2014 was my favourite camp as it ran really smoothly and the activities were great fun. I am really going to remember the hog roast as that was a particular highlight as well as the ‘wide game’ where I and all the other bears and stags had great fun chasing patrols. Winter Camp was great for everyone to practice the skills that they had learnt in the Friday sessions. A huge thank you to all the other bears and stags for putting a lot of effort in to camp, and to all the leaders and Mr Parker for organising a great trip”

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