Northumberland Scout Group Hosts First Ever Leaders’ Bushcraft Meet
Boy Scout and Girl Guide groups have long been known as among the best organisations around for young people in the UK to indulge in their new-found passion for the great outdoors or to get their first taste of bushcraft. Regular camps and the opportunity to earn badges in recognition for showing proficiency in specific areas of bushcraft has allowed girls and boys to not only enjoy being outside but to develop skills that will be useful, and potentially life-saving, long after they’ve left the scouting movement.
The skills that scouts and guides develop have been passed down by generations of group leaders, who, in all probability, were scouts or guides themselves when they were young. But it seems that even scout leaders can still learn a thing or two about bushcraft, as witnessed by the recent hosting of the first ever Scout Leaders’ Bushcraft meet in the wilds of Northumberland. The inaugural event was hosted by First Flodden B-P Scout Group, which is based in the tiny village of Branxton, near Cornhill-on-Tweed, the setting for the Battle of Flodden in 1513 from which the group takes its name.
Members from the Scouting Association and the Baden-Powell Scouts’ Association made journeys from as far as London and Dundee to attend the weekend course designed to sharpen up and enable the sharing of valuable bushcraft skills that can be passed onto younger Scouts. The meet attracted both advanced professional bushmen, as well as a smattering of curious amateurs.
Showing a commitment to the cause that even Baden-Powell himself would’ve been proud of, the participants weathered a storm, literally, to ensure they got the most out of the weekend itinerary. A number of tasks put their bushcraft skills to the test, including making fire using the fire bow; skinning, gutting and cooking wild rabbits and pigeons; and wilderness first aid. Finally, just to show that it’s not just the celebrities on a popular reality TV show that can stomach creepy-crawlies; they also took part in a bushtucker challenge. Among the culinary delights that they got to enjoy were a mixture of dried and live mealworms and locusts.
In what is undoubtedly a positive sign for the future of scouting, more Scout Leaders’ Bushcraft meets are planned throughout the UK. With all manner of technological gadgets to tempt young people into shunning the outdoors these days, it’s a welcome boost and one that might be just the thing to keep the bushcraft spirit within the scouting movement alive.