Our survival weekend really is something different on the Scouting calendar, staying over night at the Scout hut on the Friday, we
wake up next morning and after a full breakfast set off early to The Birch Hills Plantation near Scarcliffe woods, Chesterfield
Birch Hill Plantation is basic green field site with no toilets etc, only a water tap. Allthough we do take sleeping bags and a sleeping shelter
in case of emergency, these remain locked away in the trailer. Besides the central food supply the scouts set up camp for the two days, using only
their surival kits, knives and bivi bags.
In groups of two or three the first challenge is to select a site, suitable areas have a clear area for a ground fire, with trees nearby suitable as
a base for building a shelter from.
Once a site is located its straight on with wood collecting, this is what makes Birch Hill a perfect site for our survival camp, there is deadfall wood
everywhere just ready to be collected. Once back at the site the wood is split into that for building a shelter and the remainder is put to one side for the fire.
Once the groups have a good woodpile, it's time to light the fire, ready for the first round of food of the day, this normally takes us to around 2:30pm.
Most of the Saturday is spent preparing food, cooking it and building the shelter in between.
On this weekend the Scouts were given almost as much food to cook as they would for a normal 3 day camp.
Dishes cooked on the Saturday include
The main meal in the evening was Fresh fish, filleted and prepared by the scouts themselves, Fresh corn on the cob, and a baked potato with
a chocolate stuffed pineapple as a desert.
- Mince in a pepper
- Egg cooked in a potato
- Garlic Bread
- Kebab Parcels
Once it started getting dark, all efforts were concentrated on building up the wood piles ready for a long cold night. With only bivi bags to sleep in
without a decent fire going all night it is very easy to get cold laid on the floor.
With no set bedtime the Scouts climbed into their bivi's at the time they felt most comfortable with, most of them turned in reasonably early, with regualar wake ups
to keep the fires going. Between the leaders we ran a casual shift pattern with someone awake thoughout the night, checking up on the groups and keeping their fires going,
as well as making sure no one could roll into their fire and shrink wrap themselves into their bivi bag.
By 6am most of the scouts were awake due to the cold and rebuilding their fires with the odd 40 winks in between,
The true survival section of the weekend then started with food for breakfast not being issued until 8am. This is the time when the faddy eaters from Saturday begin to wish
they had eaten more of the massive amount of food available.
After cooking a breakfast of Bacon and cheese parcels on the fires, it was time to tidy up
As much as possible we like to leave the site looking like it did when we arrived. Whilst we cannot get rid of the tracks our feet have made we can do some basics,
these include making sure the fires are properly out and burying the ash, also of course making sure we don't leave anything behind, including litter.
After a good tidy up, its time to relax in the sun, ready for the trip home and a MacDonalds lunch.
All in all a good weekend, with memories to last a good few years.