Itís all Baden-Powellís fault! If it wasnít for B-P taking a few boys to Brownsea Island in 1907, we wouldnít be lowering ourselves tentatively into damp canoes on a dank and dismal Whit Monday. Itís the first activity day of Beckermet Scoutsí annual camp in the Gelderland region of The Netherlands. Despite the drizzle, paddling the South Canal between light industry and open pasture provided a pleasant morningís exercise. After lunch the seven Scouts; my fellow leader, Bert van Mourik and I mounted bicycles and took to the woods for a mystery tour in silvan surroundings. The day was rounded off in a Dutch pancake house as guests of Bertís mother: a real taste of a different culture.
Tuesday took us to the Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek west of Arnhem. Located in the former Hartenstein Hotel, this exhibition provides a detailed account of Operation Market Garden that ended disastrously for the Allied Forces. A short walk away we visited the cemetery where so many British and Polish servicemen lie. It was a poignant yet salutary experience. On Wednesday the sun came out and we found ourselves in the Hoge Veluwe National Park Ė 55 square kilometres of heathland, driftsand and woodland as well as home to deer and boars, although we saw neither. It was a terrific location for cycling and a great day was had by all. One canít visit Holland without seeing a windmill and we were fortunate on Thursday to catch an open day at Korenmolen De Hoop in Garderen. The volunteer millers gave us a comprehensive guided tour including demonstrations of grinding and reducing the sail area. The afternoon was spent in Apeldoorn which we recommend neither for car parking nor its retail outlets. We spent Friday swimming at the magnificent complex in Putten and in the evening shared a barbecue with a Dutch family.
Scouting has come a long way in a hundred years and Iím not sure what B-P would have made of our camp. I am sure however that the Scouts enjoyed the camp and I believe that Scouting has a secure future if it continues to move with the times. My thanks go to Bert for his unstinting efforts during the week and to Hall Brow Services of Lillyhall for supplying an excellent minibus fully equipped for continental use.
Photos - before and after?
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