Wiltz 2016 - Summer Camp
We got up between 4 and 5 am and set off to Folkstone at 6 am. We then caught the Shuttle at Folkstone at 10.50am and were on the French roads by 1pm (including the time difference). We drove steadily through France and Belgium stopping at service stations along the way. Eventually at 6pm we reached Wiltz – several leaders focussed on getting the Mess tent up whilst we put up our Scout tent and set up our camp. The camp site was heaving with lots of different scouts groups coming and going.
We set up our camp kitchens and cooked full English breakfast.
After breakfast we got straight into a routine of daily kitchen and tent inspection to ensure we kept our stuff clean and tidy and to avoid tummy bugs from unhygienic kitchens.
As part of our first activity and to become familiar with the site we made a 3D map collage out of grass, logs, twigs, stones and rocks.
Later that morning one group then did the picture trail around the town whilst the other built their camp gadget, in this case a washing up stand to share between two patrols.
In the afternoon we swapped activities and the other patrols finished off the camp gadgets
We cooked our own dinner, had Schnitzel (breaded pork), new potatoes and green beans. After which our kitchens were inspected again.
In the evening we ran four bases:
- We learnt about team work, responsibilities and how we can help each other on camp to make sure everyone works together to get stuff done as efficiently as possible.
- We also learnt about good and bad words and how to recognise and read people when they are getting stressed. We also learnt how banter was a good thing because it made things fun but not at the expense of people’s feelings. And we also learnt about what to say and do if you felt offended by anything that anyone had said.
- On one of the bases we worked on our Scouts Own preparing for our Sunday service – where we wrote a prayer, looked at how much effort goes into a camp, talked about how important friendship was and looked at how lucky we are to live in the environment.
- We looked at how far we have travelled and how many countries we had gone through and compared the size of towns to our own that we are familiar with.
We helped a Cub pack from Germany who had lost their trailer on their way to Wiltz earlier in the day. The Leaders looked forlorn and we provided them with hot chocolate and lights to help them set up their camp late at night. We then invited them to come and join us for Campfire on the following Tuesday.
We had porridge for breakfast and then caught the train from Wiltz to Kautenbach and then onto Luxemburg City. The train was really cool because it was a double decker. Adam fell asleep on the way there. Once in the City we walked to the Casemates, had a picnic on the bridge where Emily dropped her bottle accidently, over the edge.
Here is the history lesson.....
The Casemates built in 963, by Count Siegfried created a fortified castle on the Bock promontory, which become the cradle of the city. In the course of the centuries, on the western side, mighty ring walls were added, which, however, did not foil the Burgundians in their attempt to conquer the city in 1443. The best builder-engineers of the new masters (the Burgundians, the Spaniards, the French, the Austrians and the German Confederation) eventually turned the city into one of the most powerful emplacements in the world, the "Gibraltar of the North". Its defenses were bolstered by three fortified rings with 24 forts, 16 other strong defensive works and a unique 23 km long network of casemates: these could not only shelter thousands of soldiers and their horses, but also housed workshops, kitchens, bakeries, slaughter-houses etc. In 1867, after the declaration of neutrality, the military withdrew from the fortress and during the following 16 years 90% of the defenses were demolished. In 1875, the superstructure of the Bock, a tremendous construction, was demolished. However, it proved to be impossible to blow up the casemates, without also demolishing part of the city, so the entrances and the key connecting galleries were sealed. In spite of this, 17 kilometres of tunnels remain, often on different levels and tremendous stairways penetrate up to 40 metres inside the rock face.
The Casemates were a fascinating unique and historical place. Lots of walking and steps kept the Scouts entertained! The views from the cave mouths were pretty spectacular. A fascinating unique and historical place - like a huge maze with several openings dotted around. Lots of spiral staircases and some tunnels.
We then wondered into the city square – where camp bank was opened and we were allowed to browse around the town in groups between 3 and 5.
When then caught the train back to Wiltz and cooked our own home made fish fingers, mash and peas for dinner.
We swapped badges with other groups and made friends with Scouts from other countries including Germany and the Netherlands.
We then held our 'Scouts Own' that we had prepared the previous day.
In the evening we then planned menus for Tuesday’s Gourmet Meal.
We then played a spy game – in patrols - we were either; German-Jamie (Diamonds), Dutch-William(Hearts), Belgium-Adam(Spades) or French-Owen(Clubs) spies and had to collect our 13 card suits spread across the campsite in key locations – running backwards and forwards to central command between each mission. Results were William(13), Jamie(11), Adam(11) and Owen(7).
Today was the first day of a main activity and we went mountain biking. The Scouts were split into two groups. The more challenging group did 18 kilometres whilst the more relaxed group did 8 kilometres. Chris our guide showed us how to use the brakes and lean back in the saddle when going down steep sections. Several people came off including Adam, Mia, Matthew and Joshua. In fact Joshua won a plaster in the silly Leaders scout awards (for future use, if required) for the most spectacular landing between two trees.
Whilst the other group cycled in the morning the other group in the afternoon made woggles and did a tree height and tree age activity making clinometres to accurately measure the height of a tree. To make the woggles we slices up an old stave, drilled a large hole through the centre of it and planed one side off so we could then brand it with our own design, using gas soldering iron.
We used our new gas grills to cook some marinated chicken kebabs with rice for our dinner? The meal was great and the new grills worked very well.
In the evening we had some Birthday cake and the Scouts had to send Morse-coded messages across the river. Freya won the most patient scout award for working with one of the other Scouts. After Morse code the Scouts did some stretcher racers and including how to build a stretcher from rope and staves.
We also rehearsed stunts that we were going to do with the cub scouts this coming Wednesday evening.
We got up early to go for a walk but by the time we got there it was raining so hard that the Leaders decide to cancel it. Phew!!!! So we ended back at Wiltz where we did our shopping for our 3 course gourmet meal. Camp bank opened up for a second time and we could buy sweets and chocolate.
In the afternoon we went swimming for the first time and Robert brought his tennis ball along which we played piggy in the middle with; Scouts against leaders.
Each patrol then cooked their own gourmet meal after doing their shopping at the local Smatch supermarket. With bonus points were up for grabs for use of fresh food, team work, hegiene, presentation etc. we all got to work. One patrol did cheese cake, others did breaded chicken and mash, other’s did stir fry….
After our gourmet meal we discovered a short cut up to the Chateau de Wiltz that took ten minutes to walk but would have taken 25 minutes to walk if you had gone via the main road.
At the castle we then did a torch light procession and had a guided tour of the town at 10 o’clock at night holding large candles walking around the town discovering information about the battle of the bulge, how the Americans lost ground and then retook the village using napalm. We learnt how the village had suffered in the Second world war and how the 6 people went on strike and we shot dead by the Germans and that there was now a monument in their honour. It was very cool!
We travelled to Dillingen which has the river Sûre running though it on the Luxembourg / German border. Here we hired rafts and floated down river for 12 kilometres with Germany on our left and Luxembourg on our right to a town called Echternact. We had lunch in Germany on the grassy bank over-looking the river. It was very hot. On our journey down we had lots of splash battles between the two rafts and Scott even used his drinks bottle to help keep us cool. On route we found one of Mike’s old crocks that he had lost earlier in the year at our backwoods camp – so we decide to bring it back for him.
After Rafting we got changed on the mini buses and then headed into Echternach for walk to their main square where camp bank was once again opened and we could wonder around by ourselves in groups of 3 to 5. Some Scouts bought ice creams and sweets.
After dinner the German Cub Pack came and joined our campfire for the evening ( these where the same ones we had helped on the first night when they had lost their trailer). We played out our well-rehearsed stunts. One of the Scouts introduced his act in English - with a strong German accent so that the German Cubs felt right at home. We did Nelly the elephant and the enlarging machine where the tennis ball almost fell in the camp fire.
We had hot chocolate and the cubs had brought along dough for twists (cheese, cheese & ham and cheese & onion) – which we baked on the fire. We made drop scones with golden syrup in return.
We than sang “Head, shoulders, knees and crocks”, before saying good night and going to bed.
Stolzembourg’s copper mine. We first watched a video showing how copper was mined. And the Germaine (our guide) took up us to the entrance of the cave – where we put on hats, protective clothing and wellies. Before going into the mine through one of the drains – sloshing around in a really long puddle. The mine is more than 500 years old. During the last centuries, the vein of ore of "Klangbach" has attracted many investors into the village, even though it is remote. Considerable mining activity happened around 1856, 1882, 1901 and 1938. The biggest problem for the miners was the water that always poured in the galleries and flooded it, and we could see why.
In the afternoon we went swimming again, but this time they had the inflatable out. Adam launched Tiffany into outer space which earned her the award of Astronaut Scout at the silly award ceremony.
In the evening 4 Scouts where then invited to visit another Scout Camp to have food with them and play games in the evening. They met with a German Scout group from Rehlinghen in Germany near the river Saar, where they learnt to play Kubb a Vikings Chess game thowing wooden blocks.
Meanwhile the remaining scouts cooked Sponge puddings, one was unsuccessful becoming wet when topping up the water, but the rest where shared and enjoyed by all with custard.
We went to Vianden where we monkeyed around in the Indian Forest (High ropes). There were lots of different tree climbing routes and on some of them you were too short to reach them. Mia was really helpful to Matthew and as a consequence won, “Surprisingly most caring Scout” award of the week. We have pictures of Adam doing a Tarzan swing and the high-wire skate board was extremely tricky.
After lunch we walked down into the town spent more of our money before catching a chairlift back up to the buses.
We got back at 6pm and cooked our dinner. After dinner we played a bingo wide game were we had to collect information about different scout groups and got additional patrol points. Sparky patrol managed to persuade the rest of the patrols to only use first names whilst they used complete names and managed to double their winning score. Ingenious! Information they had to collect where for each Scout group of a different nationality, the number of Scouts in the group. The leader with the longest name, the name of the youngest scout and the number, etc…
We laid in, and got up at 8.15
We sang happy birthday to Emily.
After a cooked breakfast we went into town walking under the railway line, across the road and up the steep bank to Chateau de Wiltz – were we wandered around the town and did our own shopping.
We then came back and took off the fly sheets and had risotto for lunch – after which we dismantled the Kitchens and our washing-up stands.
At 3 o’clock we went swimming – before coming back for our final Dinner.
Whilst Adam cooked dinner (Pork and Bacon Carbonara) we did four bases:
- Sundial – we made sundials so we could read the time and learnt how the Harrison watch enabled sailors get a longitudinal fix by comparing the difference between the current time to the sundial time.
- Cartography – where we mapped out our site carefully measuring from a centre line called a chain.
- Learned how to whip the end of a rope to stop it from fraying
- And wrote up this camp report.
After dinner we played a few wide games including; Man hunt, Capture the flag and Honey I love you.
We then had a presentation evening where we were given our International Scout badges, moving up to explorer gifts - for those moving on, patrol winners presents and silly and funny prizes from the Leaders called “The Best Scout who…”. We also gave Penny Woggle to each of the leaders before receiving a Wiltz badge.
We then had hot Chocolate and Emily’s birthday cake.
After this we then ran our own campfire and went to bed.
We got up at 5.45 Wiltz time, not popular with scouts and some leaders! We packed up the remainder of our stuff and left the camp site to start our four hour journey back to Calais. Calais was a nightmare and we had a wait almost 4 hours before we got on the Shuttle. Finally we were back in England, drove home and unpacked. Got home at 7pm.
What a camp, what an adventure, what amazing memories!