The Delvin Cub Scouts made their way to Portlick, Athlone, nestled on the shores of Lough Ree last Tuesday 2 August 2011. The next three nights would see our cubs slumber under the dry but somewhat cool starry August nights.
Twenty two Delvin scouts embarked on the expedition, which included both cubs and leaders – all determined to fulfil a fun packed programme that ensured everyone would return to Delvin feeling liberated and more importantly educated.
With nothing to worry about except the weather, the bus departed Delvin in the midst of beautiful sunshine, all on board secretly praying for a continuation of the sunshine right up until the Friday. Our prayers were answered and we were not disappointed as the sunshine was only interrupted on two or three occasions by a short shower of summer rain. Once the tents were pitched and the fire set, Yvonne set about making her speciality, Spaghetti Bolognese, by this stage the cubs were busy exploring the campsite which offers some of the best facilities anywhere in the country.
With the cubs fed and satisfied, the leaders took them on a hike where, among other things, they found a deserted castle, which sowed the seeds for the campfire ghost story and the all important ghost trail. Wednesday saw the cubs practice their archery, crate stacking and of course the all important kayaking. This was an opportunity to ensure everyone got wet, nevertheless nobody complained and all were glad of the shower facilities, followed by a hot stew and ghost stories around the campfire.
The obstacle course was attempted on Thursday; this was followed with T-shirt designing and a reported gold rush sent the cubs panning for gold to which there was some success. As dinner time was fast approaching some of the leaders endeavoured to teach the cubs how to fish in the hope that there would be something to cook. Unfortunately there was no big fish story to tell and all had to settle for a chicken curry. Events however did not end at this point as the majority set out in search of ghouls and ghosts. There were plenty of screams and reported sightings but thank God all made it back in one piece.
With Friday upon us it was almost time to head home but not before the cubs took part in the last hike of the week, which saw them exploring millennium forest and finding yet again another ruin, Whinning House, which had we another night at the campfire could well have inspired many more ghost stories, yet who knows, maybe next year we will once again gather round the fire at Portlick.
Submitted by the Third Westmeath Delvin Scouts