Posted on 15 December 2017
Every December since the dawn of time the 43rd have headed to Blakedean, a scout hostel north of Hebden Bridge, for a Christmas weekend. Fun and festivities are always on the menu, along with a slap up Christmas dinner, and 2017 didn’t disappoint….
The Scout Troop’s annual weekend at Blakedean was perhaps one of the more memorable weekends we have spent there! Too often, the weekend has been ‘spoilt’ by the lack of snow – this year there were loads of it! The road from Slack, above Hebden Bridge, proved to be compacted snow and ice and was treacherous; Donna, towing the trailer was ‘rescued’ on one climb by a friendly 4 x 4, and perhaps would not have made it otherwise! We settled in quickly, partly as the advance party had managed to get up there in the afternoon, so the Christmas decorations had already been put up, the tents had been pitched and the fire was burning brightly. On the Saturday, we set off for a short walk – the first part along a path on the moors was not too bad – there were patches of ice and snow the whole way, but nothing too bad – but when we ‘hit’ the road for a short stretch, the fun began. Scouts could hardly stand upright on it and had a great time slipping and sliding around! The Leaders wisely tramped through the snow on the grass verge, until we diverted off the road onto a Waterboard road and up to the dam wall of Gorple Reservoir. The walk had now changed to a mobile snowball fight, and we headed back to the hostel, descending a nice steep path with a few drifts of snow to keep the Scout’s interested! Back at Blakedean we warmed up, had lunch and got on with the traditional games of ‘Connect 4’ and ‘Rebound’. The Christmas dinner was excellent (thanks Paul) and the Annual Awards ceremony for highlights of the Troop year was enjoyed before we had the ‘Secret Santa’ and the excellent pantomimes, each produced and acted out by the Patrols. On the Sunday morning, we headed off to Heptonstall for a sort of Incident Hike / Treasure Hunt – it was bitterly cold and the locals were bemused by Scouts attempting the ‘5 legged race’ up the main street! Before we left some of the Cubs were invested into the Troop before we headed back to the hostel for lunch, the tidy up and the return to Leeds!