Scouting Ireland’s National Campcraft and Scouting Skills competition (The Phoenix) took place in Pallaskenry in Limerick from Wednesday August 17th to Sunday August 21st. Roscrea by virtue of coming 1st and 2nd in the Slieve Bloom qualifying competition had two Patrols entered in the event. This was Roscrea’s fourth time to enter this event. Throughout the year the Scouts had been working on their skills in preparation for the event.
Leaving Roscrea at 5pm on the Wednesday the two Patrols (Eagles and Badgers) the air of anticipation and excitement was there for all to feel. Practice had gone well and both teams were confident of meeting the challenges ahead. Arriving around 8pm in Pallaskenry to be greeted by a site of some 51 other troops arriving from all over the country. After the opening ceremony it was time to start building the patrol site which consisted of tents; open fires; cookers; constructed table & seating and much more.. The competition inspections started straight away with first the uniform inspection and later the first site build progress inspection. Late on Wednesday evening there was time for a movie on site and then it was off to bed.
It was an early start on Thursday morning to continue with the site build. After lunch it was time for another inspection and then the first of the programme bases/challenges. The challenges consisted of making some of the most complicated knots and making a compass; alpine basket and more besides. After this is was time for the Environmental Project which involved making a water filtration system. Dinner was next. After dinner it was time to head off on the 7km hike to the Curraghchase forrest. After working hard for 24 hours and having to carry a lot of gear the hike was a big challenge. Upon arrival the patrols had to build a bivvy shelter using a plastic tarpaulion to sleep in. Next up was the sub camp campfires with each patrol performing a sketch. Thursday night was the coldest night of the 4 nights.
On Friday morning it was time for more bases and challenges including first aid, obstacle course, pioneering, nature and navigation. Lunch was a welcome break but then it was back to bases including making clay pots; building a friction bridge, semaphore, mapwork, tyre run and building a beacon. With the bases successfully completed it was time for the hike back to Pallaskenry. There was no time to waste with the open fire test meal immediately upon arrival back on the site. Both patrols did an excellent job on test meal the main course for which they only found out what they were to cook less than one hour before the test started. After the test meal there was some relax time and time for the Patrols to meet their leaders.
On Saturday there was another campcraft inspection and then it was time for more programme bases including memory challenges, mathematical puzzles, compass work, pulley bases and map making. On Saturday evening everyone got to relax at the traditional Disco.
Sunday was time for the final inspections and the taking down of the campsite. The nerves were building the Scout Leaders and Ventures had all arrived for the award presentation. All the Scouts had worked hard and despite the fact that it normal takes many years practice to get to the highest Gold standard; which required a score of greater than 80% everyone went in hope to the closing ceremony that after a few short years it was possible that the Roscrea Eagle Patrol would of achieved the highest award. Nerves build in the main hall as the results were called out one by one. Then came news everyone was waiting for Site C10 6th Tipperary Eagle Patrol Gold. Well done to the Patrol lead by Niamh Marks (PL) and Billy Breen (APL) with Shane Culleton, Jack Delaney, Allana Rigney, Shauna Fitzgerald, Eoin Cooke and Fergal Flanagan. Then the wait continuing for the result for the 2nd teams result; the 2nd team (Badger Patrol) had started nervously on Wednesday and Thursday but their experience and skills had started to come through as the event continued and by Saturday they had established themselves as a strong patrol on their sub camp. Then came the great news that Site W8 6th Tipperary Badger Patrol had achieved their challenging target of a Silver standard. The team was lead by Kyle Cahir (PL) and Ciara Lupton (APL) and the team members were Padraic Marks, Ciara McCabe, Ciara Moloney, Eoin Hobbs, Luke Spencer and Georgina Abbott.
Well done to all 16 Scouts and all the Ventures and Leaders who trained the team on achieving two excellent awards in Scouting Ireland’s premier competition after only a few short years taking part. The Gold Standard achieved by the Eagle Patrol brought the team to the highly impressive 12th Place. There has been many highlights in the 40 year history of the Roscrea Scouts and for sure August 21st in Pallaskenry will now rank among the best highlights of the Group’s history.
The first party took place on the way home in Pizza Hut in Limerick with the Badges presented to the team when they got home. The big party is yet to come....