SCOUTS from First Lurgan recently met outdoor icon and Chief Scout Bear Grylls.
Bear took to the air to meet almost 4,000 Scouts from Northern Ireland at a series of events in Clandeboye, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and Crawfordsburn Scout Centre.
The tour is part of Bear’s mission to encourage more adults to volunteer for Scouting, as well as celebrate the important role of Scouting in Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole.
Among those to rub shoulders with Bear at the Clandeboye site were a group of First Lurgan Scouts who also took part in a range of activities including survival skills, climbing, Olympic Games and a charity fundraising fair.
It was a case of roughing it in every sense of the word as the boys were given basic equipment and foodstuff and told to set up a bivouac shelter to see them through Friday night.
After some soup and baps they bedded down for the night though they had difficulty sleeping given the constant noise throughout the night including a troop who got up at 4.30am for what sounded like a knife-throwing competition.
The Lurgan boys rose at 7.30am on Saturday as instructed. Josh Beck and Jaime Wright retrieved sausages and baps from the stores and the troop used their Trangias to cook hot dogs for breakfast.
The boys from Lurgan were given the task of running a base where they would demonstrate how to use candle wax, string and some slivers of wood to make a firelighter. It proved a popular attraction with the young Scouts.
As morning wore on the crowd sensed the Bear’s arrival was imminent and were circling the field in search of that initial sighting.
Then he appeared in an all-terrain Bear mobile surrounded by a team of minders in the shape of over enthusiastic Explorer Scouts.
Lurgan’s Josh Best led the charge and ducked under the security cordon for a close encounter with the Bear.
Thankfully mob rule prevailed and Josh Beck got to ‘high five’ the Chief Scout, who also took time to give female leaders a peck on the cheek and sign some Scouts’ scarves.
Bear made a hero’s exit leaving the Lurgan boys with their dreams fulfilled and wanting nothing more than to take down the bivvies and head to McDonalds for lunch.