Our survival camp diary

Rebecca, Rachel, Tilly, Martha, Emily, Sophie, Hayley and Lisa went on a survival camp with 1st Bodicote Guides at Jubilee House. This is their diary of what happened!

The idea

Rebecca requested a camp to learn some survival skills, so we came up with a plan based around the 'Survival' badge and the 'Go for it! - I will Survive' badge.

The first time it had been forecast to rain in weeks, and we had planned our survival camp for this weekend. 

With the help of a Guide’s dad, we learnt the importance of the correct clothing/bedding and what to pack.  He also ran an important session on predicting our British weather. 

In preparation for the hike, part of our adventure, we spent time learning a little more about maps, particularly what all the different symbols stood for and how to plot a grid reference. 

The big day

On Saturday 13 May 2017, 10 of us (8 Guides, Big B and Little B) met at Jubilee House (Girlguiding Oxfordshire’s guide house and camp site) at 10am. 

What happened next

After all the preparation, the route was plotted within half an hour, our rucksacks were checked (to ensure we were carrying what we needed and nothing extra), and we set off on our hike at 11.15am.

Lisa was keen to understand how to read a map, and became an early leader in this skill saying: ‘well it is only a flat picture of what is around you’ - that may have been heard during our preparation!

We passed through fields with cows and calves, saw a herd of deer, heard and met pheasants, and identified trees and flowers on the way. We took one wrong stile (to avoid the herd of cows), but Big B soon put us back on track. Our map-reading skills really were improving every step of the way, and we did not go wrong again.

First aid

Big B was the first to trip over a hidden tree root, but she was ok. Sophie tripped over a tree root and managed to graze her knee.

First aid discussed, first aid kit located, and first aid administered by Big B.

This led to much excitement, and a supervised opportunity for Rebecca to use her survival bracelet flint and fire lighting ‘punk’ to attempt to burn used resources.

Unfortunately, even though Rebecca could produce a good spark and we did get some smoke we were not successful, so the rubbish was bagged, and brought back to camp for disposal.

The afternoon

It had been quite an educational few hours, including learning a little more about wild flowers and trees.

We managed to find loads of different types, including one blue flower we could not identify; it might be Selfheal but will try to clarify during our herbal plant workshop later in the term!

We set up water stills on the trees to see if we could collect any fresh water, and used our filtration devices to clean some of the dirty water we had collected. We used sand and gravel to make our filters. Water is very important if you are surviving in the wild. Although Sophie was heard to say, ‘but we can use the tap'.

Later on

We had a bit of fun working in teams to complete the assault course with a fresh egg. Getting this right was important, as the eggs had a vital secondary function; breakfast! One such egg became known as Eggbert.

All the eggs escaped unscathed (until we ate them). Sophie said she found the wall difficult, but support and encouragement from the team helped her to complete this element. 

Wood was collected, wood piles built (and rebuilt when they did not pass inspection by Big B), and the fire was started by Rebecca. 

Cooking

Everyone rose to the challenge of gutting and preparing the fish for supper. Quotes heard included: ‘Ooh it smells', 'this feels slimy, and 'this is not as bad as I thought it would be’. Everyone tried at least one of the three types of fish once they were cooked.

In fact, we had four courses: Soup cooked in the tin with dampers, followed by fish. Meat patties with stuffed peppers or tomatoes, all finished off with ice cream cone smores. Little B was very proud of us all as there was not much waste!

Sleeping under our shelters

By 10:30pm all of us were in our beds under our shelters. According to Big B and Little B this is unusual.

At 5am, Martha and Sophie woke up soaking wet. Big B was quick to respond climbing out of her survival bag in the pouring rain, they (Big B and Little B) did not have a shelter. Martha and Sophie were quickly moved to the one completely dry, sheltered spot; her car. They had changed out of their wet clothes and into lots of dry layers (the best way to keep warm).

The next morning we were disappointed in how little water we had collected (despite the rain), however the water filtration devices seemed to have worked well and we had fairly clear water (although we did decide to we stick to standpipe water for morning hot drinks).

It stopped raining, and the sun came up. We spread wet and damp bedding, and clothing out to begin the drying out process. 

All in all

Everyone did something they had not done outside before. Lisa had not walked 9.6 km (or read a map), and none of us had carried an egg around an assault course.

Gutting fish was new to most of us and none of us had slept outside in the rain before.

We all learnt the importance of planning in advance, listening carefully to instructions, and that working together makes things easier. 

Thank you to Big B and Little B for a great weekend!

By Rebecca, Rachel, Tilly, Martha, Emily, Sophie, Hayley and Lisa

1st Bodicote Guides.