Friday, 17 December 2010

More snow than I have ever seen at Camas!!

We've finally caught up with the rest of the country and been blasted by blizzard conditions today. However, it did mean we had the chance to build a snowman with a spiky hairstyle made of Pavilion Shed icicles!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Hard-working cats?

I should also say that although the cats may appear to be lazy (lots of eating and sleeping going on there) they are certainly good company in a very quiet Camas, and we've had hardly any evidence of mice in the buildings now for weeks despite the cold, so I think they're earning their keep and deserve a mention too. Keep it up Boo and Growler!

What's missing in this picture?

Hello from an icy Camas! It's giving me a new appreciation for the merits of chicken wire...and making me remember to say a (very belated) thanks to all the work weekers who spent much time and effort at the end of October chicken-wiring planks and digging out ditches to improve our track...although sliding up and down it in the last few days it's obvious that track work is a never-ending task!

Amongst all the other work week tasks such as painting, collecting seaweed for the garden beds, wheelbarrowing firewood and peat, making cushions, bringing the boat in for the winter, it was also time to say goodbye to one of our volunteer huts...sorry Darragh, Rachel, Andrew and many others, but your old lopsided home is no more! Don't worry we already have plans to replace it with a brand new one in March. Meanwhile Josef is busy using some of it to construct a cat shelter and feeding station, while other parts are currently keeping my office warm from inside the wood-burning stove!

So I returned to Camas a few days ago and I'm spending a few days doing handover sessions with Mary before she goes on maternity leave and I become Acting Camas Co-ordinator. Not long to go now until baby time! We're happy to have appointed Rosie (one of this season's hardworking 4-month volunteers) as the new Environmental Programme Worker and she will be back with us mid-March.

The garden's still providing us with plenty of salad (in the polytunnel) also leeks, kale, doubt Becky will be popping in at some point to check we're looking after it! Boo-cat is getting friendly again, this morning he let me pick him up and sat quite happily on my lap in the polytunnel. The chickens seem happy enough to keep on laying unless the weather is really wet and cold.
That's all for now...hope everyone's enjoying the snow...we don't have any!

Friday, 12 November 2010

4 - 2 = 2 and a gingerbread house

A few days ago, four became two. Emily and Beccy finished for the season, but they will both be back. Emily in December and Beccy in the spring. Nevertheless it was a sad day. Emotionally, but also on a mathematical level.

- There are 3 meals in one day: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
- There are 7 days in one week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... I think you get the picture.
- That equals: 7 * 3 = 21 Meals in a week.
- Subtract the breakfasts because they involve very little cooking, 21 - 7 = 14.
- Subtract the two non-breakfast meals we have on Iona, 14 - 2 = 12.
- Two days a week are days off, and that makes it easier to not do any cooking without feeling guilty, so maybe we can subtract an average 25% of the days-off non-breakfast meals that I was supposed to cook if it was a work day, 12 - (4 - 3,5) = 11,5, in the case of one other person (25% of 2 meals = 0,5 meals).
- There are only two of us here, which means that I have to cook 5,75 meals a week. 11,5 / 2 = 5,75.

I have to cook

((7 * 3) - 7 - 2 - (4 -3,5)) / 2, Meals a week!

Instead of the previous

((7 * 3) - 7 - 2 - (4 - 3,25)) / 4, Meals a week!

That is a difference of 2,9375 meals a week!

Needless to say, I got grumpy. Not only should I get cold, lonely and only see sun a few hours a day, I was also going to cook 2,9375 more meals a week. I needed to get all these frustrations out somehow. All this energy, frustration and adrenalin bottled up inside me.

I built a gingerbread Camas.

As you do.

Ginger bread Camas (up left), ginger bread south building (up right).

Ginger bread northbuilding (down left), gingerbread Camas (down right).

/ Josef

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Day Trips


It was quite a while ago I wrote on this blog. It was quite a while ago anyone wrote on this blog. Lots have happened. The first chapter will be called

The day we went on a dear hunt

One day, we went on a dear hunt. Actually, it was a dear rut. I am not exactly sure what a ’rut’ is. I asked one of the rangers that was leading the way. He explained it to me, and I answered: ”ahh, ok… I see”, but I didn’t. It has something to do with the dear mating season. But we were told that we might see some stags fighting, and that was enough to get me sold.

I’m getting ahead of myself. The day started of with a road trip.
With a tank full of petrol, a bucket full of crisps,a car full of people
and 50’s rock classic blasting from the speakers we started off on the scenic route towards Salen. Possible spotting of eagles, a very exciting jump with the sharan over a bridge, we arrived at the waterfall by the Ulva Ferry just in time for the crisps to be all gone. We climbed trees, and were off again to Calgary Bay and some sort of art-in-nature thingy. It started to rain, we got soaked, we headed of to Dervaig, saw a lighthouse (from very far away), visited a very small bookshop, went to Tobermory, ate fish and chips, and got ready for a dear hunt, I mean rut.

When Cally had finished peeing behind the car, we walk into the wild. The wild in this case was a few minutes walk through a small woodland. Some of us saw a big stag just in front of us, before it ran away. But I think all of us saw a couple of more stags walking around on the surrounding hillsides through binoculars. No fighting though.

Darragh drove us home safely through the dark, and we arrived back at Camas late that night, happy after a very nice day trip. A few days later we were very sad to see our last four volunteers leave us. They have been brilliant and we have all had an excellent season. Darragh, Cally, Rob and Tom, come and visit us! And also Jeayeun, Ros and Rosie, come!

The second chapter is called

The day we went to a

One day, we went to a light house. Not any old light house, we went to Ardnamurchen lighthouse. For those who don’t know: Ardnamurchen lighthouse was build out of granite from the Camas quarry. Needless to say: We were all very excited.

We went on the ferry from Tobermory to Kilchoan. It was a very exciting ferry ride. According to one of my colleagues, the ferryman was pretty hot. But that wasn’t what made the ferry ride exciting. A force 7 wind from west was forecast. And we did feel the waves on the ferry. It was rocking back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. If you stand on one side, for example, the left side. And you jump just when the ferry is starting to rock to the left, it is quite scary. It feels like you are jumping very high.

We were jumping for thirty minutes.

When we got to the light house, we got to go all the way to the top. We stood in the little glass room where the light is! How exciting! Some facts about Ardnamuchen lighthouse:
- It was built in 1849 and designed by Alan Stevenson.
- It stands 36 meters tall on the most westerly point of the british mainland.
- It has two light flashes, flashing every 20 seconds.

After leaving the light house, we had lunch and went to a wild life center thing. There we crawled though a fake wildcat tunnel, looked at birds, drank tea and got bitten by a plastic shark.

All in all a very good day!

The next chapter is very short.

A very short Chapter

We are now trying to fill our 2011 season. It is looking good so far, but we still have weeks we want to fill. If you are someone, or know someone, who might like to bring a group to Camas, get in touch!
If you would like to volunteer at Camas, get in touch!
If you are interested in the program worker job at Camas, get in touch!

The end.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


Oh I forgot to mention - we are looking for a new programme worker to join the team next spring, if you are interested go to the iona website and follow the links to staff vacancies.

A weekend with potential new members.....

Sorry this is a bit late our Becky did write a wonderful piece but we managed to loose it! So here is my account of when P Mac brought 7 fun folk to come and experience Camas and think about joining up to the Iona Community...

We started the weekend off with a lovely meal and welcomes on the Friday night (with some extra visitors in the form of my cousin, her hubby and their gorgeous little baby Flynn!) followed by hot chocolates and an early night in preparation for the day ahead.

Saturday was lovely, windy but glorious sunshine, so everyone headed off for a days walk on Erriad, it was beautiful -they had an otter sighting, and one of the guys even went swimming - brrrr!

Sunday was a lovely day, it started well with the announcement of an engagement - congratulations you guys! Followed by discussions, and then an evening of fun in the form of Mafia!

A short but very very sweet weekend, it was a lovely way to have our final bit of time with the volunteers....

Good conversation, fun and a constructive weekend, we hope to see everyone back next year on the new members programme!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Bring a mate week

Hello hello.

This week we were visited by our nearest and dearest - 'Bring a mate week' was a chance for our friends and families to come and visit Camas for the week and see what we've really been getting up to here.

It was a particularly fun-filled week. Everybody got on well together so we were like one strange extended family. There was lots more berry-picking. Josef's friend Calle visited all the way from Sweden to star in the Kayaking competition: two capsizes in one minute. We camped out in the rain and listened to stories around the campfire, we walked backwards off a wall and three people managed to climb back to the top.

Aside from all the activities we got on with keeping Camas in working order. During the mornings we fixed the place up a little, built ourselves a new bench out of scraps and Darragh took his dad along to collect some cow poo for the cob oven. Happy days.

The week finished off with the Camas end of season party, a shindig to celebrate the great season we've had. We prepared a bountiful banquet which was eaten in a beautifully furbished Artroom. Then we had a performance ceilidh around the downstairs stove and finished the night off with a bout of sock-wrestling. Rob and Josef are still caught in a stale-mate.

Thanks to all our guests and visitors for the week and party. If you couldn't make either this year make sure you come along for the next one. It was a blast.

Friday, 24 September 2010

A berry good week

This was a week led by Kathy Galloway called exploring creation. We had a group of lovely people from all over the world and with lots of different experiences. We went blackberry picking in the pouring rain while others enjoyed tea in the polytunnel, a bit of a sore point for some, as well as digging spuds for the tea. This was also a week of trees and their fruit, the plum tree (which has been hidden away until recently) gave us some beautiful plums which we were made into an amazing dessert. The blackthorn produced sloes which we will also find good use for.

We went on a few day trips, to Ardalanish where Aeneas told us the story of the how they became organic weavers and why he thinks his hebredian sheep look handsome and happy and how he talks to ravens! We also went to the tidal island of Erraid and, after lunch and selkie stories at the lighthouse observatory, walked to the seal colony to see if there were any sealskins on the shore.

Our last night was filled with good food, songs, comedy, and wonderful poems about Buddhas and wooden spoons warriors!

Thanks from the Camas staff to all our guests for a really enjoyable week.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

High Five, Scuba Dive!

This week Camas was visited by one of our longest running groups: Abercorn school from Glasgow.
It was a week of high fives (or scuba dives if you weren't quick enough), arm wrestling, cook offs and made you looks.

Everybody had a great time, except Rob who lost out on the Camas Cook Off and was forced to wear a Beard of Shame. Two of the group performed at the Iona Ceilidh and almost everybody had a dance, even though it meant someone lost a bet and now has double work in Spanish.

All in all it was an excellent week and we were sad to see the group leave, but extra sad this week as our three of our volunteers (Rosie, Ros and Jeayeun) left at the same time. Those of you had the pleasure of meeting them will know that they're sorely missed.

Next week we have a group ran by one of the Iona Community's former leaders, Kathy Galloway, along the theme of 'Experiencing Creation'. Stay tuned for the update!

Monday, 6 September 2010

The little week that was

Last week Camas staff scattered far and wide for a well deserved break: Cally and Jy ventured further north to the Isle of Lewis and Rob to the Isle of Skye; Darragh headed over the Irish Sea to visit home; Josef, Emily and Tom went off on a jolly to England's Greenbelt Festival.

Mary, Becky, Rosie and Ros were left behind to defend Camas Bay. Luckily no pirates attacked but we did get a few special visitors.
Becky's sister Rachel came to stay with husband Richard and their wee Ruth - a trio of Rs. Ruthie was a great help in the garden and so was treated to a most luxurious wheelbarrow ride.

Rosie and Ros dedicated themselves to some serious track work. A proper job for the girls. They laid new planks, cut chicken wire and hammered nails with all their might. All that's needed now is to roll out the red carpet and the Camas track will be fit for the queen (she's been cruising around the Isles recently so we hear).

Here's Ros protesting at the terrible working conditions as a Camas volunteer - no tea breaks!

It was a hoot of a week full of work and play and sunny days and starry nights. To top it all off on the final evening we paddled out on the calm, clear and ever so magical water. We were not the only creatures out to play in Camas Bay that night...

Four dolphins came to dance and dance around our kayaks!
Breathtaking really. Here's to Camas Bay and all that dwell here.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Jenga tower Champions

This week a lovely load of Worcester folk visited us for the first time..... here they are ...spelling...Camas
After the kayaking, absailing and general fun of camas life, they too braved a soaking wet night on Iona to have a wild time at the Ceilidh. And their only complaint was it wasn't tough enough.... so we set these hardy girls a new challenge. (sorry boys - you were hardy too, but that's what one of your girls said.)
Filling their backpacks full of heavy bottles of water, trangiers, tents and much insect repellant we set off on a long walk to the most beautiful beach to stay there for the night. They didn't care that they fell in the water, they were on a mission to be the first to use poo creek (you know who you are) they used rocks as stages for air guitar performance and I think they ate midges for breakfast (they didn't seem too keen on porridge anyway.) The surroundings rewarded their glee with the most beautiful sunset and full moon rising, seals in the bay and a night full of stars. They told very silly jokes and stories around the camp fire, gulped down smores and relished the outdoor life.
Striding back to Camas full of life, stories and ideas, we felt they had definitely earned their John Muir award. They set up loads of fun and games for challenge entertainment, which made us have to use our brains to describe 'famous' people who we'd never heard of. Then on to lovely songs around the fire.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Mock the Sheep

From the youngsters of 10 to the practically ancient 23 year olds - the Litchfield crew bounded into Camas life with enthusiasm, joy and a sense of togetherness and had us rolling in the isles with their look back on mock the week - i mean sheep!
All 23 of them bonded together like a massive family, and the groups that I joined in with were as happy to paint giant caterpillars on the garden bench as to go kayaking.
They enjoyed chatting together and discussing what was growing in the polly-tunnel. They leapt up the abseiling wall in their magic climbing shoes with strength and determination that saw 3 of them reach the top! - 3 cheers!!!!! And several dived capsized and generally splashed around whilst others managed to stay in kayaks long enough to win at seaweed tag and dodge around Darrah in British Bull Dog.
When the sun shone the Litchfielders could be seen playing cricket and other games of their own devising (I never understood the rules) on the lawn.
When it rained - we went to Iona. More cheers for the coragious crack team of 'elders' - so wise!- who put up Ursula, Graham and the other sensibly named tents whilst a storm blew all around. The rest of the group certainly seemed to appreciate it when they too arrived all of a bidraggle and could get changed for dinner at the abbey, service and of course the ceilidh.
I loved the write up the group gave of being spun in a dance your feet somehow knew, in a village hall packed with smiling people, most of whom we all managed to bump into, dance with or tread on their toes and all of whom enjoyed your renditions of 'Cecil the caterpillar.'
A highlight for us staff is Camas challenge where we get to see what Camas is like when the group make it your own. I have to say it was a bit scary that your entertainments team seemed to know the inner workings of our mind when you gave the alternative tour (apparently we don't want you to eat our digestive biscuits as we GREW them ourselves!) But the lovely food, and thoughtful reflection, the dancing, singing, Viki Pollards and circus skills made up for the derision we received in mock the week team (thanks guys).
Well done Litchfield for all your fundraising, and epic travel including double booked trains and negotiating Bowmans coaches - I hope you returned feeling as full of smiles and fun as you were here -Camas misses you and can't wait to see you all again next year!

-Rosie x

This week we were lucky enough to be joined by possibly our most dedicated serial visitors!
Traveling all the way up here from the
mock the sheep
witty banter around the fire
scout songs - little boys
know all the camping/kayaking/raft building

Thursday, 12 August 2010

I love Norway...I love Norway!!!

Hello, all you Camas fans!

This week we have had an older group of young people, ages 15-20, visiting us all the way from Harstad in north Norway. Two things made us quite excited about was, you know, they have the midnight sun during summer months, which is great. however, from late November to mid January they also a period with twilight a few hours each night of course that is because the sun just dips below the horizon. Can you imagine living in the darkness all day? So they go to school and stay there when it is just dusk around noon, and come home when it is already dark. The second exciting thing is Harstad is placed in the northern light zone. So, in a clear day over winter, they fully enjoy the aurora. Well, you gain something and lose something else. (I personally want to go there over winter time when there is no sun during the day. Who knows my Mr. Hyde might come up and play with me!!!!)

I believe that this group had brought the sunny bright weather all the way to the camas with them. Camas typical activities went very well thanks for the beautiful weather. Kayaking, abseiling, walking to the Trig Point, taking a boat trip to Staffa, camping on the Mac lawn, joining evening service for peace, Ceilidh, pilgrimage on Iona, doing a treasure hunt (with edible treasure, of course), going to Market Bay, a lot of games-shark attack, shipwreck-which is my favorite, Norwegian rope game, bustered and 'mafia' of course. We had a lot of laughs and fun throughout the week.

Finally, according to the tradition, we let these guys take over Camas for their last evening here. Some decorated our dining room with flowers and flowery napkins on each table, some occupied our kitchen for the evening meal - they served Norwegian version of Mexican food. Even thinking of that food, you know what? mince was absolutely fabulous. oh, yeah alternative one was also fantastic. Whatever our guests cook for us on Thursday evening never disappoints us. It always hits the spot. Thank you all!!!

Another precious week has passed by like that. We all believe the community and friendship we had built for this week will last long in our memories and will fill us bright smiles and warmth throughout our lives forever!!!

'Bugaloo, bu-bu-galoo, bu! funky chicken, fun-funky chicken hoo!, Frankenstein, f-Frankenstein woo!, Dracula, d-dracula, woo!, barbie girl, ba-babie girl, oh!'

From Big Members to smaller Members...

Hi there everyone, sorry we haven't written any updates lately....I guess we have just been having too much fun! Nearly three weeks ago, we had....


I have the honor of telling you all about New Members week, and what it is. The new members who came here are people who are on a two year course to becoming official members of the Iona community. So, every summer they have as many new members as possible come on out to Camas to do some maintenance work, build relationships, tidy these old buildings up, and have a regular good ole' time! The reason the Iona Community does this with their new members is because George Macleod had a firm belief that building relationships and working along side people in a common task who you might not normally interact with is vital to building one's character and faith, so naturally the Iona Community continues this tradition by making their new members our slaves for a week.

So naturally, we put these guys to work!!! So here's a list of everything these guys did: Some of the ladies spent HOURS making mountains of new pillows and cushions for our common room, a group of people repainted the common room and kitchen, a load of rubbish was gotten rid of which was laboriously driven to two hours to the tip (Garbage Center) in Tobermory (only, it did take the men quite a bit of time to get back, there is rumor of a fish and chip stop...) Anyway, there was loads of track maintenance, tons more of repainting, the chapel of the nets was totally cleaned out, all the windows were washed (inside and out), lots of help cooking, a massive amount of Pete cutting, a fire pit was rebuilt, lots of work was done in the garden, and lots of wheelbarrow runs for food and fire wood. Then we sent everyone away....

Not Really! We had tons of fun too. We went ab sailing, hill walking, kayaking, and the best bit was on the last day when all of our slaves made us dinner. Oh my goodness, it was amazing, and they even served ''sea biscuits'' at the end of the meal. ( It was shortbread shaped into sea creatures) They did a lovely reflection for us, and then my favorite part of the evening was when they decided to entertain us with 'Camas has got Talent'. There were loads of performances from singing, to skits, to accordion playing, to lots of jokes (I cannot say whether or no they were good-sorry Mark), and the final act of the evening was my personal favorite, and that was when my dear friend Rosiadh from the Isle of Skye busted out her bagpipes and played us all a few reels to the roaring applause of a happily knackered team. And then we bid them a very fond farewell... Thanks for all your help team!

Oh, yeah, before I forget-Whales-There were Killer Whales in our bay that week. Cool, ay?
Now, it is time to transition to the smaller, but not less important community members...


So, after all of our amazing Community Members left us in ship shape order, they sent their kids on over while they had a retreat week on Iona. Now, these guys were AWESOME! And so much fun! We did all sorts of fun things with these guys...We did the typical ab sailing, kayaking, raft building, hill walking, etc. But these guys also went WILD camping on the Camas lawn, and then we played man hunt (which is a glorified way to play hide and go seek, actually it is the best way to play hide and go seek). We also took a trip to Market Bay which was like non other I have ever been on!

First, I cannot forget to mention, we had a visiting staff member that week by the name of a Mr. Adam Smalls, and I partly blame him for this, but while at the beach, for the first time in Camas history since I have been here, we had a massive wrestling match, and it was guys vs. gals! And let me say this...boy was it close. Some of the kids had Tom by the legs and wouldn't let him go! We had a big rope circle around us and the deal was you had to push all the opposing team out of the circle, and it was best two out of three. And I think, if I am right, that the girls ended up winning! But we all expected that anyway,right? We also had a huge jelly fish war on the beach; seeing as there were hundreds of dead jellies just waiting there for us, we thought what better thing could be done than to throw jelly fishes at everyone! It was great!

We really like those Community Kids and we look forward to having them back for more fun next year!

That's all for now folks!
Peace out, from that crazy American

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The German Group Who Broke My Head

This is a very delayed account of a visit by a group from Germany. They taught us some pretty spectacular games (that are now being tested on other groups) and helped Josef and I perfect our already fantastic German language skills: "Ich bin die Karrote."

The best part of my week was during the raft-building. I helped construct one of the rafts, which promptly fell apart when it hit the water. Unfortunately this was seen to be my fault (it mostly was) and i received an accidental barrel to the face as punishment. However, I now have an extremely cool scar above my right eyebrow; thanks guys!

All in all we had a lot of fun. The group were definitely a pod of dolphins and we were sorry to see them go. Come back next year!


P.S. send us your photos.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Day We Didn't Go to the Bunessan Show

The Bunessan Show is the annual showcase of all things agricultural, horticultural and crafty on Mull. It is a eagerly anticipated event and taken very seriously by all who compete. The vegetables are polished, the ducks are groomed and the cakes are guarded by high level security. It promised to be a grand day out. But, the morning came and it rained the proverbial buckets and, after a very wet walk up the track to see off the Community Kids, we decided with a little regret that we were just too soggy to go. What to do with a basketful of home grown veg, a dozen would-be-prizewinning eggs, an exceptional sultana loaf, and Mary's hand-rolled chocolate truffles? We had a fine lunch that day, let me tell you! We unanimously awarded ourselves 'Best No Show' in all significant categories*.

Jeayeun won the truffle eating competition hands down.

* The award of the judges will be final. The committee will decide on all other matters and their decision will be final. Protests must be in writing and must be in the Secretary's (read Camas Co-Ordinator's) hands within a week of from the date of the Show.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

3rd - 9th July Two Youth Groups from Glasgow

Hello All,

So as mentioned in that earlier post, we forgot to tell you about the 2 groups who came to stay from Glasgow. The two groups are in neighbouring areas, and were looking for a place to come hang out, have some fun, get to know each other better and experience life here at Camas. Started off with really bad weather, but the group Loved SHark attack and the tower game (CAmas Classics!).
The rain eventually passed and we were able to get out abseiling, and doing our usual stuff, 'pirates of the Hebridien' and the raft building Challenge. I particularly enjoyed the Raft building as the girls team we triumphant with their brilliant creation - yeah go girls!! The boys however did swim across the bay - these guys were crazy, out in the freezing cold sea at any opportunity brrrrr!
We had an excellent week, the highlights for me were hearing some of the guys and gals singing accapella - truly beautiful and some future stars for x factor i am sure! and the Camas challenge meal on the Thursday night - for those of you that don't know, on the last night we challenge guests to run Camas for the night, cooking food, entertainment, decorations and leading reflection. It was Brilliant, peperoni Pizza and Wedges followed by Delicious chocolate Cake Yummy!
Anyway hopefully these guys will come back next year and we can get over to Glasgow this winter to catch up with them all...
Whilst here they made a little movie of some of the things they did - check it out on the link below.

Back soon with more news... MaryXX

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Sorry Glasgow people!!

Just a quick hello because it's been quite rightly pointed out that we missed mentioning our group from Glasgow in between the two lots of Americans! We got a bit behind on blog updating for a while. Anyway, they've sent us a brilliant film of their time here so hopefully this will make up for it. Have a look at this link: Enjoy!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Becky's pie

Hi to you all again,

Okay, so I had to make a separate post to celebrate a new discovery! Becky our gardener, (actually she is more like a goddess, but I will get to that later) has been harvesting the black and red currents from our garden like no body's business. Where I live there aren't many currents to speak of, so I have not eaten them hardly at all before. But then, heaven opened, and a glorious thing happened.

Becky made pie!!! Not just any pie-no,no,no...She made apple and fresh current pie, and holy smokes it was sssooo good! I need to apologize to my mother as this pie was better than any I had ever tasted. At the first bite, my taste buds sung with the pure bliss of all that sweet berry goodness; It was a party in my mouth that I never wanted to end. I have never wanted to eat, and re-eat desert so much; you can guess that I was definitely hording the left overs of that pie for the next few days, and it never waned, never failed to wow me!

Now, Becky is off on holiday, and there is no more apple black and red current pie, but it's memory will live on because I have tasted the best darn pie that the world has ever had!!! And even though, that pie is no more, Becky has also seen fit to make black current jam. I sneak into the kitchen in the morning to eat some because I dream of it at night. Becky is one of the reasons Camas is such an amazing place to be, and if you don't believe me come on down and try some jam, or better yet ask her to make you a pie, and you will never be the same! I know I most certainly won't!
Bye for now,

Yee-ha from Texas!!!

Hello there all you Camas fans!

Sorry it has been so long since our last update; It has definitely been a wild ride to say the least. We had a youth group from Texas here last week, and we had loads of fun! I personally loved having some Americans around as they understood my random sense of humor. Let's see-We took these guys to the Ceilidh dance on Iona, we went Ab sailing, we went to Market Bay, hiked up to trig point, and we kayaked, but can I say my favorite bite was on the Thursday evening during our Camas Challenge. (for those of you who don't know, this is when we let our guest take over Camas for the evening, and this means they are in charge of decorations, dinner, entertainment, and our evening reflection)

So, for Camas Challenge these Texans made us some brilliant stir fry, and decorated the common room nice and proper. They also put on a lovely reflection, and even awarded us with a special labyrinth plate from Texas. Then, this is the best bit they taught us to two step to some country music, how to do some other group dances, and even wowed us all with some brilliant performances. One very cool chap did a stand up comedy act that was hilarious, we had a pair of lovely twin girls who sang a beautiful country song duet together, and then my team-the entertainment team-did a skit. To those of you familiar with the old Saturday Night Live skits this will be familiar to you. We did a rendetion of the old 'Van down by the river' skit, only it was way funnier! Even the Camas staff got a good laugh out of it, so I think my American sense of humor is beginning to rub off.

These guys were such a fun group, and so what we needed as they were so chilled out! They even left us Texas honey which we are still nibbling on. We bade them a very fond farewell with lots 'of yehaa's' and 'y'all come back now, you here!'

Now, we are far in to this week, and we have a fabulous group from Berlin. It's been such fun learning about their culture and language. They are top notch ab sailers and just now they are building rafts to race across the bay. They have also taught us this brilliant game called 'Busted', it is difficult to explain, and we are still in the middle of it, so we will be sure to fill you in on how it goes! Well, that's it for now. The weather is so brilliant today; It actually feels like summer, and it is a marvelous day to live in Scotland, of course, what day isn't?
Cheers yo!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

A week before the 4th of July we had our first American group of the year. A group of young people from Connecticut joined us for yet another brilliant week down the track. We all took part in our usual activities: Walking backwards down the quarry wall like James Bond, building a raft and sailing it across the bay and not really according to plan having a Titanic moment when it all fell apart in the water (I wont let you go Jack! blubb-blubb-blubb), and a walk to Market bay on on of the more sunny days of the week. This week we also took the group over to Iona. Danced like crazy people at the Ceilidh (did the fruit salad like it's never been done before), and the group went on the Iona pilgrimage.
Another game has been added to the Camas repertoire this week. Without this fantastic week we would not have been introduced to the equally fantastic game of blob-tag. So thank you very much American friends! Apart from that we also kept going with the most amazing game in the history of pretty much everything: Shark Attack!

All in all, a very successful week at Camas, and right now we are preparing for a new group wandering down the track in a couple of hours...

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Hi everyone, this week we had a group from Penicuik High School. These guys arrived after having just finished up their exams at school and so were really looking forward to getting away from it all for a week at Camas. On Sunday morning we all walked over to Market Bay for some games and art on the beach. Later in the afternoon we did some gardening and started to make some cob for our outdoors oven. Cob's made by mixing sand and clay together and we found the best way was to use our bare feet and dance, twist, shake, and boogey on top of it. We also found that coating our faces in clay protects us from the midgees (sort of at least). The only way to wash it off way of course was to take a swim in the sea (remember there's been Basking Sharks swimming in that water!!). We painted stones in the art room and made some very colourful rock pets.

Then on Monday it was off to Iona. After walking all the way to Fionnphort, the teachers generously bought us all an ice-cream and we sat down on the grass in the old nunnery. In the afternoon we headed down to Sandeel Beach and relaxed in the sun for while
(ah, life is good!). These places are so beautiful that we wanted to do our bit to keep them clean and so we picked up flotsam and jetsam as we walked back towards the Abbey. That night we ceilidh'ed in the village hall, everyone was up ag damhsa (that means dancing!). There was also a group of young Swedes there who showed us the flipping freaky frog dance!

We came back to Camas on Tuesday after our night's camping. Then there was raft building and racing and falling apart and getting wet! We also went abseiling down the quarry wall which caused a few nervous moments and some shakey legs but everyone gave it a go and did their best. We did a bit of kayaking in the bay and capsizing.

One thing the group were keen to try out this week was to experience some solo time. As John Muir says "only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness". So this was some time to be by ourselves and let go of all the usual everyday busyness.

Thursday night was Camas challenge night and our group served up some delicious spicy Mexican food... mucho gracious! We also had a lovely reflection where everyone shared what they enjoyed most about the trip and their high points. It was really great to hear that everyone enjoyed themselves so much and that they felt like they had got to know each other better and formed friendships. During evening entertainment we did comedic arobics and an amazing game of sharks versus lifeguards under the kite.

We were sad to see everyone go but we hope to see you again sometime!!

Pictures to follow shortly!

Saturday, 19 June 2010


Hello, everyone. This week we had another John Muir Award-which is an environmental Award scheme focused on wild places- week with amazing youths from Glasgow. I think basking sharks know how wonderful young men they are! Just like last week, a basking shark came very close to us in our bay and welcomed them by circling around joyfully and elegantly for quite a while. Most of them hadn't seen them before and we gazed in awe at the massive sea creature!

We went kayaking, abseiling, raft building, and market bay playing football. Yes, we went to Iona and camped on the Mac lawn and then went to the Ceilidh at the village hall on Iona. Initially our young lads hesitated to join the dancing, however once they stood in the circle they thouroughly enjoyed it. We could see a big bright smile on each one of their faces. They are indeed very good dancers! Two of camas members and one of leaders also entertained people in the hall by singing some songs. We had a great fun.

On wednesday we went fishing further north-west Iona. We moved here and there to catch fish. Each of us caught many fish but many of them were quite small, hence soon as we had those young fish we released them. We've got a gurnard, a mackerel, and many pollocks and appreciated them at dinner.
On thursday we had quite warm and pleasant weather, which enables the lads to do raft building. Though they looked quite firm and strong, when the leader's raft got stuck on the seaweed, it fell apart and they fell into the sea! We burst into laughter. Then they took over Camas for the evening doing 'Camas Challenge'. Some decorated the common room, some cooked for dinner and others prepared entertainment and evening reflection. The common room made us feel homey, the meal was absolutely fantastic!!! After well fed, we played lots of games such as table tennis matches, wheelbarrow driving with eyes blindfolded, rolling a ball into the circle, dropping pebbles into a narrow necked bottle, tug-of-war, and football penalty kicks.
After early morning breakfast on friday, we headed to the top of the track having a final reflection. We shared how our week was to each of us by throwing a ball of wool in turn to another person making a web. As a piece of the web remains around each of our hands, so those wonderful memories at camas will stay in our heart throughout our lives.

Saturday, 12 June 2010


Hello there all you Camas Fans,

This week we had an incredible group of young men from Glasgow come and stay with us. The week was full of tons of activities, and Basking Sharks! We went out sea fishing with some of the boys and on the way we had basking sharks come right up to the boat with their huge fins and humongous mouths; we all watched in awe as we could literally almost reach out and touch these wale sized sharks! (And yes they are the 2nd largest sharks in the world-at least that's what Rob says, and he is always right! :)) We even had sharks in our bay, and they even came pretty close in towards the buildings; the lads from Glasgow and the rest of us loved it! Oh, and did I mention that we all caught loads of fish, and some of us even learned how to gut and clean them!

So, we went ab sailing, kayaking,hill walking to trig point and market bay, lots of football playing, swimming ( and those boys were amazing at swimming as they swam in the freezing bay at night without wet suits-they are definitely Scottish, and no mistake!) We went camping twice. Firstly, we took the boys over to Iona and camped on the Mac lawn, and then we went to the Ceilidh dance at the local village hall on Iona. Those boys definitely know how to dance! Then, they went wild camping near Terraragain at a beautiful beach, and the weather was definitely perfect for it!

Then, These young lads decided to do the Camas Challenge which means that they take over Camas for the evening and they are in charge of decorating, cooking, entertainment, and reflection. We played loads of games, like football and ultimate frisbee, with their group going against Camas, and it was a close shot, sort of, but in the end those young men won the trophy. (we put up a good fight though) As we say in basketball at home, 'Man, they got game!' They also cooked us dinner that night, using the local fish we caught, and it was delicious! And this next week we are going to have another group of lads from the same place in Glasgow-hopefully they can cook as good as those guys!

Finally, one of their leaders let me, Cally, paint a treasure map on his head-It's kind of a dream of mine, I mean I have always wanted to see a bald man with a treasure map on his head, and well, I guess Camas is just the kind of place where dreams come true! Until next week, peace out to all you Camas fans out there!


Thursday, 3 June 2010

Ardalanish beach, Sustainable living participants enjoying a seminar in the sunshine, and we borrowed a yurt for the season - thanks Robin!

Captain Planet and the Planeteers

This week was very exciting for us newest volunteers, as we hiked to the top of the track and had a moment to relax in our upturned wheelbarrows before welcoming our first group of guests.

They were a crew of folk some from as far away as Australia, some from as far away as Bunessan, and all with an interest in sustainable living and discussing how we can reduce our carbon footprint. The group had come armed with data on how much energy they had used over the previous months, and looked into transport, home, food and consumerables, to see which area had the biggest carbon impact. We then discussed ways of reducing this to 1 tonne per year in each area. It was amazing to find how much energy is used in producing some branded organic tomato ketchup, or how much you could save by checking your electricity use and turning off everything that wasn't needed!

We gained inspiration and advice when going to visit the local eco croft and Ardalnesh farm. The beautiful beach at Ardalnish was perfect for sauntering with our icecreams, and spotting all the wildlife, flowers, and native woodland, which we were told grew back naturally now that the land was farmed less intensively.
There are so many people around here who have put in alot of work to set up their own wind turbines and more sustainable ways of heating, insulating and looking after their homes. It was great to share ideas in the village hall and have guests over for dinner on our last night.

Our little baby guest learnt lots too, mainly that she can charm us all,even if Joseph was her favorite (I think it was the cat in the hat hat he constantly wears what did it) and porridge in the mornings is good. Yum.

For those of you who remember and love my favorite kids cartoon and theme of the week - Captain Planet - 'The power is Yours'

Thursday, 27 May 2010