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'