Monday, 8 August 2011

Royston came to Camas, and this is a belated story about it....

Sometime in July the Royston youth group came to visit Camas for a week. It has been a dizzying sort of Summer and somewhere along the way the person who was supposed to write about the event (myself) forgot all about it. Nevertheless, after some prodding in the right direction there is a laptop in front of me and I find myself remembering what a great week it was, and it's a great pleasure to write about it.

When everyone arrived it was still quite early in the day and we did the Camas tour and got everyone familiar with the place, then there was a mass expedition to the islands to search for as many aquatic creatures as possible. Standing a little off in the distance I was thoroughly impressed by a resourcefulness and enthusiasm that I couldn't have expected. There were gathered as many devices as possible to turn over rocks and discover what was living underneath them, and with brilliant creatures were, well, discovered. A crab, some minnows, and what might have been crayfish... my memory is a little foggy. I was impressed. I think we all were.

Everyone settled in quite well. Our not too great understanding of Glasgow lingo and the liveliness of everyone weren't all that easy alongside each other but the day started off with a bang regardless.

The following day we had a morning of shelter building out beside the Camas garden. The group leaders and the group itself split into two groups with interesting results. The leaders' shelter was a highly efficient emergency shelter built close to the ground and built in the shape of a triangle to stop wild animals like wolves and badgers from getting in. To try it out we all got inside, about eighteen of us altogether, and had a bit of trouble getting out! It was safe but not really the best place to have a cup of tea without spilling it on someone.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group had built a high ceilinged, spacious- and furnished!- shelter which, although a little exposed and all the rest, was perfect for cups of tea. With seating for more than ten it was ideal for picnics and maybe the two went well together: one shelter for when the wolves are around, and one for when they've gotten tired. It was all in all a good morning to be out in the garden making things out of sticks and twigs.

The group left for Iona, where the rest of the Iona community lives, later in the afternoon after a spot of lunch and we had a good deal lugging around the Camas tents but managed our way up the track in the end. We hopped on the ferry after a short drive and bobbed towards the island, where we regrouped to get ice creams from the shop. We followed the road up to the Iona camp site and relaxed for a while. We played some frisbee with a roaming dog that must have belonged to the campsite owner, but soon after discovering a dead frisbee which was chewed up and not really a frisbee anymore I quickly hid it in a more secure spot. Camas has had too much bother with frisbees, I thought to myself.

Then we got out the camp stoves to make a bit of dinner. It took a while but we all managed to eat something in the end. We left to make a visit to the Abbey and we were treated to the "Adam Small tour", filled with spooky stories and mysterious tales. We got inside the Abbey and ,though we were all a little restless, it was a good tour all in all. We then left to go to the weekly Ceilidh at the village hall, and though we almost didn't go, we did and we had a good time all in all. Nothing like a Ceilidh really. There was a good feeling in the air at the end of the night and we all tucked into our respective tents after a suprisingly long evening reflection. It was quite windy but at least the tents were still all in the same spot at the end of the night.

The rest of the week was just as exciting over at Camas and we had some competitve swimming and raft races, abseiling and kayaking, and a lot of getting-to-know-yous, and getting along quite swimmingly. One of the leaders had a birthday after the Iona trip and we had some delicious chocolate cake- two as a matter of fact.

The most exciting time of the week, I would say, was the Thursday Camas challenge where we handed Camas over to the group. A delicious dinner followed and then some extraordinary entertainments with Royston's own "Has Camas Got Talent" variety show. There were flutes fluting, guitars strumming, and ukuleles plinking, and there were some jokes told and some pretty eccentric performances including an unlikely meeting between William tell and a tiger that walked on its hind legs. There was much merriment and dancing and that evening of colour and liveliness still lingers in all of our memories.

It was sad to see everyone leave but there is always next year and then the year after. We shall miss everyone but thanks for the memories.