Thursday, 5 December 2013

Stormy days at Camas

As winter closes in around us, the days on the Isle of Mull become colder, wilder and windier. Today however seems to be the coldest, wildest and windiest we have seen all year. It also happens to be the day we are expecting 5 interviewees to arrive down the track.

This week we have been preparing for interviews to fill the 2 resident posts that have been advertised. Because of this we have all been keeping a close eye on the weather, wanting to make sure our 5 hopefuls will be able to make it over on the Cal Mac ferry from Oban. The report stated wind would be gusting up to 76mph with a steady 40/50mph throughout the day. Not to forget a little bit of hail and snow thrown into the mix. Not usually conducive with ferry’s running to schedule. However the wind was due to drop a little by 4pm so we have remained optimistic during the day. We are still waiting in anticipation for the arrival of 1 out of 5. The others, unfortunately due to wild weather all over Scotland have had postpone arrival until tomorrow.

Needless to say, trying to concentrate on tasks to do around Camas today while all the hoo haa of who’s going to make it and what’s going to fly away next has been going on has been very difficult. The storminess arrived during the night and kept the majority of the crew here awake. In bed I thought I could hear tiles flying of the roof above me. Turns out that wasn’t the case. What I may have been able to hear was:

1.      Wheel barrows flying towards the sea (no wheel barrows harmed)
2.      Tiles coming off the roof of the other building
3.      The peat stack vacating its usual residence
4.      The orange boat moving a few meters to the left (on top of Lizzy’z kayak!!)
5.      2 sheds moving off their platforms
6.      The door coming off the chicken pen
7.      Saddest of them all Jon’s canoe heading down the gully towards the salt marsh (it has not survived its escapade).

However there is a silver lining! Due to this stormy night aligning with a spring tide there were large amounts of sea weed left on the lawn this morning. Perfect for being scooped up and wheel barrowed to a beautifully cleared lazy bed in need of some sea weed. Thanks to Elaine (our helpful guest this week) bed number 7 has been weeded and but to sleep for the winter.

So, although concentration levels have not been high, with all the mending and moving of flying things it has been a relatively productive day.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Sustain Yourself

I can’t let this new addition to our programme…. A week of…. Sustaining yourself. Go by without comment! It was so well enjoyed by everyone who came!  A new kind of week, maybe and really exciting for all of us because it had visitors booking in from all different youth groups, and some who’d never been to Camas before. It was amazing that in one short week – everyone had got to know each other so well, and looking back we’d done so much!
Each day started by visiting a quiet place around Camas, and then going into a reflection (of course) and activities. We extended the kayaking to right out in the bay (visiting the mysterious Jarassic Park cove….. ok not all of our wildlife and geological facts were strictly scientific) but finding out lots about lichens, seaweed – true bits- too. We planned and enjoyed a beautiful walk and wild Camp at Tireragan. We designed and voyaged the ENORMAraft.

Contemplating the task ahead....
Someone needs to be rescued......
And We are the ones to do it....Together...

But..... someone seems to be sabotaging the effort to stay dry.....who rocked the boat?
Which everyone wanted to crew, but no one wanted to paddle… what was going on there? At least the fair maiden on the shore by the … explosives house eventually got rescued and brought back to safety. There was also Cooking (with chili’s), dance movement, yoga, an afternoon of poetry…… 


I definitely noticed people being so tired out that they were asleep on the common room sofa, and people enjoying it so much that they came back again… to volunteer their work for Garden week.

Some comments as you left  (lifted from a facebook conversation…where else?!)
On our way back home, wish we could of stayed at camas had a fab week didn't want to come home!  
Had an absolutely smashing week guys, thanks x
Got back safe after another amazing week, you truly do know how to make camas feel like home to all. Thank You,  already planning on volunteering for next year.
What a success! Thank You to everyone for getting on so well with each other and joining with such style.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Community Kids

Another year where the Community kids came to Camas. They felt at home and had a lot of fun, rediscovering the place, playing their favourite games and doing their favourite activities.

The kids also taught us some new things. One was how to weave bracelets, another how to play Irish snap - a card game all of us enjoyed.

Photo: The Iona Community Kids Week is off to a great start...lot's of fun, laughs, and personal achievements! The group is on their way to Ardalanish Beach to have lunch, play games, and explore. What fun to be at Camas for the week : )
Unfortunately we couldn't go camping at Market Bay this week because the weather didn't let us. Instead we camped on the lawn outside the Camas cottages. After a camp dinner, we had damperbread. You prepare damper bread by rolling it out. Then you take a stick, wrap the dough around one end and bake the bread in your campfire. Usually you can get sweet or salty dough. This time some of the kids and James had fun in the kitchen adding spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla to different batches of dough. To be able to recognise which one you were eating they also dyed the dough purple/red, green and blue.

And they lived happily ever after. See you next year...

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Storm and lightning

This week GK Experience came to Camas. Some of the kids had already been on expedition with Avril and were glad to see her again.

During their stay here at Camas, we had some mad weather!

During one of the kayak sessions it started to thunder. This made the atmosphere quite exciting. We continued even when it started to rain. We were wet anyway... It was a quite spooky session on the water. Towards the end there were flashes of lightning. That's when we made our way back to the shore.

While the kayakers just got wet in their already wet wetsuits, the climbers were trying to stay dry in the group-shelter. Probably the very first time that it had to be used. They played games and had hot chocolate while waiting for the rain to die down.

Another highlight of the week was the camping trip.
When Jon took the boat back to Camas, he was suddenly surrounded by dolphins. Later in the evening, we went up on a little outcrop and watched the sunset. Just then the dolphins reappeared and jumped into the sunset.

We also went on a short trip to Iona just to go to the ceilidh. During the boa ttrip (on Mark Jardin's boat) one of the leaders entertained us with campfire songs.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Gorbals!

20th-27th July

Our Camas community this week was made up of sparky young folks from the Gorbals, Glasgow, accompanied by two lovely youth leaders.  

The mid week camp at Market Bay was lots of fun, with otter and porpoise sightings, edge of the world chats and stories around the camp fire.  The camp meal of baked potatoes and baked beans was particularly tasty.  

Another day, we shared an amusing reflection sitting together around a little fire in the newly built Round House at the top of the garden.  We talked about what was important in shelter, and what our needs were as human beings, and then shared the key features in our imagined ideal homes.  I look forward to visiting!  

The new polytunnel was in its prime, with lots to water, pick, and marvel over.  The week came almost to a close with Camas challenge on Thursday night.  The cooking was a breeze, with two young pros handling everything very calmly.  The entertainment drew a lot of laughs, with a comedy sketch, wise words from the future, singing and spooky story-telling.  

 The last evening together was Friday, with more kayaking, dolphins and a relaxed family dinner.  A great week!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Animal onesies at Camas

Recently at Camas we welcomed a fantastic group from the Provanmill/Blackhill area of Glasgow.

The group made their once a year journey to Camas, so many of the young people and leaders had been before and where very excited to be back, when they arrived at the top of the Camas track.  As soon as the group arrived they changed straight into their impressive assortment of animal onesies.

As the group had been before they had already achieved the first level of the John Muir Award.  So this time they aimed to progress and take on the Explorer part of the award.   This is a more challenging award to achieve but the group had already been working hard in Glasgow by organising litter picks in their local park. 

This award linked in with the nature walks done on their first day at Camas where the group walked to Trig Point on a damp and foggy day.  The walk was really enjoyable but we nearly lost 2 of the group to the Bogness Monster!!! as they went  waist deep into the bog. Another great moment was with one young person standing on the hill shouting famous lines from Braveheart!  
We even camped on Iona and went to the Monday night ceilidh.  The group arrived in their assortment of onesies that included a zebra, tiger, monkey, giraffe and gorilla all dancing away to Strip the Willow in the Iona Village Hall.

Activities this week included wide games, with an epic session of Capture the Flag and Sniper.  Each team had to design a flag and a chant that would strike fear in the heart of the opposition!
Some of the group had heard horror stories of the food at Camas and came armed and ready with hefty selection of pot noodles to keep hunger at bay.  However I’m pleased to say that the group learned to love the food at Camas and for the American themed Camas challenge they cooked Burgers and Chips. Mmmmm!

This 4thof July, for the Camas challenge we celebrated Independence Day which was very special for our American volunteer Kelly.  One heart-warming moment was when the group closed the meal and one of the young lads stood up on his chair, at the dinner table and sang all verses of the American national anthem to Kelly.

Saturday, 29 June 2013


This week we had a multicultural mix at Camas, attempting to build a roundhouse. There was some serious work done and as you can see, it looks phenomenal!

Of course there were also the usual Camas activities involved. The songs, composed in Thursday morning reflection outline the week quite nicely:

TEAM MONOCLES: (to the tune of 'We will rock you')
We will, we will wash you
Standing in a line
cleaning up the dinnertime
Gotta make sure all the dishes shine
Got bread on your plate
Clean is its fate
Monocles are here with Westminster and Cre8
Monocles we roll
Cleaning up the toilet bowl
Got those germs under control on the Isle of Mull
Sweep up the room
With a great big broom
Gotta do it fast cause activities are soon

TEAM POLOS (to the tune of 'Summer nights'):
Girls: Here at Camas we have no hot water.
Boys: Here at Camas it keeps getting hotter.
Girls: I went for a shower it was but a trickle.
Boys: Hot water here! You smell of pickle.
Summer days here at Camas
but the girls they all smell of lettuce.
(Oh well-a well-a well-a uh!)
Girls: Tell me more, tell me more is it as cold as the sea?
Boys: Tell me more, tell me more it’s as warm as my pee.
Camas days drifting away.
Girls: If only we had some hot showers!
(to the tune of the ‘cup song’)

I got a ticket for a long plane ride
2 pairs of wool socks for the way
And I sure have found some good company
I’m leavin tomorrow, whish I could stay:
When I’m gone, when I’m gone. I’m gonna miss it when I’m gone. And I’m sure I had some sweet company, I’m leavin tomorrow whish I could stay.
There’s a centaur and a gnome
down the well there was a comb
buried Eric in the sand
and the kayaking was grand
Lots of midges, lots of rain
I still wanna come again
We went swimming ‘stead of sleep
scared the heck out of some sheep
- and I’m leaving tomorrow, wish I could stay

(to the tune of 'Mary's got a little lamb')
We met each other a week ago, week ago, week ago
We met each other a week ago
And we became the doughnuts.
Kristen has long legs, long legs, long legs
Kristen has long legs
The longest I’ve ever seen
Maddy has a fear of dirt, fear of dirt, fear of dirt
Maddy has a fear of dirt
She showers twice a day
David is the sprinkle boy, sprinkle boy, sprinkle boy
David is the sprinkle boy
He always eats his meat
Jakey is our safety man, safety man, safety man
Jakey is our safety man
And he saves all our lives
Georgie is the bog monster, bog monster, bog monster
Georgie is the bog monster
And fell waist deep in mud
Abby likes her morning swim, morning swim, morning swim
Abby likes her morning swim
You can hear her miles around
Nick is our sleepy one, sleepy one, sleepy one
Nick is our sleepy one
He’s always in his bed
Grace is our Mrs. Strong, Mrs. Strong, Mrs. Strong
Grace is our Mrs. Strong
She cart wheeled through the abbey.
James is our princess, princess, princess
James is our princess
He capsized in the sea
Avril has a special friend, friend, friend
Avril has a special friend
He is Jim the gnome

(to the tune of 'yellow submarine')
In the town where I was born
lived a man who sailed to sea,
and he told us of his life
In the rainy Camas bay
So we paddled to the pier
till we found a pile of rocks
we stacked them up really high
in our lovely Camas bay
We all live in rainy Camas bay, rainy Camas bay, rainy Camas bay
We all live in rainy Camas bay, rainy Camas bay, rainy Camas bay
And our friends come down the track
many more of the m live next dorm
and the anchor begins to ring
As we live a life of ease
Every one of us has all we need
Sky of blue and sea of green
In our lovely Camas bay
We all live in rainy Camas bay, rainy Camas bay, rainy Camas bay
We all live in rainy Camas bay, rainy Camas bay, rainy Camas bay