Journey to the North - Part 1

>>  Saturday, July 17, 2021

It's been a while - sorry! 

You might remember I did my Discovery Award Bronze, I'm not sure I told you I'd finished and received my Discovery Award Silver, although I did write up in 3 parts a Journey to the Sea which was a project I did for it.  I have started on my Gold and this also needs to include a Journey.  With a window of opportunity of an easing of restrictions and a double vaccinated self I decided to do this in the real world!

My family roots are in Lancashire and it is an area that I always feel a sense of coming home in, so I contacted the Guiding Activity Centre in Lancashire and asked if I could spend some time volunteering there. With all large events cancelled, their need for volunteers is much dimished but after explaining I was needing a journey for my award they agreed to have me.  And with this in mind, I was determined to give them every inch I could, to prove my worth.

 I travelled up alone on the Friday, it's a long drive. I was rather proud of myself and I didn't even get in a fluster as I found myself on the Manchester ring rather than the expected M6!

I immediately set to with some litter picking.  

I filled a bag and some of it was old enough to make me feel it was worth the walk around the rather hilly campsites.
I met other fellow volunteers over our evening meal.  This was the first time I had eaten inside (not at home) with anyone for well over 18 months.  Just the covid fears, let alone the general new people social angst was rather challenging.

The view from my room window was wonderfully calming and I was taken by the hill to the left of the picture.

I fell asleep listening to the river running.

Day 2 dawned bright and the mood was good.  But I can't imagine not being in a good frame of mind here.
I was happy to volunteer for toilet duty and after having some training in covid protocols, I set to.

They have a lot of loos!

Job 2 was finding these boxes in different dry stores and putting together what was inside them

It was an interesting challenge and I admit to making a call home to talk about washers and their purpose, so I could work out which screws to use them with, being as there was no instructions whatsoever in the box!

I did 2 on my own and then 2 more with another volunteer.

There was also dry shelters to clean, the cafe to clear up once it had closed, washing up and other jobs but in the evning I managed to squeeze in a quiet walk down by the weir for a bit of R&R.  My watch told me I'd walked about 10 miles from breakfast to bed.

Day 3 also dawned bright and fair and it looked like it would be a busy day for the cafe, we helped to set up and then I pootled off to one of the campsites with my buckets to clean more loos

A DofE group had stayed overnight and I had to give the blocks they'd used a thorough scrub.  I took the opportunity of there only being 2 blocks to clean to bring down the cobwebs, wipes dusty sills and doors and clean windows too.  

I went back down the hill to  help two other volunteers check the poles and joints for 2 very large gazebos that were going to the county show.

Unfortunately they both had to leave, leaving me to finish up and I think it was the dust in the store but I was hit with the worst Asthma attack I've had in quite some time.  It was not much fun trying to come back to good.

I sat for a while with another volunteer making boxes for the sovenier mugs for the shop.

 But it wasn't long before I was ready to rock and roll again.

Back up the hill to clear up the dry shelter that had been used by the DofE group, I watched the teachers (not kids, they had been gone since the morning) faff around for far too long and then tell me they had finished cleaning up.   It was an interesting definition of clean! I then cleaned up and sanitised.

Followed by a field pick of what the kids had left behind - at least 5 socks and a lot of bottles and wrappers!
I headed back down the hill thinking that there was only the cafe to help clear up and be done for the day but it turns out there had been a birthday party in one of the huts and that needed clearing up too - little boys, never knowingly not peed on the floor!

But with a bit of team work from a few volunteers it was finally done.

All of the volunteers except me left and after the evening meal I decided to go for a walk to a nearby village to see if there were any men in top hats and strange moustaches.

The rest of the country watched a football match.
And it rained.

Very very very hard!
A sopping wet me stood and looked again at that hill.  It really was calling.

13 miles said the watch!

Day 4 dawned rather damp and dismal.  I helped with breakfast service and cleared up, sanitised the dining tables and chairs and then relaid for lunch service.

And then it was time for me to leave.  Nearly one hundred years worth of Guides have been going to Waddow Hall for fun, friendship, to learn about themselves, to develop skills and I was one of them.

Now, about that hill.......


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