This is my report on the Berkshire Icelandic Jamboree trip that took place between the 15th to 26th July.
We met at the Quality Hotel in Slough, and after some baggage checks and a talk by our leader Bruce Clark we made our way to Heathrow airport. The flight took approximately 2.5 hours to Reykjavik. On arrival, we were taken by coach to a nearby school arriving at 1:10am in the morning when we very rapidly fell asleep.
The next day we journeyed to our campsite, this took longer than the predicted, 6-7 hours, due to the state of the 'roads' if you can call them that! We arrived at the site around 8pm and promptly erected our tents, shortly after which it was time for the opening ceremony. One thing that struck me was the excellent long 'Harry Potter' type cloaks that many of the Icelandic Scouts wore, they were very warm indeed. After several speeches by Icelandic officials we had a look round the site and at 11:30pm we made our way back to our tents.
The next day was intended for scouts to meet other scouts from different nations and a large amount of badge swapping occurred. I managed to get about 14 badges from many different countries and met many new people on site. In the evening the camp organised an activity after which we had free time until midnight which we spent by talking and further investigating the site of over two thousand campers.
The 18th was the day that our patrol was 'on duty' and by now the leaders had managed to get a stove and some large pots and pans, so we had communal meals. Unfortunately as duty patrol we had to clean the billies which was hard work indeed. That day it tipped with rain for hours and our patrol activities consisted of bases around the camp. In the afternoon we did an activity called the world of Harry Potter as the weather had been too bad to go abseiling. Our patrol missed the evening activity as we had to clean pots from dinner. We still had some free time so we decided to organise sleeping outside.
We woke after our night outside feeling refreshed and looked forward to spending the day in the local town of Akurie and going swimming. The pool had a steam room, bathtubs at 390C and 430C and a flume with two large pools. After an hour or so we got the bus back to the campsite where we organised a cinema room (marquee), open air disco and some other activities.
Today was the day of the supernatural, which consisted of setting up bases at each site and then doing the activities at the other site bases. In the evening our group along with many other groups had to perform in the main arena singing camp songs and general entertainment.
The day ahead was raft building which was quite interesting. We took a bus to a nearby lake on the outskirts of town where we began to raft build. Ours seemed quite stable while paddling round the lake. After dismantling the raft we had enough time to walk into town where we looked round and had a snack after which we made our way back to camp by bus.
Today was the day I was really looking forward to, it was the 660 North trip. i.e. North of the Artic Circle. We flew the relatively short distance to Gurney Island in a propeller driven 20 seater aircraft, taking off from a tiny airfield next to the campsite, a far cry from Heathrow! There are approximately 40 different types of bird that live on the island, some sheep and other wildlife and a few people. On my visit I saw a number of these types of bird many were Puffins and I went to the most Notherly and highest point on the island.
We'd finally reached the last day of camp, so it was time to pack everything up and to say goodbye to all the new friends we had made at the Jamboree. After the camp closing ceremony we exchanged e-mail addresses and we were on our way by 3pm. We arrived at a cabin where we spend the night and spent the evening skimming stones on the adjacent lake.
The next day we went to a museum/church, visited a glacier which we walked round and finally arrived at the next campsite. This site had a shop and swimming pool of its own, so after a swim we had chocolate bananas. We were about to go for a walk, but the wind picked up and it began to rain. This ended up being a fully fledged storm and was quite ironic since we had put up the tents to 'dry'! Luckily my tent came out unscathed from the damage, but the two large tents which were used as marquees, had their poles shattered by the storm.
The next day we packed up the sodden tents and went or our way. We stopped at caves and went into them. It was very cold in the cave and pitch black and only a few people had torches. Ten of us made our way back to the surface without torches which was an 'interesting' experience to say the least. Continuing our journey we arrived at a scout hut for the night, which interestingly turned out to be the scout hut of one of the people whom I'd met at the Jamboree. We looked round town and just had to have a MacDonald's!
It was the last day, time to return home. We left the hut at 10am and made our way to the Blue Lagoon a thermal spring and lake. The water was a very nice 380C and as it's supplied by a volcanic spring is supposed to be good for your skin. We left at 2pm and soon arrived at Reykjavik airport in good time to board our 2.5hour flight home. We arrived at Heathrow at 9pm to a rapturous welcome from friends and parents, and above all with many brilliant memories of a most enjoyable trip.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Bruce and all the Scout leaders for making this trip a most enjoyable, interesting, educational and memorable experience.
Philip Howell (Pinkneys Green Scout Group)
Photos of the Jamboree and Iceland Click Here
Photos of the Jamboree and Iceland Click Here