As the long nights take hold and winter approaches, 93 Scouts from across the North East District took over a farm in Newton Harcourt, in the District of Harborough.
In a matter of hours, the farmer’s field grew canvas and nylon as a village of tents took the place of crops.  With kit in tents and bedding laid out, supper awaited the hungry bunch.  Now all full, and the team times called, it was time for bed.  Torches become an instrument for art as light beams scribbled around the fabric of tents.  With a tradition of almost every camp, the noise that takes hold most of the night is the chatter and laughter of excited Scouts.
A new day arrives, dull to begin, both Scouts and Leader follow the call to breakfast.  Full of fibre and ready to go, two teams at a time every 20 min, they begin the challenge hike in different directions.   By mid morning, the heavens opened and the showers took hold, the Scouts did not seem daunted by the downpour as they continued with their hike and challenges, which included bridge building, football skittles, archery, knotting, plank racing, Kelly Kettle, canoeing, mountain biking and driving a one ton dumper-truck.  By noon the rain had stopped, the sky had cleared and the sun made an appearance.  With the temperature rising jackets came off.

Yash, aged 12, from the 86th Leicester Team 4 said of the camp “I think it’s really good how the camp is all coordinated towards the District, and the food is amazing. The activities are fun and involve all of the people. The weather is not brilliant it is cold but it’s not affecting the activities, and it’s still fun”.

Jacob from the 43rd Scouts said, “The camp is really fun, this is my second Dave Smart Challenge, and I want to come back every year if I can.”
 When asked what he thought was different compared to last year’s camp, he said “It felt like there is less people on this one because we are covering more of the countryside this year, whereas went through more towns last year.”
Of the activities, “They are good especially the bridge, even though we didn’t succeed doing it, it was still fun.”

Jonah, aged 12, from the 89th Houghton. “I liked the activities, even though I didn’t know some of the knots, and the Kelly Kettles activity - I thought it was really fun”.

Magnus and his Sister Ana from Denmark and currently with the 43rd whilst staying in the UK for three months said “it was good fun, but I liked the breakfast”

The Scouts were honoured with a dinner fit for royalty thanks to Vim, a Beaver parent who is a qualified chef, assisted by the helpers as they made chicken, vegetable side dishes and pudding in a way that only a chef can do.  Tony Kendal, GSL for 12/74th, said he learnt a lot by watching and cooking with Vim.  The evening ended with a movie.
 On Sunday, we woke up to a misty morning.  Breakfast served, it was time to pack before the results were called at 11am. As parents began to arrive their young were standing in horse shoe format waiting for the results in anticipation. Before the results were called a special certificate was awarded to each of the 43rd Danes team, for exceptional effort with two Scouts from Denmark, one of whom could not speak English.
The time has finally come, the results are called in reverse order, with the mist still lingering, the Scouts are silent as the names of each team echoes across the field. Although there were 19 teams and the scoring went from 1 to 19, 1 being the winner, no-one received 19, the scores started from 16 as 6 teams drew.  The top three were finally announced, in 3rd place, the 89th Houghton, the group which the late Dave Smart led, had not attended the event for 4 years had made their group proud by taking 3rd place.  In 2nd place, the 53rd Birstall Mavericks and in 1st place, the 86th team 4. A team of 5 boys and one girl who led the team to win.

Click on any photo to see the album.

Photos By: Alam, Faz and Matthew.

Report By: Alam.