After over a year with no large camps, Wild Wolf ESU finally managed to venture out to Northumberland, where we resided at the gorgeous Dilston Scout Campsite, a short distance from Hadrian’s Wall. We spent ten days exploring the Northumbrian countryside, visiting fascinating destinations, and getting stuck into some very adventurous activities.
DAY 1 –
An early start set us off on our way on Saturday morning, as we rolled out of Scout Park with the birds still chirping, embarking on our 7 hour drive north, eager to get away and begin camp. We arrived during the evening glow and set up camp, erecting a display of tents, surrounding the jurte. After a collective push to make Dilston campsite our home, a colossal fish and chip order arrived, and we all tucked into some well deserved dinner.
“I have learnt that being flexible and being able to work as a team are two very important qualities.”
DAY 2 –
After fuelling up on a breakfast of eggy bread, we all piled into minibuses to go and explore the historic Alnwick Castle. The day was spent touring the ancient castle and grounds, where we learnt about the castle’s background, dating back to the 11th century. The poison garden was of great interest, and we learnt about some fascinating – and dangerous – plants, including some to avoid whilst riverside! Alnwick Castle was also the site of broomstick training in the Harry Potter franchise, so we dived into lessons ourselves. The day was topped off by an open-air movie night, where we lay under the stars and relished in being in the great outdoors.
“Alnwick Castle trip was fun & the castle impressive, but building a stone tower (cairn) in the campsite river with others was something I won’t forget.”
DAY 3 –
Sunday brought beautiful weather, and we took full advantage of this as we split off into groups and completed hikes in the local area, and explored a new river for the Unit, the South Tyne. We rambled around, excited to see beyond Dilston by foot. The day was still young, and after getting warm on our activities, we took a dip in the stream running alongside the campsite, splashing around in the small waterfalls.
“In the short time I was there I made some good friends and now feel more part of the team.”
DAY 4 –
We were all up bright and early on Monday morning to embark on some longer hikes along Hadrian’s Wall, with some groups hiking almost 40km along this extraordinary landmark. All the groups got to walk directly along the wall, and the elevation gave fantastic scenic views of the landscape. Finally being out in uncharted territory after over a year of being resigned to our local surroundings was freeing for everyone, and very exciting! The weather was intermittent, with an enormous downpour at camp in the evening. Despite this, we enjoyed our BBQ sheltered indoors, which was very well-received after such a long day.
“The best bit of Northumberland was hiking along Hadrian’s Wall and avoiding the torrential rain”
DAY 5 –
Tuesday took us to Lindisfarne, an area of land that is cut off twice a day by the high tide, but is accessible by both vehicle and foot for most of the day. We took the long way across, opting to get our feet muddy and wet by traversing the causeway. Lindisfarne had loads to offer, including delicious coffee, fudge and ice cream. Lindisfarne Castle provided a fantastic backdrop to the rolling sand dunes and quaint village, as we roamed, taking in its peaceful atmosphere. We made it back across the causeway with plenty of time, and spent the evening soaking up the weather at camp, relaxing and enjoying one another’s company.
“My favourite part of camp was being able to spend time with everyone properly!”
DAY 6 –
Wednesday brought some mid-week action, with a day packed full of thrilling activities. We split into two groups to take it in turns doing coasteering and escape rooms. Despite the water being very chilly, the wet suits kept us toasty and we clambered up the rocks to jump into the swirling sea below. The two groups met up for lunch, where we lay on the grass overlooking the dazzling sea with the sun beating on our faces. The two groups swapped, and the morning coasteerers headed off into Newcastle town centre to test their escaping abilities. They were faced with a city on the verge of destruction, a human race about to be taken out by poison, and a murderer’s room which they must rescue themselves from. Everyone was liberated, and some groups even made the leader boards! Everyone was on top of the world after such exhilarating activities, so we got out the speakers and microphone and hosted a WWESU karaoke evening, singing and dancing along to the classics.
“Karaoke night was the best night on camp!”
DAY 7 –
After a week of early starts, long hikes and busy days out, a day on camp to rest and recuperate was needed. Many games of cards were played (which got very competitive!) and a buffet-style lunch was prepared. As rain clouds closed in, we put on a film. After dinner, one of our leaders, Ryan, hosted a quiz to help celebrate his birthday. Our general knowledge was tested, we figured out puzzles and demolished caterpillar cake, before resigning to bed; sad that camp is slowly coming to an end.
“It was wonderful just to be able to be on a camp again with so many people, and having the chance to experience the little things I forgot, like how fun playing cards on camp is.”
DAY 8 –
On Friday, WWESU explored another Harry Potter filming location: Durham Cathedral! The Gothic Cathedral towers over the city. However the inside has the most incredible architecture, with gorgeous stained glass windows and high vaulted ceilings to admire. Our city visit also gave Explorer’s the opportunity to visit the market and buy treats for themselves and presents for their families. Durham Pride was also taking place, an important event which was enjoyed by many. After a delightful meal out, the Explorers were surprised with a challenge, as they were dropped in their patrols a couple of kilometers from the campsite, with the aim to get back without being caught by the guards (aka, the leaders). The Explorers’ navigation and stealth abilities were tested, and everyone made it back in excellent time, in time for hot chocolate and biscuits before bed.
Whilst in Durham Cathedral we made a Harry Potter inspired TikTok! Click here to watch our recreation of an iconic scene.
DAY 9 –
Our last full day in Northumberland was spent doing more canoeing and hiking, ensuring everyone had the opportunity to do the activities they had not done earlier in the week. To mark the end of camp, we had a black tie dinner, in which the tables were adorned with table cloths, after being laid out banquet style. Everyone suited up in their one item of black tie, brought especially for this momentous occasion. We tucked into delicious pasta bake, before lighting a toasty campfire. Newer members of the Unit were invested, as well as an old WWESU member, Livia, who returned to be a leader! We had a Scout’s Own, another end of camp tradition, and read out quotes from our Thoughts and Feeling Box, packed full of funny stories and heart-warming quotes.
“The leaders are amazing and their support is like nothing else.”
DAY 10 –
After an efficient take-down of camp, and our final flag break in Northumberland, we hit the road bright and early at 9am. Laser tag was waiting for us in Nottingham and Sheffield, so we sped down south, excited to break up the long drive with one final high-adrenaline activity. With everyone now a sharpshooter, we piled back into the buses, emotional to have reached the end of camp, but looking forward to seeing our families, and warm beds, again.