View the 2013 County Challenge through the eyes of a scout with my account(Matthew Gaynor) of the weekend as patrol scribe for the 7th DLS Waterford.


Friday:   We all arrived at Carraiganore in our various buses of banter abd got the trailer unpacked outside our site before the closing ceremony, it wasn’t the best start in fairness as half our gear was over at the B-team’s site and we had theirs! We still hadn’t got it sorted when the time came for the opening ceremony, so we were forced to leave it to the capable hands of William Collins (I could call him Billy but ye’d all know who I was talking about) to sort us out, he didn’t get it done in time (Sorry Billy! But now everyone knows of your short comings) and not only that, but we attended the ceremony with just 6 patrol members, our PL Adam was off playing for Waterford and Seán was a late arrival. Not the best start we’ve ever had it must be said… To cap it all off, we were the only troop that didn’t have a spare kneckerchief to hang up for the competition, oops. We sprinted down to the site to commence its construction, but all did not go in accordance with the scriptures as we discovered we had both the “B-Team’s” Icelandic tents (which had mucky footprints all over them) and our site was slow to go up, this competition just keeps getting better and better! We were boosted by the return of our PL who gave us all a spanking for the slow progres, but geared us up for the rest of the night, there was precious little time remaining for us but we managed to gety our shelter pitched perfectly and our fire half done, still not where we’d hoped to be at, we all went to bed with one thought in our heads: This was going to be one long weekend….


Saturday: We woke up, knowing that it would take one hell of an effort to get the site up on time, but all 8 (not just 6 this time) were up for the task, although our fighting spirit was somewhat dampened by having to eat our cereal while sitting on the ground, with the 3rd’s (turds) laughing at us from across the way. We got underway though and, I (with no disrespect to any other team members) built the table single handedly, with a little help from Alex, only to be outdone by Orla’s perfect dresser, Eimear’s immaculate fire, Alex’s perfect store, Adam’s great leadership skills, Philip’s improvised bin and… well yeah, you get the gist, anyway, the site went up faster than Usain Bolt on steroids (not implying anything) and by the end we were beginning to feel a little more optimistic.


Chapter 2: The Bases: Okay, there was no need for the fancy writing but up next was the part of the day we’d most been dreading! The bases! The air base was next,, all our experience with Flog would come into handy for once, or not, there was not one flipdy-dip to be seen in Carraiganore that day. We made hot air balloons out of plastic bag and “Oragami Orla” folded a perfectly crafted aeroplane that would have done Aer Lingus proud! Next up was First Aid, our strong point, we breezed through it except for a minor mistake on the CPR section, oh well! Backwoods was next, now between Philip, Adam and Alex, we probably have the most pyromaniac trio in Scouting Ireland, and that’s saying something, the 3 of the m took the fire lighting into their own hands while I led the shelter building part with my troops, I feel it went well but not excellent, maybe the fact we were late and there were few available spots of any quality left… enough of the excuses! Orienteering was good fun, split into our pairs, I got stung 4 times in the neck by different bees but I struggled on, good thing I’m not allergic! Our estimations of distance were very precise, but really, all we were thinking of was our dinner so we were glad to head up to the site when that base was over. Eimear and Orla prepared our test meal while I wrote the log and the rest tidied up our site, the meal was (a quite frankly, gorgeous) beef stew with potatoes and even nicer (and more gorgeous, borderline fabulous) dessert of flan with chocolate and fruit. Now, my favorite part of being the proud scribe of the 7th De La Salle is that the log is regularly done while the wash up is, so when I say I had to join in to help out with it (the wash up), you can be rest assured it was a particularly gruesome one, even by our standards! We got it done though which is the main thing! The campfire was led by the ever-brilliant Mark Hayes and thoroughly enjoyed by all, off to the leaba ina dhiadh sin! (That’s my bit of honours Irish coming through)


Sunday: The big one! This was what it was all about, and to say we couldn’t of had a better start was an understatement! We hadc to build a catapult as our patrol challenge and we did so, in the process firing many water balloons into the next field! Followed by a singing match against the 3rd (which we won by all accounts, naturally enough) we took it down and dismantled our site in time to be inspected, although still managed to be the last to be checked… again. When we finally had been inspected we packed away all our gear and headed to the closing ceremony.


The closing ceremony (again in fancy writing, but who cares?)


Site 5: 7th De La Salle: GOLD! (Well, that was a relief)


Roughly 5-10 minutes later…


The winners of the campcraft trophy: Site 5, 7th De La Salle (Had there been a mistake?)


In 3rd place: site 4, 31st Faithlegg!


In 2nd place: site 5, 7th De La Salle!


When we heard this, all of a sudden we didn’t care who had won, it was better than winning in our opinion, if you had told us on Friday night that we’d be in the top 10 come Sunday I don’t think any of us 8 would have turned it away! It was a great weekend for us!


Also, congratulations to the 17th/20th Saint Pauls on coming first, the 31st Faithlegg on coming 3rd, and to the 18th/26th Ferrybank, 19th Ballygunner, the 3rd De La Salle, the 8th Tramore and the 4th Abbeyside on all making it through to the Phoenix! I’m sure we’ll see ye all again in August.