Cherished tradition as boys carry on camping

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Following my visit to Seahouses, indicated last week, after calling on Robert Hardie, in Berwick, former Minister of Stenhouse & Carron Church, I again brought a thunderous downpour to the Ayton Camp of 1st Grangemouth (Abbotsgrange Church) and 3rd Bo’ness (Old Kirk).

The set-up was immediately recognisable as the traditional Marshall Blair layout seen before on so many sites.

The marquee flanked by ridge tents, the tennis court, the (hot) shower tent (in the middle of a field!), the out-field sports area, the canteen, the cook tent (with running water) and, in the distance, the toilet tents.

This camping tradition, this year in the shadow of Ayton Castle, continues to attract boys – each year ending with the question ‘Where are we going next?’.

A tradition missing this year was cook Maureen, who, following years of service by her mother, has herself become an institution. A knee awaiting attention was the cause but still she visited ‘her boys’. Promoted to the post was Eddie, a former chef who, in camping terms, goes ‘way back’.

The night before, the boys had taken part in a treetop ‘go-ape’ adventure course when evacuation had to take place due to lightning. The escape route? Down into the lake! The uncompleted course was to be revisited!

A church parade started the week of activities which. as well as on-site competitions, included visits to Newcastle FC, tenpin bowling and ice skating at Whitley Bay, as well as an outing to the Museum of Flight at East Fortune.

An impressive spread of ages and family connections attend this camp – grandchildren mixing with seniors and those who come back year on year.

I hear Marshal and Sybil Blair’s daughter Sharon was attending her 36th camp!

The final night of concert, prizegiving, barbecue and bonfire meant impressed memories of (latterly) good weather, fun and fellowship in a tradition obviously cherished by so many.