CHIEF Scout Bear Grylls wowed the crowds as he took part in a whistle-stop tour of Scotland.
Bear dropped in to Lapwing Lodge near Paisley by helicopter to meet 250 Explorers, Scouts, Cubs and Beavers from the West Region, which includes Greenock and District.
More than 100 young people from the District were lucky enough to be at the special event and to show Bear a host of Scouting activities. Plenty of youngsters – and some oldies too -- managed to grab a coveted signature from the man himself as he toured around the specially-organised activity day.
The event was one of 11 that Bear visited across Scotland at the weekend. The tour is part of his mission during his term as Chief Scout to encourage more adults to volunteer for Scouting, as well as celebrate the important role of Scouting in Scotland and the UK as a whole.
Bear said: “It was great to visit Scouts across Scotland over a couple of days. At every event I went to, I met young people taking part in the adventure that Scouting provides. It’s crucial though that more adults sign up as volunteers, to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to join.”
District Commissioner David McCallum added: “This was a fantastic day and a chance to show Bear just how well we are doing in the Region in general and the District in particular.
“Lots of our young people got to see him up close and show him some of the things we do in Scouting. He seemed particularly interested in our Bushcraft Zone where we were teaching people how to light fires and carve bush spoons. I was delighted that many of our youngsters managed to get their neckies signed and that Bear took time out to sign our Bushcraft Zone banner.”
Explorer Scout Linzi McCallum of the 32nd North Face Unit was one of Bear’s escorts for the day. She said, “It was great to meet Bear as he’s such a huge inspiration for me. Scouting’s all about adventure, so there’s nothing better than having someone like Bear join in. I love being a Scout – it’s built up my confidence, helped me make loads of new friends, expanded my horizons and allowed me to try so many brilliant things I would have otherwise never been able to do.
“Getting to escort him round the site was a dream come true. He was very nice indeed.”
The weekend’s events are good examples of what Scouting is all about, offering thousands of young people the opportunity to take part in adventure. Recently The Scout Association released its annual membership census figures showing Scouting in Scotland has grown by four per cent to a total membership of more than 41,000.
In keeping with the increasing popularity of Scouting, the charity has a waiting list of 2,200 young people in Scotland who would like to participate, and offers flexible volunteering opportunities for adults who would like to help address this while also developing their own skills across a wide range of areas.
Bear Grylls was just one of the attractions at what was a fantastic day at Lapwing Lodge.
Members of the West Region, which includes Argyll, Dunbartonshire, Greenock and District, Paisley and District, and Renfrewshire enjoyed a fun-packed day.
There was the opportunity to take part in a whole series of activities such as canoeing, mountain biking, crate climbing, backwoods cooking, cart building, face painting, bouncy castles, sumo suits, circus games, bushcraft skills, zorb ball, archery, climbing wall, high ropes, arts and crafts, football. A tuck shop was also open for young and old alike.
The highlight of the day, however, was the arrival of Bear Grylls and this was signalled by the sound of a helicopter overhead. The Chief Scout jumped out the helicopter at the front of Lapwing Lodge to be greeted by Regional Chairman Donald Gordon and Regional Commissioner Graeme Kinnear as well as his two Explorer escorts.
Bear then toured the site taking part in archery, watching some of the youngsters take part in canoeing before touring the other activities on site. All the way along the route he took some time to sign neckies, badges, copies of his autobiography and even arms. After 40 short minutes the Chief Scout was back in his helicopter and headed for his next stop.
It was an exhilarating visit that left an impression on everybody who attended. The activities continued into the afternoon before buses home but not before everybody who attended had been presented with a special badge, created to mark the visit.