29th April to 2nd May 2016
This camp was originally planned to be held just outside of Alnwick on land owned by the Alnwick Castle Estates, on the above dates. The original plan was for the leaders to go up on the Thursday and set up the camp ready for everyone arriving on the Friday night.
The Leaders loaded up the van at the HQ, while it was raining, it had also been raining for a number of days previous. On the drive up to Alnwick, the rain got heavier and heavier, the sky got darker and darker and the temperature started to plummet, so much so, that on arrival at the site, it was snowing.
We opened up the gates to see a field that could only be described as the horror of any camper. It was covered in an inch of slushy snow and had huge lakes of water all over where we intended on setting up the tents. Within seconds everyone’s feet were absolutely soaked through. We looked at moving where we were going to pitch the tents and checked out the ground in several new areas only to find that we would be under water as soon as the snow started to thaw.
8 leaders, stood in a field, in the snow, wondering what the heck we were going to do and how we were going to make this work. Had months and months of planning and preparation been scuppered by the weather and were we about to make a decision to cancel the last hurrah to a truly amazing Centenary year.
Stunned phonecalls were made to other leaders from the middle of the field, asking for thoughts and inspiration, none was to come, we made the decision to cancel the camp for not only safety reasons but for the comfort of everybody that would be attending. No-one wanted to be in the field, in the cold and soaking wet for 3 full days under canvas, it would be a totally miserable experience and existence.
Then someone mentioned Powburn – 10 miles to the North West as the crow flies – indoors and centrally heated. All of us huddled around Dudley’s phone in the middle of the field, on speaker, we called the Powburn Booking Secretary, we explained the situation and was the centre free at the weekend. The response brought about a sense of relief and jubilation, yes, the centre was free and yes, we could use it if we wanted to.
Camp Ary is now an annual camp that we have every year (although not through Covid), it is held on one of the Bank Holiday weekends and changes weekend depending on what other camps are planned by District or County and whether we are attending them. After Ary 1 the location was moved from Alnwick/Powburn to Wall, just outside of Hexham and has been held under canvas every year since and luckily for the majority of them, we have had some absolutely amazing weather and even held one of them jointly with the Guides. We are currently up to Ary 4, what would have been 5 was cancelled due to Covid as was 6. Hopefully in 2022 we can finally getting around to having Ary 5.
Where did Ary come from? What does it mean? Well, that’s simple, we have it every year to mark our annivers’ARY’, we just didn’t want to be saying Anniversary Camp all the time.
All of the photos taken at these camps can be found on our Facebook Page under albums, they can be found here: