A Couple of Updates

Here are a couple of updates on the last two posts I’ve done.

First of all, here is a message from Bear Grylls, the UK Chief Scout, about the recent increase in numbers of Scouts in the UK.

Secondly, there is a report about the 350 new Queen’s Scouts meeting Prince Charles and Bear Grylls at the St. George’s Day parade in Windsor on the Scout Association’s website.

St. George’s Day Parade

Today hundreds of Scouts will parade through Windsor to meet up at Windsor Castle, will then inspected by Prince Charles and finally attend a service in St. George’s Chapel where they will renew their Scout Promise led by the Chief Scout, Bear Grylls.

To be able to go on this parade is an honour for all those Scouts who have become Queen’s Scouts over the past year.

I was able to attend this parade in 1992 when I was 21. I remember having to leave home at around 5 in the morning and being in an absolutely foul mood as I’d been to a friend’s 21st birthday party the night before! When we arrived in Windsor we had to go to an army barracks to do some marching practice. As a rule we don’t do marching in scouting these days, so the Sergeant  Major who was instructing us got a bit frustrated to say the least!

It was a cold and damp morning and we weren’t allowed to wear coats over our uniforms, so I was glad that I’d worn extra layers under my shirt! We paraded to the Castle and lined up on the parade ground and were then inspected by HM The Queen! I was terrified as I was on the front row and didn’t want to make a prat of myself if she decided to speak to me. She didn’t however, but at least I can say was inspected by the Queen!

We then marched into St. George’s Chapel for the service where we were led in the renewal of our promise by the then Chief Scout, Garth Morrison.

After the service, the time was our own and I spent the rest of the day sightseeing in Windsor with Mum and Dad.

It was certainly a talking point at work the following day, being able to say I spent my weekend being inspected by the Queen!

It was a great honour to take part in the parade.

If I can find them, I’ll put some of the photos on here!

On the Up!

Great news from the Scout Association today. The results of the 2010 census are in and the number of young people Scouting in the UK is up again! The membership now stands at 499,323, which is 3.45% up on last year! This is also the greatest growth in numbers since 1972. The other good news is that the number of adults are also up another 3.1%. However, as always, there is need for more adults as there are around 33,500 young people on waiting lists!

You can read the full story here.

It is interesting to note that the media are all being very positive about Scouting again and saying that Scouting is (obviously!) a good thing. Another interesting point is that again they are making a big thing about mentioning our Chief Scout Bear Grylls.

Of course it’s good to note that in my own little corner of Scouting, my Group’s numbers are also up again this year.

Scouting and Trains

Two of my favourite things!

There has long been a tradition of naming locomotives with Scouting related names. In the 1930’s the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) named 2 of their Royal Scot engines The Boy Scout (6169) and The Girl Guide (6168). Then in the early 1950’s British Railways named one of their new Britannia class engines after the then Chief Scout Lord Rowallan.

There was talk in 2007 that one of the train operating companies was going to name a train with a Scouting name to celebrate the 100 years of Scouting. However, nothing came of it.

This year sees the Union Pacific Railroad launch one of their locos in a livery celebrating the BSA’s centenary.


You can also read more about it here. It looks very impressive and I have to say I’m a bit jealous that I’ll not get to see it!


The Brand Centre

Back in October I mentioned that the Scout Association was setting up a Brand Centre for all the things we would need to be able to promote ourselves in a unified and professional way. Well it was launched a few weeks ago and as well as being able to download logos and letter templates, if you are a Leader, then you can log in and create flyers, posters banners etc. If you create, for example, a flyer, you can download it as a PDF to print off yourself or you can get them professionally printed – of course there is a cost involved!

One of the things I liked was the fact that you can generate your own logo! However, it doesn’t work very well! For example –

Porthill Logo

Now the lettering on the 1st Porthill bit, is all distorted and if you have the purple version-


The colours of the logo and the writing is different! However there is a work around!

Pageflex Server [document: D-BB52B4F5_00001]

That’s better! One of the options is to preview the logo as a PDF before you create it. If you save the PDF and have access to Photoshop, which luckily I do through work, then it can be opened and converted to a JPG file or whatever your image file of choice is.

If you don’t have access to Photoshop, I don’t know how to convert the PDF to an image file, so if anyone knows of ways to do this, please let me know!

Happy Birthday Escouts

It was nice to note the other day that Escouts was celebrating its 9th birthday (so its a Cub then!). Escouts provide free web hosting to Scout Groups, Districts etc. in the UK and have some great forums. Its grown to be a great resource for UK Scouter and if ever someone has a question and / or problem, someone on Escouts will have an answer. The UK Chief Commissioner even has a page where people can ask him stuff, which is an exceptionally great way of keeping HQ in touch with people ‘at the coalface’!

So happy birthday Escouts, long may you continue!


On of the most useful skills a person can gain from Scouting is the ability to read and use maps. This skill is not only used when hiking, for example, but when going to a new place in the car. In fact, if I use a sat-nav to take me to a new place, I always like to check on the map before hand to see where I’m going.

Maps in the UK are produced in the UK by the Ordinance Survey and they have a wide range of accurate maps available at various scales. One thing they’ve recently announced is their OS Open Space project. This allows people to use the OS map data to include on their websites or create their own application using map data.

What this means in practice terms is that I can now put OS map information on my Group’s website, for example, to show where a camp site is.

This looks to be an interesting use of mapping information and it will be fascinating to see what people come up with.