5th Spen Valley Scout Group

Kandersteg Diary

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57th Spen Valley Scouts and Explorers

Kandersteg 2006

The ‘Time Of Our Lives’


Day ONE – Friday 21st July


We got to the Scout Hut at 10 o’clock where the bus was waiting and started to pack up all the bags.  By 11 o’clock the coach was packed and everyone had said goodbye to their parents, we were on our way.

We had a good journey down the M1 going through steady traffic.  We came to problems though on the M25 around London due to traffic.  Not only was it rush hour, there were accidents to add to the already slow movement.

Eventually we picked up some Explorer’s who were also going to Kandersteg and were on our way to Dover to catch the ferry.

The ferry was ninety minutes from Dover to Calais.  In this time our group walked on the open deck, around the shop and sat and had something to drink and eat.

Now in France the time had increased by an hour making it 10 o’clock.  The bus drove through France and into Belgium going on towards Luxemburg, Germany and into Switzerland.

On the trip down, to evade boredom we were given quiz’s and travel bingo to do.

Today was the start of a great 10 days away and I can not wait to get there tomorrow.



Day TWO – Saturday 22nd July


Still on the bus and had little sleep, but WOOHOO!! Today we are going to be in Kandersteg.  Sleeping on the coach hadn’t been an easy task but it didn’t seem to dampen anyone else’s moods.  We got to Kandersteg around 10 o’clock and WOW!  The landscape was amazing around the campsite.  Mountains in every direction.  We set up camp and put all our things in our tents.

We then went for some dinner in the centre.  We had chicken nuggets, runner beans and broccoli, with pasta.  I also had a croissant with a vanilla cream filling for pudding.  We then had a tour around the site.  We walked around the centre where visiting groups from the past had left neckers and other momentums to show others they had been to the site.  Neckers were all over the ceilings of the centre from groups all over the world.

After the tour we came back to our site and chilled for a bit.  We helped put up a tent and the played a group game of Donkey.  This is a game to throw a ball to a person and call their name at the same time in a circle.  If you drop the ball, you get a letter.  You are out when you spell Donkey.  This game is good for learning names.

At 6 o’clock we went up for tea.  We had shepard’s pie.  When we eat in the centre we had jobs to do to help the site staff by clearing our plates and re-setting the table ready for next meal.  We then had free time so we went to play football.  We played some Italians but lost, and then later we played some Dutch and Irish and beat them both.  I scored the winning goal against the Dutch.


Day THREE – Sunday 23rd July


Our first day waking up in Kandersteg was amazing.  To get out of our tents and see the view is just out of this world.

After breakfast and making our pack lunches we started to walk into Kandersteg.  Today’s activities were to go up a mountain on a cable chair lift, visit a lake in the mountains and go on a toboggan run.

The view down the valley from the top of the mountains was amazing.  I learnt that the mountains around Kandersteg had been formed by both the movement of the earth’s plates and glaciers.  The difference could be seen in the mountains face by the formation and shapes of the rocks in the side of the mountain.

The toboggan run was ace.  We had five runs each.  The first two I kept getting caught up behind other people but on the third run I sped down. It was really good.  The fourth time I went even faster and coming to the last corner and went to fast and was lucky not to completely come off.  I hit the side and got light burns on me arm and leg but managed to stay on.  My final run was much slower and making sure I didn’t get anymore burns.

In the evening we had a chicken in a sauce with rice for tea and then we went on a light trial.  It was meant to be a spiritual quiet time activity where we got a fire touch and had to follow a trail of touches were there was either a board with a quote from Baden Powel about Scouting or a member of site staff giving their thought of the day.  Eventually we got to a camp fire.  When all the groups got to the fire the site staff left us to run our own campfire with songs.  It was really good to see all the groups doing all the different songs they knew.  The Dutch taught the group how to do a heads, shoulders, knees and toes in Dutch and also the Explorers from Holland taught us to say their motto that they say at the beginning of every meeting.  The Irish also taught a camp song we didn’t know and we have been doing the song ever since.

After the light trail we joined in playing football with some people from Belgium but it was just a kick about and then after that we played softball/baseball with the American’s which was very funny.  Some of the people in our group have already arranged to swap neckers and badges with them.



Day FOUR – Monday 24th July


Yet another beautiful morning and sight to wake up to.  We had breakfast and made up our pack lunch for the day.  Today’s activities were to discover Kandersteg and go swimming.  We went swimming first.  It was an outside pool that had a play area pool connected to a lanes pool to swim up and down.  There was also a diving bored pool and a slide.  And to top it off there was a Jacuzzi and a big blow up shark.  We spent all morning and part of the afternoon there in the pool.  I also had a game of table tennis with some of the group.  After we all got dry we went for a walk around Kandersteg and had a look at some of the shops.  Later that evening we went to the International Barbeque.  This where ever one on the site comes together to eat and meet new people.  Stalls had been set up for the different countries, there were UK, USA, Germany, Denmark, Holland, and others.  This time was also used to learn about other countries.  But also it was used for everyone to swap badges and neckers.  I swapped one badge and two neckers.  The badge being from Dorset and the two neckers for a gold and purple strip Irish Switzerland necker and a half green, gold and blue and half purple gold and blue.  This necker was specially made for four different troops in four different districts that all go camping together.  These districts weren’t even from around the same area which made it even better.  I also helped Rob an Explorer get an Irish Switzerland necker.  But it wasn’t an easy task as he had swap his original for a half blue and half yellow Cork necker that no body would swap because they didn’t like Cork.  So we had to swap it three more times before anyone would swap for the one we wanted.  It was a good laugh for the hour and a half it took us to get this necker.



Day FIVE – Tuesday 25th July


Today was an early start. We had to have breakfast and be on the bus by 8 o’clock in the morning ready for today’s activity.  Today we were visiting the capital of Switzerland, Bern.  It was a two hour bus drive to Bern so to keep ourselves occupied we all sang camp songs and the new song we learnt from the light trail.

When we got to Bern, we got off the bus a first looked at the bears that had living areas in big pits so people could look at them.  Bears are the symbol of Bern because a bear was killing the settlers in Bern and a guy killed the bear making it the symbol of Bern.

In Bern there is a city tour walk which we walked round first.  The tour went around the city showing interesting buildings like the cathedral, it showed view points and through the shops.  We went to McDonalds for our dinner.  I had a Medium Cheeseburger Royal which was a large Quarter Pounder meal.  I also tried Ice Tea but thought it were a bit nasty.  I also got a reminder what a PS2 was as there was one in McDonalds and I had a quick go. Heehee! 

The shops in Bern were completely different to English shops.  There were some shop names we recognised and a lot we didn’t but there was a lot either really modern shops or antique shops and furniture shops.

When we got back to site we went up and had tea and had Spag Bol.  After that our group had some time out to talk about the things we had got up to and who we had meet and sang some songs.  This was cut short with a rain and thunderstorm.  It was one of the worst storms I have ever been in.  It was like we was in the storm in the sky when lightening was hitting the mountains around us and the rain came so quick, so hard and so much that some of the tents without sown in ground sheets were flooded and had  rivers flowing through them.  Loads of gear was soaking wet.  Some of the Scouts and Explorers had to sleep at the centre.  When we got to the centre it was like a giant sleep over.  People everywhere sleeping on mattresses with covers in all the rooms.  Although I wanted to sit and watch the ace storm, it was fun doing the sleep over thing which were pretty cool in the end.



Day SIX – Wednesday 26th July


Waking up in the centre was a bit wired.  Waking up with the Explorers was even weirder.  This morning was a rush of finding dry clothes, getting the wet clothes together to be dried, having breakfast and be on the bus again for 8 o’clock for today’s activities.  Today’s activities were to visit a chocolate factory and a cheese factory near a place called Gruyeres.

We went to the Caillers chocolate factory first.  Caillers are part of the Nestle Company but the only made Caillers chocolate here.  We started by going on a tour of the factory learning the history of the chocolate makers.  It then went on to see how the chocolate is made and different machines.  We saw the chocolate mixers but everything else was seen on different televisions and projector screens in a room.  We then went on to do some tasting.  We first tasted a coco bean and some of the other nuts they put in their chocolate.  The coco bean tasted nothing like the chocolate and was a bit of a weird taste.  We then got on to the chocolate tasting.  My favourite bit.  There were lots of different chocolates to choose from so I had one of each.  Yes I felt a bit sickly at the end but it was worth it.  It was really nice, all the different chocolates, some milk, some dark, some with nuts and one coffee flavoured.  Yes I really liked this room.

After the chocolate factory we went into Gruyeres.  This was a small town with a few shops.  It look like a old town with cobbled streets and people walking up and down to the castle like building at the to of the hill.  It was a beautiful place.  Next we went on to the cheese factory that was a five minute walk away.

The cheese factory was not that big.  While going around the factory we had this phone like device which told you the facts about the cheese and how it’s made.  At the end we got some cheese to try and me being a mature cheddar fan thought cool.  We had three different pieces to try and they were awful.  The got worse as I tried each one.  But after I had tried them I found out mois means months in German.  So when I found out that these cheeses had been sat in a cellar for six months, eight months and ten months it was no wondered I nearly throw up and wondered how people could eat this.

Later that evening was the International Disco.  It was really cool.  People from all over the world all rocking on together having a great laugh.  We stayed up dancing till 12 o’clock and were all up on the tables for the last two songs.  Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Robbie William’s Angels.  It was not just English music though, there was music from all over the world which was just as good as the music we listen to in the English charts.  It was a really cool night, I am not usually the dancing type (and if you saw my dancing you would know why) but I had a great night.



Day SEVEN – Thursday 27th July


Waking up very tired at 6 o’clock in the morning to get ready for today’s activities wasn’t a easy challenge.  Today we had to be at Kandersteg train station for 8:30.  Today’s activity was white water rafting.  We had to catch two trains to get to our destination and we had forty minutes between trains so we had breakfast on the station stand while waiting for the second train.

When we got to the rafting centre  we all had to put our wet gear on.  This included a wet suit which was like trousers and a vest in one, a wet jacket, rubber boots and a life belt.  This was one of the hardest outfits ever to put on and when it was on it was more like a sweat suit than a wet suit.  I felt soaking wet before I had even touched the water.  We next got given a paddle and all walked down to the river where the rafts were waiting.

Next to the river we had our safety talk, what to do if the instructor said certain things, what to do if someone falls out, what to do if you fall out.  After that we were put into boats.  I was with Graham and eight other Scouts from west London.  We also had a Aussie instructor with us.

I was really excited about the rafting until the instructors told us what to do if the raft flips and then went on to say that it usually only happens once every couple of seasons (years).  He then went on to say that it had happened three times already this season.  Great I think and not a good great at that.

We finally got on to the water.  We started off by practising what we had been taught.  Give us two meant paddle twice, all out meaning paddle till told to stop, all back meant the same as all out but paddling backwards.  If he called all left or all right everyone in the raft had to move to the side of the raft that he had said.  Attack meant splash near by rafts and show them your bums, after splashing a near by raft and passing them we stand up, stick up out our bums while slapping them and shouts haha! 

Rafting rivers are classed one to five, five being fast and violent.  This river we were rafting on was a class three.  But in places in was still very fast and very violent.  We had one lad fall out at the back of the raft next to the Aussie guy.  But this was his own fault.  He was told to keep his foot in this strap and didn’t listen so ended up falling out.  This strap was my life line and there was no way I was taking me foot out of it.  Three times I was kept in the raft only because my foot was in this strap.  It cut my foot I was hanging on that tight.  We got stock on rocks a couple of times and had to jiggle which was bouncing up and down to get off or another raft would bump into us to get free.  We help a couple times by doing the same for other rafts.  It was wicked on the river.  Some places were fast, some slow and some very bumpy but some places were just calm but the best part had to be splashing the other leaders and Scouts.

Later that night we played football again and we played some people from London and then played some people from Ireland and Scotland and yes, we won of course.



Day EIGHT – Friday 28th July


A sad day, our last full day in Kandersteg.  It seems to have flown even though we have done so much. But never the less, we got up and went up for breakfast and then went to do the mornings activity.  We were doing crafts.  There was a choice of stone work, where you could carve and shape a stone to make into a necklace or something.  There was also leather work where you could use stamps to produce certain pictures or letters and make them into woggles or bookmarks.  The other thing you could make was either a badge, key ring or magnet.  I made two magnets and had ago at the leather work but found it quite hard.  We then went for lunch and because we were staying on site we didn’t need a pack lunch which meant no sandwiches.  So instead we had chicken in a creamy white source with rice.  It was really nice and it was toped off with a fruit salad for pudding.

After lunch we did some work towards our eco challenge award badge.  While at Kandersteg there are award badges people can work towards while staying at the camp site.  We had done enough work with all the activities and things we had talked about to achieve four badges.  These were the K.I.S.Challenge badge, Swiss Mini-Adventurer badge, Kandersteg Adventure Challenge badge and the eco Adventure Award badge which we were to complete this afternoon.  We started by going on a eco trail around the centre.  This taught us facts about the environment and problems that are occurring and how to help these problems and what KISC does to help the environment.  After the trail we all sat in the eco room and talked about what we had learnt and how as individuals we can help to protect the environment.

After we had completed this we all went back to our site and started to pack up our stuff ready for home in the morning, this was the first time I realised I will have to leave this dream land.  Then at 8 o’clock I put on my camp blanket and set off the camp fire.  This was the biggest and smallest camp fire I have ever been to.  The biggest because there were loads of people from all over there sat around, but the smallest because they had  one of the smallest camp fires ever.  It was nothing like a Spen Valley camp fire.  Everyone was signing and having fun though.  I thought it was ace.  Every group had to get up and do a song or act.  Our group did ‘There aint no flies on us’ and ‘Elemental movement’.  Not many people knew ‘Elemental movement’ as it was new to me this week to but everyone was joining in anyway same as when we didn’t know other groups songs.  The camp fire was ended with the Pinky’s (staff) doing a song that was slightly adapted to what we do at the Gang Show.  ‘If I were not in Kandersteg…’ and each Pinky had a line and some actions about what they would rather do if they were not in Kandersteg.  I found it really good and funny.

We came back to site to have one last group circle.  The Explorers on behalf of all the Scouts and Explorers had a gift for all the leaders which was a bottle of Champaign and a card to thank all the leaders for the best camp ever, which it truly had been.  After that we sang 5th’s theme song which was very fitting for the camp.  We sang Green Day’s Time of our life.  The only thing missing was Graham’s guitar but it was fine with out it.  I was having and had the time of my life being on this camp.



Day NINE – Saturday 29th July


A week to the day we arrived in Kandersteg knowing we had the biggest adventure to experience ever through the week to come.  And now we’ve lived that week and come to the end of it.  This was the saddest day of the week as we were setting off for home even though I could call Kandersteg home because I have had the most amazing time here.  Not one bit of it has been bad and I would defiantly go back no matter what it takes.

We finished packing up and put down a couple of tents to help out and were stood ready for the bus’s arrival at 11 o’clock.  Anyway 11 o’clock came and we found out the bus was running late and wasn’t going to get to Kandersteg till1 o’clock which I thought ace, we get to stay in Kandersteg a bit longer so we all started playing games.  Some of us were playing table tennis and some of us were board games and others were playing twister on the grass.  I started off by playing table tennis and then went on to play Scrabble where I came out with some impressive scores considering I had never played the game before.

Time went on and 1 o’clock was fast approaching and we had heard the bus had been delayed again and it wasn’t going to be here till 3 o’clock.  The other leaders couldn’t believe it and a bit angry but I was happy we got to stay a little longer.  We started playing cricket until we lost the ball in the river.  Eventually the bus came and sad as it was we were leaving Kandersteg.  On our way home we had one more stop for fun in Thun.  But it was getting on in the afternoon and most place’s were closed.  We all had tea here together which I got a bit of stick as we went to McDonalds.  I had teased everyone that I had had McDonalds while in Bern and now we were all going to McDonalds and they could all say they had had one too.  But still they only had had one.  Heehee!  After that we all had ago on a Ferris Wheel which went up quite high but it was a good last view of Switzerland from high up.  We then made our way back to the bus and for our trip home. 

The best thing about this day was yet to come though.  Little Ollie who was sat across the isle and a seat back started to sing Time of our life again and it made me think of everything we had all done and all I wanted now was to be back in Kandersteg because it had been the greatest time ever there.



Day TEN – Sunday 30th July


Yet another sleepless night on the coach to add to the trip to Switzerland.  But I wasn’t the only tired person on the coach by far.  We got the 8:50 ferry from Calais to Dover.  While on the ferry we had our breakfast and it was good.  A proper English breakfast, sausage, bacon, egg, beans, fried toast, tomatoe and chips to top it off.  It was very nice.

Before we knew it we were back in England and stearing up and at one of my favourite sites before we visited Kandersteg.  The White Cliffs of Dover.  It’s something that tells me I am home in England.  Now our first destination was Bramhill to drop off the second group that had come with us on the same bus.  It took only a couple of hours to get there as it was only just a little to the south west of London.  After that was a five hour trip home.  It want much more as we were more lucky with the traffic on the way home compared to the last couple of hours we had a DVD top watch but not many were watching it.  Most were to tired.  We eventually got back to Gomersal at 5 o’clock.  Only two hours late to what we had said we would be returning which was really good as the bus was four hours late getting to us.

And that was the end of our trip.  A trip that would be remembered by all for having what the trip had been called.  The Time Of Our Lives.

5th Spen Valley Scout Group, Gomersal, West Yorkshire.
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