6th Finchley

Note: Based on some of our findings and the belief that Groups were numbered in the order they were formed, it is more than likely that there was an earlier Group called the 6th that closed prior to the formation of this 6th Finchley. Indeed the 1921 census, the earliest we have, shows a 6th Finchley Cub Pack with 16 Cubs and 2 Leaders, but there is no Group recorded in 1922.

This 6th Finchley is recorded as having been formed in 1923 and there is a photograph of the Cub Pack camping in Worthing that year. There are then more photographs of the boys camping at Stanmore during 1925.

There is no evidence to identify a founder of the Group although it is known that they were affiliated to St Mary at Finchley Church. The 1923 census states that the two leaders, a Mr Isaacs and William Kelsall were looking after 19 Cubs, and by 1925 Mr & Mrs Isaacs were catering for 24 Cubs.

By 1926 Miss D L Race had taken over as the Cubs’ leader and later that year, despite being the smallest Pack in the District, they won the Lady Peat Shield for sports.

During 1926 the Troop got started (or restarted, as stated in the District annual report), and by the end of September there were 14 Scouts and 2 Leaders. The District report states that after a period of suspension (presumably shortly after they got going), they were now doing well with 3 Rovers from the ‘Hiawatha’ Troop in Hendon looking after them.

The District report also states that during the winter months the Cub Pack won the Inter Pack Competition.

Equipment for The Den, initially located in Dollis Park, was provided by a Group Committee, and this Committee evolved into a seemingly tireless Ladies’ Committee who organised fundraising events. An early Jumble Sale raised the sum of £12.10s.

During the early part of 1927 H Arthur Miller became the Scoutmaster. His warrant was approved in July and by September he had completed the second part of his training. In the interim period he had taken the Troop on a Summer Camp in Guernsey.

The Scouts entered the sports competition in June but with such a young membership did not feature. However the District’s annual report states that ‘the Troop is now in a very flourishing condition’. The report also says the Cub Pack won the Inter Pack Competition again.

In December the Ladies’ Committee continued their fundraising work with a very successful Bazaar that was followed in the evening by a Camp Fire Sing Song.

The fundraising continued into 1928 and the Ladies’ Committee organised Whist Drives, a Sale of Work (which had raised £35.00), a Rummage Sale and some Dances. However, there was always something that needed money to be spent, and with the Troop being £20 overdrawn an appeal for funds was made and some older Scouts sought jobs.

The Group held their Summer Camp at Sandplace near Looe in Cornwall. There is no report of this but a few photographs have been found. The Group continued to grow and by the time of the census in September the number of Cubs was 20 and the number of Scouts was 26.

The Cubs won the Inter Pack Competition for the third year in a row.

In December the Group turned their hand to entertainment and put on a show that involved all of its members. Positive press reviews were published in the 3 local papers: Finchley Press, Finchley Times and the Hendon Times.

It is not known exactly when, but around this time, the Group moved to a new ‘Den’ located above the Slaughter House in Albert Place, Finchley. It is also not known exactly when khaki and maroon became the official colours of the Group scarf but photographs up until 1929 would suggest that a different combination was being worn.

6th Finchley

A Fish and Chip Supper had become a tradition with the Group and 1929 began with one of those occasions. It followed a visit from the London Rover Commissioner who gave an inspiring talk to the Scouts and several other leaders from the District, including Dr Killingback, the acting District Commissioner.

The year continued with a Whitsun camp at Rickmansworth and on this occasion there was both a report and a couple of photographs. Shortly after there was another weekend camp, this being at Stanmore and styled in the form of an inter-patrol competition. The Cubs were not to be outdone and also went camping, but the location is not known.

The Group continued to grow with the number of Cubs being 30 and the number of Scouts being 28. They both entered their respective sports days; the Cubs at Woodhouse School and the Scouts at Christ’s College playing fields, but neither did particularly well.

The main event of the year though was the World Jamboree held at Arrowe Park in Birkenhead. District records show that Finchley joined forces with Hendon and Golders Green and sent a contingent of 50 boys under the leadership of Mr R Tuck the District Scoutmaster. Half of the number were from Finchley, with Scouts from the 6th taking at least 15 places.

The Cubs could not manage four wins in a row and finished as runners up in the Inter Pack Competition.

In February 1930 Arthur Miller took on the role of Group Scout Master (GSM) and G S Campbell became the new SM.

What the Group lacked in finances they certainly made up for in enthusiasm, with 1930 being one of their busiest years. The Troop managed a staggering variety of activities: camps, hikes, Fish and Chip suppers, a debating union and football to name a few. Not to be outdone, the Cubs were also kept busy with their programme including a display of country dancing!

After an Easter hike their focus was on the Scout and Guide week at the end of April. This was a joint event being run by the two organisations at a local level to stimulate more interest. Events were held every night of the week and culminated in a fair on the Saturday. The 6th were in action on the Monday taking part in a concert at the Victoria Hall; the Cubs performed ‘A Catastrophe In Shadows’ and the Scouts performed a humorous short play entitled ‘A Man In A Bowler Hat’.

In May the Troop were declared the winners of the Cadogan Shield, a points based competition to determine the best Troop of the year. A celebratory supper held at the By-Way restaurant followed. During the evening the opportunity was taken to welcome W G Way, a new ASM, who had specific responsibility for the older Scouts, who were referred to by the Group as ‘The Senior Troop’.

At Whitsun the Troop camped at their regular Stanmore site and in June entered the District Sports, which proved more successful than on previous occasions as they finished in fourth place. There are press cuttings for both of these events.

On the 5th July the District held a Rally at the Gun Station to promote Scouting in the area. Most Groups took part with the 6th Finchley Cubs performing a Punch and Judy show and the Scouts exhibiting a model campsite. The Troop also gave a gymnastic display.

The Troop went to Jersey for their summer camp. Whilst there are some photos there is no report.

After the summer break extra activities included their own swimming gala (with a difference), was held. Events included an obstacle race and one where the boys swam in their pyjamas and had to complete a length of the pool with a lit candle. In November another show that consisted of sketches and short plays was staged.

1931 was another good year for the 6th, if only because they secured a new permanent home as their headquarters. The Group completed negotiations with the local Council and moved from above the slaughterhouse to the old stable block at Avenue House. When the owner, Henry Charles (Inky) Stephens, son of the inventor of the famous black ink, died in 1918 he bequeathed Avenue House to the people of Finchley. It opened in 1928 nearly 10 years after his death with the stable block finally being made available to the Scouts. This really came just at the right time, with the number of Cubs having reached 30 and the number of Scouts up to 41.

It was converted by the Scouts themselves at a cost of £75 with the upstairs room being used as the Senior Troop’s Den; a ‘home from home’. £50 of the money was lent by St Mary’s Church and the Group set about raising funds to repay the debt.

In March another show was put on: ‘A Performance of Plays’ which included ‘A Catastrophe In Shadows’ and ‘A Man In A Bowler Hat’, both of which were performed during the Scout and Guide week the previous year by the Cubs and Scouts respectively.

Over the Easter weekend the ‘Senior Troop’ went hiking in the Chilterns.

After the St George’s Day Parade the Scouts anxiously awaited the news as to who had won the Cadogan Shield for the year ending December 1930. Fortunately it was the 6th.

For Summer Camp the Troop divided itself between Juniors and Seniors, and the Juniors went to Bognor Regis. However, the Seniors were more adventurous and embarked upon a tour of Switzerland. A full report of their expedition appeared later in the press.

During October William Hemmings became an ASM and sometime during the following year took over as the SM.

In December the Group held another fundraiser that provided enough money to repay the Church. An ‘All British Bazaar’ was organised by the Ladies’ Committee and was opened by the film star Miss Dodo Watts. The ladies looked after the stalls selling a number of different items and the boys looked after numerous sideshows. Later in the evening a Dance was held.

The start of 1932 was a bit hectic and it is not clear as to the correct order of events. Some of the Councillors who had been influential in acquiring the old stable block paid a visit to the 6th in order to see what progress had been made. The visit was recorded in press report from which it appears that they were very impressed with the work that had been undertaken. The new headquarters was officially opened by the Rector, Rev. Bernays during what the press called a Gala Night.

Additionally the Group started their own Rover Crew. The core members were probably members of the ‘Senior Troop’ who had reached the maximum age for the Scout section. The ‘Senior Troop’ Den became the ‘Rover Den’.

Over the Easter weekend at the end of March a large contingent of Rovers went hiking, revisiting the area some of them had been on the previous year as members of the ‘Senior Troop’. Although there is no report it would appear from the photos that they covered quite a distance. Ewelme near Wallingford in the Chilterns was probably the starting point with the route being back towards London with a stop at Skirmett in Bucks.

The Ladies’ Committee continued with their fundraising with regular events and whist drives taking place.

As was usual, the winners of the Cadogan Shield for the previous year were announced after the St George’s Day Parade. On this occasion the 6th finished second, with the 10th Finchley as the victors.

There are more photos of a Whitsun Camp held at Stanmore. Again there is no report but it appears that both the Scouts and Rovers were present.

No written evidence has been found with regard to where the Scouts/Rovers camped during the summer, but there are some photos under the heading ‘Summer Camp 1932’ of boys at both Minehead in Somerset and Paignton in Devon.

On the 27th August the Group held what they called a Jamborina, a fun day in the Rectory Gardens, to raise funds for themselves and the Church Extension Fund. In addition to refreshments by the ladies there were several sideshows and a number of arena activities, including a gymnastic display. A substantial article about the event appeared in the local press.

On the 27th September the Group held their second swimming gala at Squires Lane Baths which once again included some strange events including an obstacle race. On this occasion there was also a swimming and diving exhibition by Eric Cox, the Kent County Champion, Mr L Gray from the Beckenham Swimming Club and Mr E Stratton the Kent County Breast Stroke Champion.

The census figures at the end of the month showed that the newly formed Rover Crew had 19 members, 2 of whom held warrants. The number of Cubs was 29 and the number of Scouts was 33. 

A very nice Group photo has also been found that was probably taken around this time.

Only two other bits of information have been found that relate to the remainder of the year. The first is that during October William Hall became an ASM and the other is that in December the Group held a Social Evening.

The first record found for 1933 refers to a concert the Group performed at the end of March. Originally scheduled for one night (Friday 31st March), there were more people wanting to attend than thought, resulting in an additional performance being given the following evening. This event was favourably received by the local press.

A dance was held the following month to raise funds.

The Cadogan Shield for 1932 was again won by the 10th Finchley with the 6th again being the runners up.

There are no reports of a camp or hike at Easter although there are some photos relating to a Rover camp over the Whitsun weekend when they camped at Ovingdean, an area close to Brighton. There are then more photos of the Rovers camping at Stanmore, although when is not known.

The Cubs won their sports that were held at Woodhouse School. Unfortunately there is no further information about this. There is also no information about the Scouts’ Summer Camp that, according to the District AGM report, took place in the Wye Valley. The AGM report also stated that the Group had made substantial progress throughout the year in badge work.

Group numbers had dropped slightly during the year with the Cubs down to 25 and the Scouts also 25. However the number of Rovers had remained the same at 19, including the 2 that held warrants.

On the 10th October the Group held their third annual Swimming Gala at the Squires Lane Baths. As usual it was a Gala with a difference and included the obligatory obstacle race. Once again there was a diving exhibition and on this occasion one of underwater swimming. The 2nd and 15th Finchley were invited to take part in a team race which was, not surprisingly, won by the 2nd Finchley who were thought to have some of the best swimmers in the District.

A month later the District Swimming Gala took place. Quite surprisingly the 10th Finchley won, beating the 2nd Finchley, who had won the Shield for the previous six years, into second place. It is not known where the 6th finished but they did have some reasonable results.

The main fundraising event organised by the Ladies’ Committee in 1933 was a Scout Market held on the 9th December. There were plenty of items available for purchase and the Rover Crew helped with the side shows. A dance they called ‘Shilling Shuffle’ was held during the evening in St Mary’s Infants’ School.

During January 1934 a warrant was approved for Mr Ernie Gough as an ASM and in April one was approved for Fred Davis, who had recently taken on the role of the Rover Scout Leader. These two appointments straddled a couple of fundraising dances that were held in February and March. 

Also during March the Group held their AGM when it was announced that during 1933 the Scouts had gained 26 proficiency badges. Three Patrol Leaders had also gained the King’s Scout Badge, the first to be awarded to members of the Group. Unfortunately the names of the PLs are not known.

The Rovers went on their annual Easter Hike and, as usual, there are some photographs but no report. Around the same time the Scouts were announced as the winners of the Cadogan Shield for the year ending 1933.

Both the Scouts and Rovers went to Beer in Devon for their Summer Camp. Although they were together most of the photos are of the Rovers.

Despite the lack of information for this year, especially the Cub Pack, the census figures confirm that they were still doing well with 20 Cubs. The Scouts numbered 24 and the Rovers 25, 3 of whom now held warrants.

There is, however, reference to a Group Show in December.

There is very little information about 1935 and what there is relates mainly to the Rovers.

Once again there are photos of an Easter hike but no report. The same applies to their Summer Camp that was held in Jersey and Guernsey, but only by a handful of the Crew.

According to the District AGM report the Scouts went to Minehead but there are neither photos nor a report.

Following the acquisition of the District Camping Ground there was much work to be done in preparing it to the required standard. Rovers were asked to provide help, which they did in two ways. The first was by providing manual labour and the other was to raise much needed funds. In this regard Bernard Brewer, a 6th Finchley Rover, played a key role by organising a couple of shows that many Rovers from other Groups took part in.

In January 1936 Ernie Gough took over as the SM and Mr R J Jeffery became an ASM. However, Miss D L Race who had been the CM for most of the Group’s life resigned. This was a great loss to the Group and the District as she was highly regarded as a leader. At the St George’s Day Parade, her last, she was presented with a Thanks Badge and a statuette as a gift. She was also made an Honorary CM.

The Troop was again announced as the winners of the Cadogan Shield. It was the third year in a row that they had won the trophy.

On the 23rd May the Camping Ground was officially opened, and like the other Groups in the District the 6th provided items for the Arena Displays. The Rover Crew gave a demonstration entitled ‘Camping as it SHOULD be done’ that was in contrast to the following item by the Finchley Rovers entitled ‘Camping as it should NOT be done’. The Scouts joined forces with the 9th Finchley Scouts for an item called ‘Grand Opening of the Bath’.

It is not known where the Scouts went for their Summer Camp but as has become the norm photos exist for the Rovers’ camp but with no report. The photos though show that time was spent in Bossington near Minehead in Somerset and Morval near Looe in Cornwall. Visits were made to a number of places including Porlock, Truro, Clovelly, Tintagel Castle and Land’s End.

Not long after the Rovers were back they were off again. There are more photos of them camping at Stanmore.

In October an ACM warrant was approved for Miss I Sheffield.

The first piece of information we have for 1937 is the show that the Group staged on the 18th and 20th March. The Congregational Hall was filled on both evenings and once again they received favourable press coverage.

Dances had again taken place during the winter months and the last of the season was held on 21st April. There were 120 people in attendance and a small profit was made.

Over the weekend of the 1st and 2nd May Arthur Miller, the GSM, played host to a Rovers’ Reunion at his cottage in Whiteleaf near Princes Risborough.  Five of the Crew went down on Saturday and bought all of the food for the weekend. On Sunday morning, while waiting for the others to arrive, a trip to the local was made to chat to William Robinson (Robo) about his forthcoming marriage. Later, there was plenty of reminiscing, walking and playing games.

On the 16th Robo was married, the first member of the Crew to do so. As a gift the Rovers gave a canteen of cutlery and a signed photo of the recent reunion.

It is known that the Scouts held their Summer Camp at Tintern, Monmouthshire but there is no report or photos and the exact dates are also not known.

There is a full report of the Expedition to Switzerland by 5 of the Rovers. They set off on the 10th July travelling initially to Ostend via Victoria and Dover. There followed a bit of sightseeing to fill the three and a half hours before the next leg of their journey. This was an overnight train journey to Thun where after breakfast they caught the Steamer to their campsite at Hilterfingen on the banks of Lake Thun.

Monday was spent getting the site in good order and shopping for food. They decided that they would have their evening meals at a local hotel so that they would be able to relax after their planned days out.

On Tuesday they took the Steamer across the lake to Interlaken and on Wednesday took the train to Bern, the capital. They visited the Minster, the Rose Gardens, the parliament building and the Bear Pits before climbing to the top of the hills overlooking the city.

On Thursday they were back on the Steamer. This time they crossed the lake to Spiez and then caught the train to Mulenen where they boarded the funicular railway to the top of Niesen, 7,767 ft high. The journey took 25 minutes and included a change half way when the climb became steeper. At the top there were children dancing and with it being a nice warm clear day they were able to enjoy a beer and the views. However, after a couple of hours the weather turned and with the rain and cloud they could not see three yards ahead.

The rain continued into Friday so they took the tents down and hung them in the barn to dry. They spent most of the day relaxing, playing cards and billiards and then slept in the farmhouse  

On Saturday they travelled to Kandersteg where they were to spend the remainder of their trip at the Scouts’ International Centre. By chance, upon arrival Ken Brewer met his brother Bernard, who was just leaving having spent a few days staying at a local hotel.

They had an evening meal at the Hotel Kreuse and spent time talking to some of the 96 Australian Scouts who were also staying at the Chalet. They had specifically travelled across the world for the Coronation of King George VI and the forthcoming World Jamboree in the Netherlands.

On Sunday the group resumed their trips. They went to Blausee and a Trout Farm. They also took the opportunity to hire some hiking boots for the days ahead.

The following day they tackled the Gemmi Pass, a 5 hour uphill climb in the baking hot sun. As if that was not enough they decided to continue to Wildstrubel Glacier. They needed the next day to recover and spent most of their time at the Chalet talking to other Scouts and looking at the ‘Aussies’ log book and photo album.

Wednesday was another fairly relaxing day. They made a short one and a half hour climb to Oeschinen Lake where they first enjoyed a swim. They then hired a rowing boat and headed straight to the waterfalls and got soaking wet going under them.

The next day was spent following the Kander along the Gasterntal Valley, an area that they thought to be one of the prettiest in that part of Switzerland.

Friday was spent shopping and relaxing and on Saturday they cleared up and said their goodbyes. The train left at 7pm for Basle where they had a 2 hour wait for the midnight train they thought was taking them all the way home. However, they were woken at 5am when they arrived at Luxembourg and made to alight. An hour later they were back on the same train and eventually arrived home at 8pm on Sunday.

A couple of weeks (5th August) later there was another wedding, this time William Hall, one of the ASMs and also a Rover. The marriage took place at Christ Church in Barnet and the press published a short report and a very nice photo.

Although there is no information about the Troop’s Summer Camp three photos have been found of them under the heading ‘August Camp Stanmore’. Another exists of the Rover Crew taken later in the year.

Unfortunately there is once again no specific information about the Cub Pack that relates to 1937.

The first dance of the new season took place on 2nd October at King Edward Hall. 176 people were in attendance.

In the middle of the month Bill Hemmings moved to Horsham and had to give up his role as SM. His position was filled by Ken Brewer while William Hall and Bob Jeffery continued as the ASMs.

Over the Christmas period the Rovers joined up with some of the other Rovers from the District to put on concerts at Finchley Memorial Hospital and later helped to serve a Christmas Dinner to the nurses.

The Rovers kicked off 1938 with 4 new members and a hike on the 9th January around Rickmansworth. Another followed on the 13th February in Surrey. They had lunch at Albury just outside Guildford and then did a circular trek via Newlands Corner and the Silent Pool at Shere. This was probably an old chalk quarry and is a popular place to visit where many feel an eerie stillness looking out over the still water surrounded by the evergreen box trees. Yet another hike followed another month later. Described in the Log Book as the most enjoyable ever the circular route started at Great Missenden, included lunch at Butlers Cross and tea at their GSM’s country cottage at Whiteleaf, before returning to their starting point.

On the 26th March the Group held their first Reunion. Apparently Miss Race, the old Akela of the Group, had been in conversation with Arthur Miller and been wondering how her old Cubs were getting on. Between them they then decided to form a committee to organise the event. More than 100 invitations were eventually sent out and more than 70 attended the occasion held at ‘The Den’, Avenue House. The supper consisted of Fish and Chips, which was a traditional once a year Group event. Time was spent looking over many old Log Books and photos before the evening ended with a sing song.

At the start of April four of the Rovers (Alf, Ken, Spen and Harry) went down the Thames in the hope of finding somewhere to camp during the summer and struck lucky. Between Datchet and Eton they came across a small island (Black Potts Ait) in the Thames that they thought would be a good location. The only disadvantage was that it was overrun with stinging nettles so there was work to be done before they could camp. Having obtained permission they returned on the 24th to start clearing the nettles and burning all they could. Two further visits were made during May to continue the task.

Saturday 23rd April was a busy day for some. Not only was it the St George’s Day Parade, at which the Rector Stewart F L Bernays gave the address but it was also the day that William Hemmings the old Scout Master got married with the Rector officiating. Additionally, in the evening Ken, Bern and Alf, who were taking part in Ralph Reader’s production ‘Boy Scout’  had to attend the final dress rehearsal.

On Friday 29th April a group of Rovers with some friends went to see ‘Boy Scout’ at the Royal Albert Hall. The Pageant tells the story of a boy who sees a Troop going off to camp and is attracted to Scouting. It covers his joining the Movement through to him attending a Jamboree, with his investiture scene including nearly 1,500 Boy Scouts.

Just over a week later the Group held a Jumble Sale, their first for several years. It made a much needed profit of just over £7, the equivalent of almost £400 today (2023).

Over the Whitsun weekend Ken took the Scouts to camp at Stanmore. As before there are a few photos but no report. At the same time a number of the Rovers attended a Moot at Gatton Park, where more than 5,000 were in attendance. On this occasion there are no photos but there is a report in the Log Book.

In June, like most of the other Groups, the 6th took part in the ‘Good Turn Rally’ that was held at the Camping Ground. This event was held to raise money for the Boy Scouts’ Fund, opened as a national tribute to the work of the Chief Scout Lord Baden Powell, so that for all time Scouting would be financially secure. The Rovers provided a lot of help in advance and on the day manned two side shows and acted as Stewards. The Scouts provided an arena display entitled ‘Col. Bustup’s Circus’, an item they had performed at one of their shows in the past.

The Scouts’ Sports were held on the 2nd July at Woodhouse School and had been organised by Bernard (Bern) Brewer, the District Sports Secretary and 6th Finchley Rover. The other Rovers from the Group acted as Stewards and Judges. The event was won by the 10th Finchley with Alan Jobling best athlete from the 6th, coming third in the High Jump, Long Jump and 100 yard sprint.

Despite all the work that the Rovers had undertaken on Black Potts Island they did not camp there during the summer. In fact they did not have an expedition that year, opting to have their own personal holidays. There is also no official record of a Scout Summer Camp, although more photos of some of the Scouts camping at Stanmore during August exist.

The District records show that around this time Miss C C Macy became the new CM, but like some of the previous years no other information about the Pack has been found for 1938. In addition to a new CM the Group also had a new GSM. Arthur Miller, who had been with the Group for 12 years resigned and his role was taken by Fred Davis.

Frank Miller, the ARSL, was disappointed that there had not been a camp on ‘the Island’ so from the 2nd – 4th September a jolly weekend camp was held there. All were very pleased that they did not need to spend any time cutting down nettles.

The census figures at the end of September showed that the Group was still in a fairly strong position. There were 20 Cubs, 18 Scouts and 10 Rovers, including 2 with warrants. In addition there was a note to say that another Scout from the 6th had gained his King’s Scout Badge. Once again though, the name of the Scout is unfortunately not known.

News relating to the end of the year is sparse but it is known that over the Christmas period the Rovers again enjoyed the festivities and helped at the hospital.

1939 started with the usual Fish and Chip Supper that was held on the 13th January.

From February attention turned to the Group show and nearly every Friday was spent with general preparation and rehearsal. There were two performances, one on Thursday 30th March and the other on Saturday 1st April. Favourable press coverage was again received.

Despite the lack of information about the Cub Pack there is evidence that they were progressing well, as after the St George’s Day Parade in April they were announced as the winners of the Inter Pack Trophy for the year ending 1938.

On the 3rd June Bernard (Bern) Brewer, another of the Rovers, was married. His brother Ken was the Best Man.

The Cub Sports was held on the 10th June and the Pack were victorious in winning the Lady Peat Shield.

On the 29th July seven Rovers (Spen, Jim, Frank, Ken, Alf, Bonc and Fred) set off on their Summer Expedition, a tour of Scotland, by car. Alf had an open air Austin Tourer and they hired a 12hp Hillman. There are several photos and the Log Book contains a very detailed report, the highlights of which follow.

The adventure did not get off to a great start as they set off at different times with a view to meeting up for the night at Stratford upon Avon. The idea was that once the first party arrived they would tell the local police where they were camping, but despite this the second party could not find them and ended up sleeping in the car. 

Nevertheless they managed to regroup after breakfast and eventually set off with a view to getting to Blackpool. When they realised that this was not going to be possible they stopped at Whitchurch and went for a swim at the local pool. It was then on through Chester and up the Wirral, where they found somewhere to camp between West Kirby and Hoylake.

After breakfast in town they went through the Mersey Tunnel and up the west coast to Formby where they were able to visit the oil field. This was the first commercial oil field in the UK which had recently been discovered but produced a small amount of oil at an ever diminishing rate and finally closed in the 1960s. When they eventually arrived at Blackpool they intended to visit the Tower but only got as far as the fun fair. 

They made a late start on Tuesday and set off for the Lake District. They had hoped to see more of Ambleside, Grasmere and Keswick but it poured with rain. They camped the night by the side of the aerodrome in Carlisle and went to a local dance in the evening.

The following day (at 11.20am) they finally crossed the border and went to Gretna Green, where they visited the shop but, because of the rain, did not bother with the Old Anvil. It was then through Dumfries and Kilmarnock before crossing the Clyde to Dumbarton. Not being able to immediately find a campsite they continued to Loch Lomond and stopped on the banks at Luss.

There was only one problem with Luss and that was the midges. They lit a fire and sat in the smoke to try and keep them away. The next morning they got off as quick as possible and found somewhere to eat their breakfast in peace. It was then on through Crianlarich and on to Ballachulish where they had lunch on the banks of Loch Leven while watching a man catch a swarm of bees. After lunch they moved on to Fort William and found a campsite at the foot of Ben Nevis.

The next day they tried to climb the mountain. Spen and Fred were the first to give up followed a bit later by Alf and Ken. Jim, Frank and Bonc managed to get to the top and while impressed with the view they were surprised to find a broken down meteorological observatory. The camp had been packed up by the time they had descended (5pm) and they set off immediately for Inverness where they found a nice spot in the corner of the garden behind an hotel.

Two nights were spent at Inverness. They went to a dance on the first night, visited Loch Ness the following day and spent the second night playing darts and cards.

On Sunday they continued north and had lunch at Invergordon. During the afternoon on route to Wick through Bonar Bridge, Helmsdale and Berriedale they started to experience brake problems with the Hillman and had to take things fairly easy.

The next day they went up to John O’Groats and then along the north road to Thurso and lunch. During the afternoon they started their journey south but with the brake problem getting worse they found a garage at Lairg. There they also managed to convince the YHA to let them stay, despite not being members and arriving by car.

With the brakes having been repaired overnight they returned to Inverness for another night before making their way to Aberdeen. The next day they set off for Edinburgh passing through Brechin, Forfar, Perth and Dunfermline. They just missed the ferry at North Queensferry so they spent time admiring the Forth [Rail] Bridge.

When they did eventually arrive in the city they could not find anywhere to camp. Instead they spent 3 hours relaxing in the cinema and at 11.30pm decided to drive through the night. At 4am they arrived in Darlington and after getting petrol went on to York for breakfast. Ninety miles later they were at Mablethorpe where they stayed for 2 nights.

Saturday was spent relaxing and on Sunday they made for home. They had lunch at the Blue Boar in Spalding and eventually arrived back at about 6pm. They did not record the total miles covered but said they used 85 gallons of petrol and 24 quarts of oil. The cost worked out to be £7 8s 5d each, about £400 in today’s money (2023).

During August, in anticipation of the war, some of the Rovers went to the hospital to help to fill sandbags. However, once the hostilities started they were all eager to do their bit and they split up, with some being called up and others volunteering for various duties.

The rest of the Group temporarily suspended activities but once things had settled down meetings continued on Saturday afternoons.

More to follow

 

Gallery

To view associated photographs and press cuttings click here.

Look up your local Scout Group, because you’ve got a safe, practical community who will encourage and support you.'
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls