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Scout Camp in the Pyrenees

From the "Sussex Gazette", September 1965

Brian Wilson

The party embark at Newhaven MEMBERS of the Senior Troop of the 5th Lewes Boy Scouts at the Lewes County Grammar School for Boys have just returned from an adventurous camping holiday in the Pyrenees. They arrived back on Monday after three weeks in the mountains on both the French and Spanish sides of the frontier.

Mr. Derek Ives Although the boys were accompanied by a master, Mr D. B. Ives, and a former LCGS school-boy, Roderick Parker, who is now at Southampton University, they made all the arrangements themselves. The organiser was Stephen Symonds (Isfield), and other members of the party were Alan Ibbotson, Peter Cox, Roger Matthews, Brian Wilson (Newhaven), Bruce Upton, Alan Pett, Christopher Frost, Neil Garley, and Michael Coe (Seaford). The expedition was planned and each boy had a specific task, such as dealing with finance, food, transport, first aid, information, maps and equipment.

Sixth Trip

This was the sixth trip the Scouts have made. The first was also to the Pyrenees, and since then there have been camps in this country and a sailing holiday. The pary crossed the Channel by a Newhaven-Dieppe boat on August 15 and then travelled by trian through Paris to Luchon, where they made their base.

Each boy carried a pack weighing some 50lb., and cooking was done with Primus stoves. Most of the food for the holiday was bought in this country and carried in light-weight containers, the boys in each of the four tents cooking for themselves to cater for individual tastes, instead of having a communal cookhouse.

Originally the party had five tents, but on the second night one of some half dozen cows in the field in which they had camped decided to to investigate the new-comers. Its horns became entangled in a tent which was completely smashed. Fortunately there was no one inside at the time, and the four other tents had sufficient accommodation for the boys to sleep in comfort for the rest of the trip.

The main object of the expedition was to undertake some climbing and the party tackled five major peaks. The highest they climbed was La Malla Detta of 11,800 ft. On one occasion, when camping in the mountains the boys awoke to find the tents covered with 18 ins. of snow. Eventually they decided to dig themselves out and make a slow difficult journey back to the valley.

During a visit to the Spanish side the party ended up on a glacier and found they could make no further progress. They changed their route to avoid the treacherous ice but ran into more snow and thick fog. This decided them once more to return to Luchon, 'but it was all good fun and enjoyable' the boys agreed.

There was no hard and fast programme, and sometimes the boys split into two parties. While some went up into the mountains, other explored the valley running down from Luchon to St. Bernard des Comminges and the prehistoric caves at Gargas.

The party met a number of Spanish Scouts from Barcelona, who were staying in a mountain hut, and got on well with them, although the language problem proved a little difficult. They also found the people helpful and friendly.

There are a number of lakes in the mountains, making the scenery very attractive, and although the weather was naturally bad high up on the mountains the party enjoyed eight days of glorious weather in the valley. The three-weeks holiday cost each memberof the party about £20 and everyone considered they received full value for their money.

Does anyone have any interesting photos taken on this expedition ?