Hello! Welcome to the first DUSAGG newsletter, expertly put together by its creator, Andrew - thanks to him and to all the contributors. A big welcome is also needed for the hordes of new members who joined us, and alsos a farewell to all those who have moved on to pastures new.
As you will see, this term has been particularly stuffed with DUSAGG goodness, all up to the usual standard: aided and abetted by the committee. Unfortunately, the Venture Nightscheme competition didn't go ahead this year, but here's to next term's Scout competitions. Once again, I have been privileged to be president of this remarkable group of people, and I see great things for next year's prospective committee members - I think they'll do us proud. Have I got time to tell you the one about the......
The party: The band of timid but expectant fresher fought their way through the maze that is Trevs, eventually happening upon the Upper JCR room. We were introduced to the strange looking people in the room: all, coincidentally, members of the society. Then the silly games started, led by President Phil. Many were childhood favourites such as Cat and Mouse and Pass the Parcel, others were of Phil's invention for use with his cub pack (we found them too hard). Definately the best non-alcohol induced la ugh of Freshers' Week!
The hike: The slightly cold and very windy weather did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the 20 or so who boarded the slightly old looking bus to Hadrian's Wall. The walk took us over the more famous bits of the wall, with a rendition of Robin Hood: Pr ince of Thieves acting as a good excuse to push Phil into a tree. Navigation was hampered by the over-generous President giving the bus driver the best map! At the end of the walk, no bus could be found until a grey shape was spotted in the distance going up and down the road. Eventually it turned up.
We returned to Sedburgh for the second year running, with some good hiking weather. We had a couple of decent strolls: one to the Dent Brewery and the other was just around the local hills. We must applaud Peter and Ian who both sacrificed a wonderful d ay's hiking to slave in the kitchen, producing a sumptuous banquet of stew and dumplings (wasn't that the same as last year?) After tea, we all piled in the minibus for a trip to Blackpool. This pioneering DUSAGG event proved true to form: someone had turned out the lights. Never mind, we spent the evening hunting for the only rock shop open in Blackpool, and caused quite a stir among the natives due to our conspicuous dress.
This year's Venture Nightscheme only attracted two teams and therefore had to be cancelled. In future, DUSAGG should look at the form of the competitions: perhaps we should introduce a new competition that would be of more benefit. The VNS will be offer ed next year, but if there is similar apathy we should consider replacing it. I would however, hate to see the amount of involvement that DUSAGG has in the local community diminished.
This year, DUSAGG has approximately ten Guiders and six Scouters working with local Units. If you wish to work with a Unit here and have not been placed, please get in touch with me at the address below. DUSAGG members are providing a significant number of the local leaders, which is something we should all be proud of. I hope this continues to grow.
Through Mud and Blood to Glory? Well, almost. It started at 5:30 on a damp Saturday and ended up sixteen and a half hours later. In the intervening 40 miles we'd crossed streams, peat bogs, the Pennine Way and some fences that weren't on the map. In the process of getting totally soaked and covered in mud, we'd probably crossed some of the most beautiful parts of England but didn't notice, as all we could see was the fog that was playing a large part in getting us lost. It was without doubt the most painful day of my life, but it was well worth it, and I will never forget it. [Editor's comment: thanks to Helen who filled in at the very last minute]
We spent two hours on a snowy sunday afternoon 'running' up walls at the Newton Aycliffe indoor climbing centre. From the beginning when we could just about manage to traverse a low wall, we quickly improved to climbing up the high vertical walls one-han ded. However, the most exciting bit was always the abseiling to the ground at the end - as long as you didn't look down to see just how high you were!
We started at Claire's house in Gilesgate for a delicious carrot soup. Much convivial conversation later, we all traipsed down to Castle, for the main course with Ian. This consisted of jacket potatoes and beans, all expertly done on a 500W microwave! From Castle, Trevelyan college was the next destination for Pudding with the President, namely marshmallow with soured cream, tangerines and chocolate. It was an interesting experience. The last course was with Grace for coffee and mints, and lots of Abba and Simon and Garfunkel music.
This event started at the Swan and Three for a swift half, then we all proceeded solemnly (sort of) to the Three Tuns. With personalised menus, it was quite stunning to see how they had set up our room - it looked far too big to be for us. However, once we had all sat down, we were treated to a veritable banquet of Scotch, oh sorry, Durham Broth, followed by the standard turkey thing. The meal culminated in a delicious apple strudel, with Phil's most excellent speech over coffee and mints. Subsequently, we returned to the Swan and Three for half an hour, then Grace offered to make us all coffee at her house. We all sang lots of songs there: a mixture of carols, folk and popular songs, and even the odd Scouty-Guidey song.
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Written by Andrew Stribblehill