The last two camps of the 2016 Free Church Youth Camps programme wrap up today as campers and leaders get ready to make their way home from North Uist Extreme Sports and Kincraig Kids camps.
Over 300 campers have taken part in this years camps, supported by over 100 leaders and cooks from across the UK.
Rev Lachie Macdonald leads the camp in North Uist and shared a little of what the team had planned for this week at camp.
“The activities at this camp are second to none”, said Lachie. “From kayaking in the many inlets surrounding the centre, to rock climbing and abseiling on nursery crags, and traversing across a gorge with the sea below. There’s also coasteering (like orienteering but in a wetsuit with swimming, scrambling, climbing and pier jumping thrown in), rubber tubing behind the rib, and pier jumping. Lachie is the current record holder: 72 jumps in one afternoon!
The climax of the week's activities is 'The BIG Abseil', where campers are transported by rib out to one of the Maddies, sea stacks just at the mouth of Lochmaddy bay. Once safely off the boat and onto the rocks, they scramble to the top of the 100-foot sea stack and proceed to abseil down the sheer side into the sea, then swim back out to the boat.”
The Uist camp is supported by a team of leader from all walks of life, and all parts of the world, with previous team members having come to serve from America and Peru! “We've had teachers, university lecturers, nurses, doctors, firemen, students, and more,” said Lachie. “I’ve been a leader at this camp since 1999, missing only 2005. Bob Akroyd is, well, a part-time leader at best, although he was a founding leader of the camp in 1998. Ailie Holmes, a teacher from Stirling, has also been coming to the camp since around 2000. Many campers return to the Uist camp more than once, and many of the leaders come back year after year – it must be worth it!”
Lachie and the team have their fair share of stories to tell from a near 20-year experience of running the Extreme Sports camp. “In the 18 years that the North Uist camp has been running, you can imagine that there is an abundance of stories that could be told. “Where to begin?! There has been the famous tubing, ‘what's on the island’ challenge, the Berneray rally stage, pier jumping in a force 10 gale, Mohican haircuts, the Dutch bus driver who got the camp and its bus into the North Uist games for free – you name it, there are stories that could be told! But in all of this we are thankful to God for His protection over the camp and the way in which He has continued to bless many of our lives, even when camp has come to an end.”