We have worked closely with the leadership team for over a year and struck up a remarkable friendship, this weekend was the first time meeting the scouts of SMESU, young people aged 14-18, and we were looking very much forward to our Nepal Expedition Training Weekend with SMESU.
One chilly morning Isha and I flew from London Gatwick up to a not much warmer Edinburgh Airport to stay with Neil Mackenzie the head leader of the South Morningside Explorer Scout Unit (SMESU). Neil runs SMESU with the help of other leaders such as Barry Hewitt, Ross Donald, Stuart Coyle and other hard working volunteers.
SMESU, part of the The Scout Association, is based in Edinburgh and it’s purpose is to develop fine young people, the unit are always looking to give their members the best possible development experiences which has extended to a programme of international expeditions, such as expeditions to Denmark (’05), Malaysia (’06), Switzerland (’07), Uganda (’09), Switzerland (’10), and Portugal (’12), where Himalayan Footsteps come in is to organise their expedition to Nepal in 2013.
Neil, Isha, and I were chatting in his flat about the weekend and the conversation didn’t take long to get on to food, especially delicious Nepali food, in a matter of minutes Isha and I had committed to cooking for the whole Scout Unit, no less than 50 people! So then we went shopping to Morrison’s before catching our coach to Auchengillan Outdoor Centre, near Glasgow, where the training weekend would take place.
Isha and I only had to supervise the cooking on Saturday night of our mega Nepali Meal, Rice, Dal, Potato & Cauliflower Curry, and a Chicken Curry, there were so many enthusiastic volunteers who wanted to help prepare and cook that actually Isha and I did very little and all credit for the delicious meal should go to the scouts. During the washing up it got a little crazy as you can see in this you tube video Washing Up Turns Into Kitchen Conga.
The whole weekend was packed with activities and planning for their trip to Nepal, Isha and I feel very lucky to have been invited as it was a real privilege to witness and be a part SMESU’s energy and family atmosphere. All the scouts are remarkable people and we left feeling inspired! More personally for me it was great to be reminded about Scouting again after about 17 years since I was last a Scout.