Blair Atholl 1998

Due to other committments I was unable to attend the 1998 Blair Atholl Camp, but due to the kindness of other participants we now have some pictures and text as well as an link to an excellent report by Mike Brown of Troop 80.

The following Pictures are by permission of Graham Bell of Lanarkshire Area who attend Blair Atholl 1998 and supplied me with the pictures by email. Thank you Graham.

Following the pictures an editorial is from John Matsui an Eagle Scout and Senior Patrol Leader of Boy Scouts of America Troop 466, Sunnyvale, California.
John has attended the '96 and the '98 Camps and I suspect we shall see him back in 2000. Thanks for the material John.

For a Report on Blair Atholl from The Baden Powell Council, BSA (Freeville, New York) go to Blair Atholl 1998

Visitors Day at Blair!
Patrols on Parade, awaiting Inspection
All the fun of the Fayre!

A view of the camp site on the last day, looking towards the Camp Headquarters - despite the weather, witness the mudbath in the foreground of the picture, everyone enjoyed the experiences gained and they look forward to the Millenium Blair Atholl.

Information on year 2000 camp will appear in due course on the Scottish Headquarters Web Site

Blair Atholl started off wet and overcast in 98 (remember, I was there in 96) - no bagpipes to greet us off the train this time- I think we Americans were just about the last blokes to show (we like to be fashionably late), just the welcome unburdening of our bags/packs and the tree-covered driveway up to the camp.

Now, I had been telling my patrol (as I was the high-and-mighty Patrol Leader) of all the great things to expect at Blair, but the weather had been wet ever since arriving in Edinburgh two or three days before - and sort of "dampened " our spirits (you must remember that Californians really don't understand what rain really is until they have been to Scotland, even with El Nino).

Yet we soon found our patrol mates in the Morrison Subcamp (go Perth and Kinross! PL Alec, stop drinking Irn Bru - it has a strange effect on you [you know what I mean]), and to my great surprise, found Uncle Hair was once again subcamp chieftain, supported by Colin and one or two others from '96. We soon got well acquainted and settled in for a good, wet stay. Some trouble was barely averted when several staffers recognized the ubiquitous "Blair Atholl 1996" patch among the newly arrived Americans, but not without some, "We know you!" and "Oh no, not John!"

It did not take long for our joint patrol to collaborate on who the nicest lasses were in the subcamp (is it fate that our patrol never joins with a co-ed Scottish patrol?). Aside from the periodic rain (no, I am not going to stop mentioning about the wet stuff coming from the sky - we don't get much of that here, and it is my Constitunional right as an American to blather on about nothing and not be charged for it, so there!). Anyway, before I move on, I must say there were a couple of our lads from Santa Clara who managed to hit it off with several young Guides from Luxembourg and Ireland - now I admit that I did not form any such relationship (I was much too busy doing my Patrol Leader-like duties (that is why I am now Senior Patrol Leader responsible for seventy-five or so American Boy Scouts) - however, I was charmed by one young lady from the Renfrew - Inverclyde area.

All right, on to the activities. One thing quickly became apparent: by and large, Americans watch waaaaaay too much TV and are not as lean/sporty as our Scottish counterparts (as evidenced by who was mostly at the front of our cycle tour), but , after the Fifty-Mile Hike I survived this summer, at an average altitude of almost two miles, I can say that Scotland's mountains are not too much higher than hills in California. Other activities included Wilderness Survival (a new activity staffed by some Santa Clara Contingent 96 alumni), Atholl Experience (a somewhat nonsensical romp through the woods at breakneck speed shouting, "Atholl Experience!" with some short activities interspaced), electronics (make your own blinking woggle!), fishing, health and fitness (workout music never sounded more fun - just don't think about how silly you look to everyone else), hiking, visit to Pitlochry and Blair Castle tour. One thing I noticed which I believe was better in '96 was the emphasis on Scottish/Overseas paired night activities, although much did I labor to get our combined patrol to earn our White Cockade. We managed to teach our Scottish patrol mates what American Football is like (yes, you do use your hands most of the time - why its called football is beyond even me).

The visitors day was more or less a success until rain (yet again) cut the outside booth activities short (our patrol had a thriving stand dealing with throwing Nerf football-arrows through "hoops" for candy). [more reports about Blair camp itself as per further request]

Home hospitality, shared with another scout from Santa Clara and a great (long-suffering) Newburgh (Fife) Scout. My traveling companion managed to break one of our host's beds, though I believe all was forgiven - well, our host still has one of his CDs held hostage.... Our host family took us all over the Fife environs, from the golf courses of St. Andrews to Perth to Dundee, and even helped me to secure a made-to-measure kilt - I will always be grateful to them.

If anyone would like more information about Blair Atholl Scout Jamborettes, or reminisce about how great the whole "Scottish Experience" is, feel free to contact me.

John Matsui
Eagle Scout and Senior Patrol Leader
Boy Scouts of America Troop 466
Sunnyvale, California.


Blair Atholl 2000


Blair Atholl 2002


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