Page last updated at 02:21 GMT, Sunday, 10 January 2010

Scouts brave the ice for annual winter camp

Scouts brave the big freeze

The ice and snow have not put off everyone from venturing outdoors.

Around 2,500 Scouts and leaders are braving the sub-zero temperatures at a winter camp at the the Scout movement's national campsite in Essex.

They hammered their tent pegs into the frozen ground at Gilwell Park near Chingford and slept under canvas.

As well as outdoor pursuits ranging from trampolining to quad biking, they have been helping local people who have had trouble getting out.

During the day they have kept warm with activities ranging from trampolining to rope climbing, and there has been time for the traditional camp fire sing-song.

The Winter Camp provides the opportunity for Scouts to take part in over 70 adventurous activities.

'Be prepared'

"It's a bit cold but there's a great atmosphere," said 14-year-old Fraser from Wrexham.

"When you're in your clothes and your sleeping bag it's not all that cold. There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing."

Another scout, Jordan, added: "We were quite warm because we had lots of sleeping bags, we even doubled up on sleeping bags for extra warmth."

Grace, 15, from north London, said everyone was having a laugh and there were snowballs everywhere.

"I don't think it's been too cold because everyone's taken precautions, like so many layers, so many pairs of gloves. People are so big because of all the layers they've got on."

Organisers considered cancelling the annual event, but decided that with the roads to the campsite clear and no more snow forecast over the weekend, they could minimise the risks for the young people.

They also wanted to pass on the message that it is worth persevering no matter how tough the conditions.

Chief Scout Bear Grylls said: "Every young person deserves an adventure.

"It's great to see that so many young people are going to get stuck into adventurous activities like climbing, abseiling, quad biking and having a go on the high ropes, all in the coldest month of the year."

While the campsite boasts modern features such as simulated snowboarding, the traditional scouts' motto "be prepared" is still observed.

One young scout came to the rescue of a BBC reporter when the freezing temperatures drained the batteries of his recording equipment, providing replacements from his kit bag.

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