A GROUP of 54 Explorers, Scouts and adult volunteers from Ottery St Mary have recently returned from a trip of a lifetime.
The group travelled from Ottery to the Dutch city of Delft staying in the historic Scoutcentrum Kruithuis from whi- ch they enjoyed an action packed nine-day adventure.
John Green, Explorer leader, said: “The youngsters enjoyed a wide variety of activities, including a day cycling around Kinderdijk to visit 19 working windmills; a day trip to Moviepark in Germany; indoor go-karting; a visit to Amsterdam, a trip to the Gouda cheese market; Europe’s largest indoor water park; wind surfing and launching themselves off a ski ramp into a lake.
“The young people from Ottery had the chance to meet up with Scouts from France who spent a few days camping at the centre; together they enjoyed activities and games in the water and on land.”
The group took the opportunity to visit the Passchendaele museum in Belgium, exactly one week before the centenary of the start of the battle of Passchendaele.
The museum gave a real insight to the Scouts and Explorers of life in the trenches with actual recreated trench networks in the grounds.
The group then travelled to the Tyne Cot Commonwealth Cemetery which is the largest WW1 cemetery in the world.
Prior to visiting Belgium, the Scouts and Explorers had a presentation from the Ottery Heritage Society who had identified the names of five soldiers who had died in the battles and originated from Ottery St Mary and surrounding villages.
Bruce Harvey, Scout Leader, said: “It was fitting that the young people could see for themselves the names of the five soldiers on the memorial stone that they had learnt about during the presentation from Jim Woolley from the Ottery Heritage Society.”
The group also took the opportunity to visit the German cemetery at Zonnebeke so the young people could see the differences in the way the Germans remembered their fallen from WW1.
For many of the young people this was their first international trip away from their family.
For a few of the adult volunteers this was their last international trip as they stand down from roles they have held for many years and which have included the four previous international expeditions. It is hoped that the new teams will continue the international adventures in due course.