Baden-Powell Council BSA
at the
1998 Blair Atholl Patrol Jamborette

This was the second trip to the Jamborette for myself (Troop 80 Scoutmaster Mike Brown) and my assistant Pete Cowan, and we were looking forward to seeing new sights and renewing old friendships. We had a full patrol this time: six Scouts from across the newly merged Baden-Powell Council - Andrew from troop 30, Newark Valley; Jamie and Morgan from Troop 5, Binghamton; Dan from Troop 80, Cortland; and Doug and Ryan from Troop 79, Homer.

We'd spent a lot of time planning for the trip. The first Scouts were signed up early in the fall of 1997, and the patrol was full within a period of only a few weeks. The first meeting of the contingent was held in December, and we immediately began talking about where we would go during our tour and what we'd see. "Dolly the Sheep" got some early promotion, for some reason. Conwy Castle was selected after watching David MacCauley's "Castle".

The Scouts who went on the 1996 trip felt that we could have used an extra day touring, and would have liked an extra day of home visitation, so the first move was to stretch the trip by a few days. Continental Airline's new Glasgow to Newark service allowed us to leave from Scotland rather than having to drive back to London as we had in '96, so we were able to fit in the extra day of visitation without actually adding a full day. The Warden of Beaudesert Scout Camp saw the 1996 web page, and sent an e-mail inviting us back. Baden-Powell House in London was full, but Dockland Scout Project wasn't, York Scout Centre was unavailable, but there was a Scout Hut… And so it went.

During the winter and spring of 97-98, we continued to meet, watching videos and reading guidebooks, and surfing the web for new ideas as I wrote around for reservations. Finally, as the time approached, each Scout got a package of information about one day of touring, becoming our official "instant expert" for that day's destination. There were the usual mixups with reservations, but our very determined travel agent Bev Baker got them all straightened out in plenty of time.

With tickets in hand, July arrived before it seemed possible, and we met at the Howard Johnson's parking lot in Binghamton on July 14, 1998, to carpool down to Newark Airport. We piled into two cars - six Scouts, two leaders, and six parents and siblings, and drove to Newark. Eight PM finally arrived, and we filed aboard Flight 28 to London Gatwick. I'd warned the Scouts to try to sleep as much as possible on the way over, but they were much too excited to take the advice. I was able to catch a few hours shuteye - but for two meals and a movie - and dawn came, with London under our wings.

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