Here we are in Holland, not Hawaii: Hemel Hempstead scouts are having a high old time

Meet more than 110 members of Hemel Hempstead District Scouts who have been going Dutch during an activity-packed expedition to Holland.

The party of 113 have been making the most of a trip that took a full year to plan and organise.

Surf school for Hemel Hempstead scouts

Surf school for Hemel Hempstead scouts

Their first base was Buitenzorg, a scout campsite near the small town of Baarn, where they had to set up camp in the pitch dark.

Following a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast scouts – aged 11 to 14 – and older Explorer scouts, aged 14 to 18, were divided into small groups and along with their leaders spent the next two days taking part in various activities.

In true scouting tradition, pioneering poles were lashed together to make gateways into each subcamp and the local town of Baarn was visited on foot.

The wider area was explored by bicycle, with pre-planned circular routes of distances ranging from 15 to 40 miles.

In Holland cycling is often considered a preferred mode of transport so cycle tracks are plentiful, offering a safe way for the scouts to explore.

Armed with suncream, packed lunches and leg power, the young people set off on a journey that took them past traditional windmills, across small river ferries, a stop for a paddle on a beach, and through some stunning countryside.

Half of the group, mainly the younger scouts, took part in a 10 mile canoe expedition, heading downstream through open countryside, along a beautiful river.

During the trip they had to manoeuvre the boats past weirs, which involved them lifting the boats out and carrying them along the bank before dropping them back in and continuing their journey, finishing in the pretty town of Amersfoort.

The other, mainly older, group enjoyed a new experience – urban canoeing. They took a circular route along canals and rivers in and around Amersfoort, where they had to negotiate narrow and low bridges, and other river traffic.

The entire camp visited the seaside town called Scheveningen for a surf school session.

Following clear instruction by the tutors the scouts took to the open seas, surf boards in hand, to put into practise what they had learnt.

Many managed to actually stand up and ride the waves while others got as far as kneeling, and a few who simply enjoyed lying on the board and gliding back to shore.

They also visited a traditional Dutch village and enjoyed an energetic trip to the Fun Forest high ropes course.

Amsterdam, the Nemo Science Centre, an ‘eat-as-much-as-you-can’ pancake boat cruise and a day at a theme park are all on the timetable before a return to before returning to Hemel Hempstead late on Saturday via a chocolate factory in Brugge.