All aboard HMS Belfast
30 intrepid and very excited cubs and 6 leaders from both of 1st Park Street cub packs and from the 1st Bricketwood scout group traveled into the heart of London on Friday 23rd March to enjoy the experience of sleeping on HMS Belfast for a night.
Traveling from Radlett to Blackfriars was for many the first time that they have experienced the joys of public transport during Friday rush hour, but they were overjoyed with the sights of London once stepping off the train. With their bags on their backs, the group took a leisurely stroll through the nearby streets on the north side of the Thames to then cross to the south side via the Millennium bridge also know as the wobbly bridge, stopping to view the sights and take the obligatory tourist photo. Once upon the south bank we meandered through the groups of Japanese tourists and stressed London workers to view sights such as the Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe, The Clink Prison Museum, and The Golden Hinde.
Our final destination and home for the night - HMS Belfast. Once on board we were greeted by the wonderful Gary, the group's ship porter for the evening, who escorted everyone to their lodgings below deck. Having stowed away their kit and set their bunks ready with sleeping bag, pillow and cuddly toy, Gary led the way up the various ship stairs to the officers mess to start the evening activities.
The ship's teachers, Christine and Chris, started with an overview of what life upon the ship would have
been like as well as the uniforms the men would have worn and how they would communicate between ships with the use of flags. The cubs had the chance to make their own mini flag pole and flag message. The group was then split into 2, one group staying in the room to design and decorate a mug to take home, as the other toured the various key rooms that controlled the ship, swapping once completed.
Following the evening activities the cubs were pleased to enjoy a mug of hot chocolate and a muffin before heading off to bed. The morning was greeted with as much excitement as the previous evening and once dressed and washed the ship staff allowed the group out of their room to head off to breakfast at 8am.
Once fed and equipped with their coats, cameras and money the cubs started their wandering around the local area with their first stop walking over Tower bridge to the cobbled road out side The Tower of London and to Traitors Gate. The group proceeded to walk around the outside of the Tower until once
again they went onto Tower bridge to start their Tower bridge tour of its two walk ways with their glass floors, followed by viewing the pump rooms that powered the opening of the bridge to allow ships to pass up and down the Thames.
After a quick shopping spree in the shop, the cubs headed back to the Belfast for a quick look around the parts of the ship that they were unable to view the previous evening, took group photos and collected their bags for the journey home, stopping off en route for a pizza before hopping on the train back to Radlett.
Park Street's GSL Christopher Holliss who accompanied the cubs on this wonderful experience praised the cubs' behavior which was, as we have come to expect, exceptional. A huge thanks as always should go to all the leaders who helped this trip run so smoothly, and in particular Paul Drussel cub leader of Birchwood pack on organising the whole trip.
Thank you also Petra & Neil McMillan and their cubs from our sister group 1st Bricketwood Scout group who came along and helped make the trip even more fun. We look forward to many more joint trips in the future.