«Raft train». Photo: Pål Stagnes

Scout camp on rafts

First week of July the scouts from Fagerstrand Scouts when on an adventure. During one week we should build our ownrafts, sail 100 km on Swedish river Klarälven and defeates hordes of mosquitoes.

21 scouts and leaders from Fagerstrand Scout group started Sunday June 29th on this year’s adventure. During a week we would build our own rafts and sail these 100 km down the river Klarälven in Swedish Värmland. Ahead of us lay an exciting journey with groundings, crashing with trees and emergency repairs. And to top it all off mosquitoes, lots of mosquitoes.

Upon arrival Gunnerud and Vildmark i Värmland on Sunday we received information about how the rafts would be built, the journey on the river and public rights. The first night we spent the night in a bivuoac at the assembly site.

The next morning we had do get up early to get ready for the bus departure to the construction site at Branäsäng. It was a quiet and sleepy gang who traveled by bus to Branäsäng located about 100 km north of Gunnerud. At arrival it was only to get started rolling logs down to the water. It takes many logs to build a raft. The raft is built in the water and on real scout manner neither nails or screws were used, only rope lashings.

The raft is built in three layers and of two elements. The first layer is built with the thickest logs. It is important that the logs are tightened together since it is this layer that is forming the raft’s “foundation.” The next two layers are built with thinner logs. After finalizing the first raft element it was just to go ahead with item number 2. When both elements are constructed thet are connect to each other. Finally the gunwale and A-frames of the tent are lashed. When all the work is finished, simply hang up the rescue buoy and make ready for sailing.

All four rafts were built during a day of hard work. Since everyone was tired after the building and no one had experience with sailing rafts we decided to stay in Branäsäng and cast off the next morning.

The next morning we were up early to cast off. We had to be away from the construction site before new builders were ready for action.

Already on Branäsäng we got acquainted with the mosquitoes that would persecute us for the entire trip. Luckily we had been warned in advance that there were a lot of mosquitoes and mosquito hats had been purchased for all. It turned out that this was the best investment for the entire trip. On the river the day we relax away bloodsuckers, but at night and early morning they were there in hordes. Despite hefty use of repellents we could hear the beating of wing from the mosquitos buzzing around us and considered us as a kind of standing buffet. But tough scouts are not stopped by mosquitoes and other flying insects.

Our journey down Klarälven was a real adventure with several groundings and crashes with trees that lay beyond the river. On several occasions we had to work hard to get away from rocks that suddenly appeared and which had a magical attraction to our raft. The same power of attraction as it appears that some of the trees along the river also had, and that we on several occasions had to chop us loose. One contact was so rough that I feared that the raft would receive major damages. There was only one thing to do, get cut us loose as quickly as possible. The scouts were sent into the tent told to lie down in crash position. Head down and hands to cover their head.

A hard grounding and our encounter with vegetation inflicted the raft with so big injuries that we had to “seek emergency harbor” in a backwater to repair the damages. It was just to jump into the water and start the repairs. After several hours of work the raft was once again seaworthy and we could sail on.

We lost some time along the way and to bring us back into schedule we had two sailing nights. This way we got away from the worst hoards of mosquitoes too. To sail down the river at night was a awesome experience that most people only can dream about.

Bilde fra sporingssiden.
Picture from the tracking site.

For family and friends who could not join us on the adventure, we had set up a special website where they could follow our journey. Using APRS trackers and an on board carried I-gate with an Ice modem we laid out our position. It was also possible to follow our adventures on the scout groups Facebook page. This has to be called modern scouting?

THANKS TO SCOUTS AND LEADERS FOR AN AMAZING JOURNEY!

 

See the film from the journey here:

 

We made it!

 

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