Suffolk Young Farmers: Jellyfish alert for Juniors at Thorpeness camp-out

All the juniors building up to meet the jellyfish population!

All the juniors building up to meet the jellyfish population! - Credit: Archant

So harvest has flown past and, for the majority of our farming members, the crops have been gathered and the autumn work has commenced, writes Suffolk Young Farmers co-ordinator Tory Lugsden.

Oscar getting to meet the Eagle Owl.

Oscar getting to meet the Eagle Owl. - Credit: Archant

I’m sure that most farming types are currently performing various types of rain dance hoping for some moisture to get the newly planted crops growing, but if we could wait until after next weekend’s Junior Neon Paint party that would be lovely!

It is with great delight I can report that we took 36 juniors to Thorpeness camping and luckily we managed to send all 36 home again, albeit fairly bedraggled, grumpy and pretty exhausted.

We were so lucky to have lovely weather for the event so we started off by getting the camp set up and all tents secured against any dramatic seasonal weather before a stroll off to Thorpeness Meare.

Our apologies to anyone hoping for a romantic, peaceful morning rowing on the meare; we saw many renditions of the Titanic moment (the “King of the World” bit on the bow, not the sinking, fortunately), a lot of rocking, some swan pursuits and a lot of giggling and laughter. Everyone managed to return fairly dry apart from Izzy who managed to be the main target for any splashing.


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Off to the beach for a picnic lunch we all went and, having had to virtually force feed them all before they were allowed to move, they all made the freezing trip into the sea. As intrepid and loyal staff members, Helen and I took on the Baywatch roles including bikinis and followed suit to ensure the safety of our beloved juniors. We, unfortunately, hadn’t taken into account the plethora of jellyfish currently residing in the local sea and a scream from Helen of “Jellyfish” resulted in a mass staff sea exit only comparable to that moment of the “shark” call in Jaws. Five jellyfish stings later and it was decided that perhaps the sea wasn’t such a good option and we made our way back to camp.

Huge thanks to Broadwing Bird Control for bringing their fantastic birds of prey for the members to meet and even hold and watch in action. There was quite a lot of squawking going on, mainly from the female juniors and not the birds, but most people got the opportunity to hold a bird of prey and some of us even had the privilege of becoming a perch for them. I can admit now I was fairly terrified but, in retrospect, it was amazing to have a Harris Hawk land on me!

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After a delicious evening meal of fish and chips, a film for those who wanted to, chatting and kite flying for others, darkness fell and it was the turn of the Orwell Astronomy Society to show us the stars, the meteor shower and the moon, Saturn and Uranus close up. Amazing.

Lights off officially at 1.30am, the talking finally stopped about 3.30am (ish) and a final slip and slide championship with the seniors taking more joy from this than any of the juniors and campout 2016 was done.

Thanks to our senior helpers and especially to Helen for fantastic organisation. And off we go again, into our busy season and YFC revs up all over again.

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