Silverdale Drift

Barry Edge recalls a memorable camping trip from his youth.

Barry Edge writes…

As a Boy Scout in Bucknall 3rd City I eagerly looked forward to camping come hail, rain or shine with Kibblestone my favourite place to be.

The memories of some of those scout camps remain indelible on my psyche…

Mr Ellis, our Scout Master, was in the electrical business; Mr Tyler, Assistant Scout Master, lived in Cornville Road, Bucknall – or his then girlfriend did (she was a Cub Leader at Bucknall); and Jimmy Ledgar, Assistant Scout Master, played football for Milton United and was a member of that team when it had a bit of a run in the FA Cup in the early fifties.

The memories of some of those scout camps remain indelible on my psyche.

When it came to camping Jimmy was ‘the fountain of all scouting knowledge’ – well, that’s what we Bucknall scouts believed. He called our camping trips ‘jolly jaunts’. If he said it was going to rain during camp we’d pack our wet weather gear and vice versa if he said it would be fine. But whatever happened, hail, rain or shine – and whether Jimmy was right or wrong – we soon forgot what he said because we had such great times except, that is, for one especially remembered occasion at Silverdale.

Our Scout leaders were always trying to make our camping adventures a mixture of venues and experiences, and knowing some of our grandfathers, fathers and brothers had worked in the ‘pits it was suggested we camp nearby and visit the Silverdale Drift Coal Mine – and possibly the local tin mine.

Now Jimmy, football player for Milton United and Assistant Scout Master at Bucknall 3rd City, told us to meet him and the other leaders on the corner of Cheapside and Piccadilly in Hanley. I can still remember travelling in the back of small truck (lorry) to Silverdale via Etruria and Newcastle in what was described as suitable weather of light drizzle in windy conditions. Well that’s approximately what Jimmy said and we were not about to argue with him. Silverdale Drift and the tin mine were our targets and a little light drizzle was not going to deter us.

Trouble was, the light drizzle gave way to torrential rain for most of the weekend and it became one of those ‘jolly jaunts’ where all our efforts were spent trying to keep dry, for dodging soggy cow pats and eating cold food – mainly beans – straight from cans. Nor did we get a chance to visit the Silverdale Drift or tin mine.

See you later…

Barry Edge
Western Australia
August 16, 2018

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