About Rachel Sharpe

Rachel Sharpe

Hi, my name is Rachel and I'm the rep for De Kluis 2017! I was the venture rep for Belgium back in 2014 so I'm very excited to be returning to this fabulous resort and exploring Belgium again. I am currently studying veterinary medicine at Nottingham University but love travelling when I get the chance so this sort of thing is right up my street. Looking forward to meeting you all soon, happy summer!!

Keep an eye on my blog for all the highlights from De Kluis.

Goodbye Belguim!

21 Aug 17

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Well thats it; the last of the groups have gone,  tents are on their way down and with that we say goodbye to De Kluis for another year!

Its been a short but good season, with 5 groups heading to De Kluis in 3 weeks. Together, we set out to explore Belgium; from the Scout and Guide museum in Leuven; the famous Atomium in Brussels to visiting Ypres to pay our respects to those who died 100 years ago during WW1.

The groups also took full advantage of the facilities on site including; high ropes, BMX biking and pioneering (building some quite impressive structures with pioneering poles).

Every group had a jam packed week of fun activities and really got stuck into all this small but amazing country has to offer!

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For me its been a great summer! Not only being back in Belgium and getting to revisit some of my favourite places, but also getting to know all the groups that came to stay and being made to feel like part of your groups. We’ve had a lot of fun together and I hope you enjoyed coming to Belgium as much was we enjoyed having you!

That’s it from De Kluis and myself for now, stay in touch and enjoy the rest of your summers! Till next time :)

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Taking On The Heights

12 Aug 17

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Saxon Explorer Scouts and Network Unit had a great week in Belgium.

Tuesday saw the group visit Walibi Theme Park (which the group previously saw in a miniature form at Mini Europe the day before!). We were there bright and early for the 10am opening time. Unfortunately, the park wasn’t the only thing that opened – it rained pretty much the entire day! However, the Saxons didn’t let this dampen their spirit (excuse the pun!) and the day was happily spent going on 30+ attractions which the park has to offer. A slightly strange experience when you beat the rain to the ground while on the drop tower!

As it was half way through the week, the group decided to have a slightly more relaxing day on the campsite. Fortunately, today stayed dry so they were able to enjoy what the campsite had to offer – as well as doing some woggle-making, which I can testify is rather fiddly!

In between crafts and relaxing, the group had also decided to attach themselves to ropes and climb 20 feet up in the air! This, of course, was the high ropes course! There were 3 different sections for the group to traverse – from my position with both feet firmly on the ground, it was pretty impressive! Not only that they got up there but also how everyone worked together, whether that was belaying or just offering each other encouragement. At the end they were about to take on the formidable leap of faith. This involved climbing up a rather wobbly pole, standing on the very small top and then jumping off; trusting that the six people holding the rope attached to you at the bottom will catch you! Rather you than me guys…

Saxons take (mini) Europe!

9 Aug 17

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Saturday saw the arrival of Saxon Explorers and Network Unit at De Kluis. They spent the rest of the day settling in and dodging the rain that unfortunately seems to have made its way over. The next day they were up bright and early for a visit to Leuven. Here, they went bowling (where surprisingly my skills seems to have dramatically improved since last week, maybe there’s hope for going pro after all!). The group also visited the Scout and Guide Museum; built in an old church, it houses many different items from the 100+ year history of the Scouting movement. It was very interesting to see how it had changed over the years and to compare badges!

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Monday called for a visit to Brussels and Brupack Park where they visited the world famous Atomium. It was a lovely sunny day and we could see its bright silver structure from miles away and had some amazing views from the top. Next, we had a whistle stop our around the whole of Europe, well, in miniature form. This rather impressive park has tiny models of famous building from every member state of the EU. The group were excited to see any structures they recognised, including some from close to home Bath.

100 Years of History

5 Aug 17

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On Wednesday, 1st Westbury Guides and 7th Exmouth Scouts headed to Ypres and the surrounding area. This area is steeped in history and the region is currently in the spotlight due to the 100 Year Anniversary of the start Battle of Passchendaele. This was one of the bloodiest campaigns in the first world war with thousands of men left wounded or dead and was by and large unsuccessful. As well as the day being very interesting, it was incredibly moving and I’m sure a day that will be remembered by all for a very long time.

We started the day with a visit to the In Flanders Field Museum in Ypres. Built in the old cloth hall, it is as impressive on the outside as it is on the inside! It is always enjoyed by the groups. This interactive museum is full of information about the war in the local area as well as having many hundreds of artefacts. After we had had our fill of knowledge for the moment we headed to Leonidas chocolate shop where, judging by the bulging bags that came out after, the groups took full advantage of the special offers on!

From here we headed to Hill 62 which houses an impressive collection of war time memorabilia and photos. If you head outside you can also see an original trench, still surrounded by pot holes and exploded trees. Next was a visit to the Tyne Cot Cemetery, where nearly 12000 soldiers who died in the Ypres area are buried so it’s always a highly emotional and deeply moving visit. 7th Exmouth Scouts brought several remembrance crosses which had messages on from members of the public and the troop which they then placed at graves.

After a spot of dinner we headed to the Menin Gate for the famous 8 o’clock last post ceremony. Here, representatives from both group took part and laid a wreath in remembrance for those who fell in WW1. Both groups were outstanding today and did UK Guiding and Scouting proud.

 

3 cities in 3 days

5 Aug 17

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It’s been a busy few days here in Belgium! Both 7th Exmouth Scouts and 1st Westbury guides are certainly making the most of their visit and fitting as much as possible into their trip. We’ve been darting around Belgium and visited Leuven, Bruges and Brussels to see what they have to offer.


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On Sunday we all went into Leuven and spent the day swimming and then bowling. Judging from the scores, none of us will be going pro anytime soon but both were really good fun! The next day we traveled 2 hours to the beautiful city of Bruges, famed for its lace, horse and carriages. We took a river cruise around the canals where several famous building and churches could be viewed. Next, we wound our way through the tourists and carriages to make it to our next destination, a very well received stopped at the Chocostory factory. Of course being Belgium we had to sample the chocolate and there were certainly enough free samples to have a go at here. As well as a demonstration we were able to learn about the history of chocolate, from its origins in South American culture to when chocolate drinks classed as the height of sophistication in 1700 century Europe. That night we had a group vs group quiz where it turned out the adults were by far the most competitive! Tuesday called for a trip to Brussels and here we saw all of Europe (well in miniature form) in the Mini Europe park; the world famous Atomium which we could go all the way to the top for some cracking views over Brussels before finishing the day at Océade water park.

De Kluis awaits!

28 Jul 17

20517481_1495642440530167_1773306205_oDe Kluis campsite is all set up and ready to go! My name is Rachel and I’ll be the rep for the groups lucky enough to be coming to this fab location, hope everyone’s getting excited as its not long now!!

After months of planning, weeks of prep and a few days hard graft getting all the kit set up…Belgium is a go! De Kluis campsite (and myself of course) are ready and eagerly awaiting the arrival of its first groups, 7th Exmouth Scouts and 1st Westbury Guides, tomorrow for the start of a jam packed week of activities and exploring. See you soon guys, can’t wait to meet everyone :)