DESPITE difficult weather conditions leading to the 2023 World Scouting Jamboree being abandoned, Crossgates teenager Blair Cran underlined to Cowdenbeath Rotary Club that it was still very much the trip of a lifetime.

Blair undertook a massive fundraising drive, to be able to fund his part in the Jamboree, held in South Korea, in August, and the Rotarians donated £300 last September to help him be able to take part.

In his address last Thursday evening, Blair said that while by some margin things didn’t go to plan, it was still an amazing experience.

“When I was lucky enough be chosen to be part of the East Scotland contingent to be in the 4,000 strong UK contingent at the Jamboree, I started a fundraising drive and was so grateful for the support I received from so many members of the public, as I tried a great number of activities to get the funding I needed,” said the Beath High School pupil.

“Without the support of so many members of the public, it would not have been possible to go, and I thank everyone who helped me.”

He added: “There were ten of us from Fife, in the East of Scotland Group, and when we got to Seoul it really was the most amazing place.

“Before the Jamboree started, we had the chance to visit many amazing places and the people were so friendly and helpful. The visits included the Korean War Museum, which was such a tremendously historic setting.

“At the opening ceremony, at the Saemangeum Jamboree base, the South Korean President and wildlife personality Bear Grylls were with us and it was a stunning experience.”

However, the weather had already posed issues with extreme heat making living conditions at the Jamboree camp site difficult, and Blair added: “The intense humidity posed some real difficulties and after a few days, the decision was taken abandon the event as some of those taking part had suffered from the effects of the intense heat.

“By that time, though, we had been able to meet so many scouts from a host of other countries, and had a lot of fun,  but such were the conditions it was decided by the authorities, for safety’s sake, to call it a day and go back to Seoul, where we had some good activities in place of what was planned at Saemangeum.”

Blair brought with him to the meeting a whole host of scout neckerchiefs from new scout friends from Germany, Barbados, Canada, Jamaica, Australia, Spain and South Africa.

Blair concluded: “The closing ceremony was held at the World Cup Football Stadium, in Seoul, and it was a truly memorable event, ending an unusual experience, which didn’t go as expected, but one which I will never forget.”