Lough Dan is a traditional scout campsite. Our focus is on supporting patrol camping i.e. small groups of kids doing things for themselves, including the camp chores like tent pitching, cooking, fire lighting and then getting out into the magnificent area adjacent to the site and all that it has to offer. The road network is narrow country roads and we have neighbors who we do not want to inconvenience Our infrastructure is basic and facilities like the car park and wet weather shelter are small and not suited to supporting huge events. The MAX SIZE of any one group/event is 250 persons as we like to have space for other campers as or limit is 500 on site.
Lough Dan is still a great location to have your county camp or County Shield Competition. There is a reasonable amount of space for both group and patrol size pitches and we supply some metal altar fires, fire wood, pioneering and rafting equipment. There is also a range of self-lead on-site activities that are included in the camp fee (see section on “Activities”) and we have a few staff lead activities that we charge for and which need to be booked in advance.
County shield competitions often ask for more space and facilities than are available. It is Lough Dan policy to be inclusive and to accommodate numerous groups that want to camp and as such we do not give a county competition or county camp exclusivity. Max group/event size is 250. Even then they will need to consider proper traffic and waste management and they may have to arrange their sites so that they fit into the area available. If it rains the wet weather shelter needs to be shared with everyone else on site.
Lough Dan works well when groups use our philosophy of Pitch & Get Out for a good part of their program, out into all that the Wicklow Mountains National Park has to offer. This puts less strain on the facilities and ensures a more exciting program. We have noticed that some County Shield Completions and some group camps have got stuck in a bit of a rut by remaining on the site and not taking full advantage of the magnificent area surrounding the center. Some slip into running a series of bases (many of which you could run in your den) rather than getting out into Wild Wicklow and the Wicklow Mountains National Park that surrounds the center.
On the Lough Dan staff team we have lots of experience both of the area and of scout camping in general. Just ask and we might be able to help you design a fun yet challenging programme for your camp or competition with a mix of camp craft and fun activities.
Traditionally scout camping was all about using it as a base to discover and explore an area. A chance to do some activities you couldn’t do in the den. It was an opportunity to go on a hike which might provide learning opportunities for young people in a fun way. It was never intended that camping would be an end in itself where it was important to have all the tent pegs in a straight line and everything had to be perfect. Most scout camps nowadays are of a short duration where the emphasis should be on keeping it simple. We call this “pitch and get out ” camping. It really makes no sense to construct a full campsite suitable for a two week summer camp on a weekend. You will only have it built when you have to take it down. The challenge for county shield completion organisers is to get the balance right between a bit of judging and a lot of fun activities. We can help with ideas and suggestions. Just ask.