Kip on a Ship Guide Adventure
On Friday 15th March 2019, an intrepid group of Guides and their Leaders set off from all points River Ash (Sunbury, Shepperton & Ashford) – destination the majestic Second World War Royal Navy warship, HMS Belfast – now a museum, moored on the banks of the River Thames, in the centre of London, to KIP ON A SHIP!
Friday night, we arrived at the ship where we were greeted by the “night crew” who would be staying on board to ensure our safety, and taken below deck to the sailor’s quarters which would be our home for the night. We would be sleeping in the same bunks that the sailors used when the ship was still part of Her Majesty’s fleet.
Once settled aboard we enjoyed an evening of quiz, chat, craft and film (the latter courtesy of HMS Belfast who have a large screen TV and DVD library) before snack and hot chocolate then bed.
Up early the following morning to have breakfast in the HMS Belfast café – cereal, fruit and toast, plus fruit juice for the girls and tea/coffee to keep the leaders going.
HMS Belfast then gave us an exclusive talk on the history before releasing us to explore the ship. Our step count was to be boosted by climbing up and down ladders to navigate your way around all 9 decks. From the guns that fired some of the first shots on D-Day right down to the engine rooms 5m below sea level. Two girls made their promises on the deck of Belfast and we presented one Baden Powell Adventure badge.
Next some of us were off to do a bit more exploring nearby. But first lunch. The local Tesco fitted the bill with their normal large range of sandwiches and a huge salad bar. We took our purchases to the local Hays Galleria where we had a picnic.
Having gone up and down all morning whilst exploring the ship our next destination was higher still – The Tower Bridge Experience. We were allowed to dodge the queue for the lift and take the stairs – all 206 of them. The highlight of the experience was then daring to cross the glass walkway where we could look down on the traffic crossing the bridge beneath our feet.
Our final destination was yet another climb – more stairs, this time 311 to take us to the top of a very windy London Monument. A tower built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1667 after the Great Fire of London to send out the message that "city would soon rise again". Fortunately, the top is caged or we might have been blown away – we certainly were blown away by the view!
Lastly back to the ship to collect our luggage and a ride back to the London Eye Pier on one of the Thames Clippers that carry passengers up and down the Thames from Putney to Greenwich.
Wearily we made our way to Waterloo Station and home. A fantastic couple of days. The girls were great. The Leaders were brilliant. Thanks to everyone involved.
“My favourite parts of the trip were the picnic lunch, sleeping below decks and discovering the ship. The glass walkway at Tower Bridge was amazing and I would love to do it again!” – Mia
Jac Bond, 2nd Sunbury Guides & Sunbury District Commissioner, River Ash Division.