The Quest for the Barton Grail

Camp Barton, BSA - August 9-11, 2012

Sixty-five prospective knights answered the call of Sir Hugh Barton to come to Castle Frontenac, at Glen Frontenac in the Scottish Highlands, to help in his Quest to find the Barton Grail. Sir Hugh and his loyal staff instructed the Cubs as they progressed from Page to Squire, and finally were inducted into the Ancient Order of the High Falls as full Knights of the Order.

The new recruits arrived in groups or "Packs", from far and distant lands such as Ithaca, Newfield and exotic Endicott and Greene...

As soon as they arrived, the recruits were sworn in as Pages, and assigned to "program dens". Each den was known by its Heraldic Color.
(click on the picture or right-click and "save" for a large version, suitable for printing)

Den Argent (silver or white)

Den Azure (blue)

Den Gules (red)

Den Or (gold or yellow)

Den Sable (black)

Den Vert (green)
The new Pages seemed overjoyed in their new roles...

Den Argent (odd)

During the camp, they learned the arts of knighthood - archery, jousting, swordsmanship and other feats of arms - and also practiced skills they would need as knights. .

Accuracy with the bow is an essential skill. 

Strange visitors from the mystic East showed advanced weaponry such as slingshots and BB guns. 

A good shot, indeed.

The exotic "Gun of the BB" requires great strength...

... but it's fun to use.

The Pages learned to use slingshots...

... to shoot deadly "Food of the Dog" at pie plates and soda cans. 

In the Joust, a Knight must be able to send his lance through the target
while his horse runs at a full gallop. 

It's harder than it looks. 

The proper warlike facial expression helps. 

Sometimes you just have to throw the lance. 

Squires must combat the fearsome Vikings. 

"Touche' Sir Braveheart!"

A Knight never lets a mere matter of size get in his way.

A true Knight is joyful in battle.

A Knight must be able to build his own castle... 

...and find strategic places to build it.

Every knight must know how to climb a castle wall...

...always helped by his noble friends, of course. 

Games were played, and the Pages had their athletic prowess tested in the icy waters of Loch Cayuga.

This is the game of "The Ball of Kick".

The noble game of chess was played...

...and the pages made models of castle walls.

"Buddy Check!"

Each Cub designed a coat of arms and learned about the plants and animals of the Glen. 

The coats of arms were placed upon the Squires' garments.

A colorful shield, indeed. 

Fearsome serpents were encountered.

Killer Bunnies were petted.

Amphibians, sacred to St. Kermit himself, were studied. 

The bravest of Squires felt no fear in handling...

... the famous Natasha the Milk Snake.

They cooked - and ate - dishes fit for Knights. 

Of course, the finest of repasts were prepared for them by the army of servants in Castle Frontenac.

"What part of a chicken is the Nugget?"

The exotic "Cream of Ice" was always a hit.

Perhaps not all the food was to their liking...

The Pages celebrated with songs...

...and strange gestures of joy.

Along their path to knighthood the Pages enjoyed entertainment by visiting Minstrels at a festive campfire. 

A lecture on the uses of the banana... oops, "bandana".

The ancient dance of "Purple Stew" eventually drew in all of the audience. 

Two Minstrels performed a full opera with more than five singing parts, and many changes of costume. 

Odd short Minstrels offered songs in languages strange and foreign... "Topknotcher?" "Ya, Mama dear..."
The campfire ended with a talk on the responsibilities of knighthood by Sir Michael de Homer, representative of Richard the Lionheart at the Camp. 

The monks of the Abbey of St. Kermit painstakingly copied a daily Illuminated Manuscript, and held a Vespers service. 

"Get your Illuminated Manuscripts here!"

Read the Illuminated Manuscripts of the Abbey of St. Kermit

Thursday, August 9, 1212 - The Third Page
Friday, August 10, 1212 - The Barton Squire Dealer
Saturday, August 11, 1212 - The Saturday Knight Post

Sir Michael de Homer led a Scouts' Own service for the
Pages at the Abbey of St. Kermit.

While they were in training, the Dens continued the Quest for the Barton Grail. 

A Grail was found... but wait...

... there were lots of Grails found. Which was the True Barton Grail?

Each day, the Pages and their Tutors participated in ceremonies. 

On the final day of the camp, the would-be Knights competed in a final Grand Tournament to prove themselves worthy. 

Water-balloon toss.

Caber toss...

...with a scale-model caber, of course.

The problem: to get all of the den on one stump.

"Jester says, touch your nose..."

The Blindfolded Potato Game.

Jousting on horseback.

Like all good things, the camp came to an end, and the Cubs became Knights.

After the Tournament, there was a Closing Ceremony at which the True Grail was identified (it was the one found by Den Or). 

Also, the true identity of Sir Michael de Homer was revealed to be Sir Hugh Barton himself, watching over the Camp incognito.

Then, all of the Squires were inducted into the Order of the High Falls...

... by being dubbed as Knights by Sir Dylan the Seneschal.

The Knights of Castle Frontenac who guided the Pages and Squires through the Quest.

The Order of the High Falls will live on... 
2013 Barton Cub Resident Camp, "A Study in Azure"

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All photos Copyright 2012 Mike Brown - permission granted to reproduce for any Scouting purpose