Adventurous youngsters from Harrow have held a special camp to celebrate the centenary of the Scouting movement.

The milestone has brought back memories for one veteran of the organisation who joined more than six decades ago, and is still involved to this day.

More than 300 Beavers, Cups, Scouts, Explorer Scouts and Leaders spent the weekend of September 20 and 21 practising outdoor survival techniques, boosting their knowledge of everyday skills and enjoying physical activities.

Their two-day camp near Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, had a 'Sailors, Pirates and Smugglers' theme, although the father of the Scout movement was actually a soldier.

Lieutenant-General Robert Baden-Powell decided to combine and re-write for a youth readership two military training manuals he had authored. The result was 'Scouting for Boys', published in six installments between January and March 1908.

During the period Lord Baden-Powell was putting the handbook together, he tested the methods he described on a now famous camping trip on Brownsea Island in Portsmouth Harbour on August 1, 1907.

After the publication became a massive success, formal groups sprang up around the ethos of scouting. One hundred years on, Scouts are still taking part in exercises such as archery and climbing, plus newer pursuits like quad-biking.

Honorary scouter Bernard Archer joined the Scouts in 1937. Asked what the biggest turning point in the organisation's history was that he had witnessed, he said: "I suppose when girls were allowed to join in 1967ish. About a third of Scouts are girls, but it ranges from troop to troop."

He said while being part of the Scouts was a popular hobby because of the lack of other distractions, "these days, of course, there's much more opportunity for young people to do other things in their spare time".

Mr Archer, chairman of the 6th Harrow pack, remembers that young people used to be more instinctive and adventurous.

He said: "We went camping. We just went off. I suppose it was the age of innocence, wasn't it? We used to go off camping during the war at the age of 14 without our leaders being able to be there because there were all in the Forces. "In the olden days, you went to camp for a fortnight somewhere in

Devon and you spent most of the time on the campsite, cooking on a fire. Nowadays most cooking is done on gas stoves."

He said such survival skills were employed less and less nowadays.

"For instance, first aid. Ambulances are not not far away but before we had that sort of service, first aid was carried out. In everyday situations, they are not so important but in an emergency they can be."

The Scouts' scarves could be made into a temporary sling, while the broad-brimmed hats, phased out in the 1950s, could be upturned and used to carry water.

Learning skills and recognition progression is still at the core of the movement.

He added: "We still have badges but the badges have been changed to keep pace with modern times. Several badges have been phased out but the artist badge is new, and we used to have the entertainer's badge.

"It wasn't easy to get a badge. You had to go along for four or five evenings and show your skills to a badge examiner."

Mr Archer said the movement continued to represent "learning craftsmanship and having a sense of pride and a sense of 'doing your best'."

Michael Procter, a young spokesperson for the Harrow and Wealdstone district, who attended the Chalfont camp, said: "Scouting is an adventure because it's something different.

"One day you're hill-walking, the next you're rafting or starring at the O2 Arena. I can only speak for myself, but each year it gets better and better."

Steve Alder, district commissioner, said: "It was an excellent camp, a good venue, great weather, loads of activities and lots of young people having a thoroughly good time and asking when the next district camp would be held.

"All in all a fitting end to our centenary year and we are all looking to build on this for our next 100 years."