From Past to Present

Midges and mud, wind and rain, even the occasional heatwave – the show must go on! Below you can read about the highs and lows of SEP UK over the years from our very first camp in Yorkshire in 1968 to present day.

24th July – 4th August 2023

2022 Morfa Bay, Wales

Here at SEP we are free. Here at SEP we are not judged. It is a welcome respite from the world in which we live. We are a motley crew; different in so many ways – many of us don’t even speak the same language! Some of us love to climb and some of us love to stay on the ground. Some of us enjoy the cold splat of the Irish Sea in our face but others of us take some persuading. That doesn’t matter – our differences are all ok here. Here we can be ourselves and still someone will sit beside us to keep us company. It is refreshing to speak to people with such different points of view.

Our activity teams are called Dale, Angle, Laurghn, Ginst, Cauldy, and Amroth– all Welsh names. Please forgive me for poor pronunciation and even worse spelling. It is all part of the fun – given a quarter of us here don’t speak English at least it puts us in the same boat. One night we had to dress our activity leaders in 10 minutes as something beginning with the first letter of our activity team – we had a diver, an angel, a miraculous ladybird (I’m not sure what made her miraculous but that was how she was introduced), a glamorous garbage girl, a cat and Atman. Who or what is Atman? Well, he is one of our activity leaders who has come all the way from France. With his team he has travailed gorges, climbed walls and jumped off cliffs into the ocean. It makes sense that one would want to dress up as a hero such as this. A cat though? Each to their own. See what I mean by everyone being ok here? It honestly doesn’t matter how you think, how you talk or how you dress (even as a cat). Everyone here is still kind to you. I like this place. I feel at home here. I feel accepted here.

As camp draws to an end, I reflect on my favourite bits. Was it the ceilidh or the crate stack, abseiling or a chaotic game of capture the flags in the woods? My friend’s favourite was sea activities. It was hilarious knocking each other off the paddle boards. I think I preferred body boarding even more though – catching a wave and gliding into the beach was a great feeling.

I’m starting to feel tired now though; I’m glad breakfast isn’t until 8:30am. Much better than a school day. Our worship is this morning. Each activity team takes a turn leading worship. I’m nervous speaking in front of everyone but we are not the first group. We can do this. We share a scripture or two then sing worship together. I learnt some new songs this SEP. My favourite was in Portuguese – Galileu Jesus. I didn’t expect that.

One more day to go. A mud assault course in the morning followed by games on the beach then a disco. I don’t think I’ll go to sleep early though – too much more to say to the new friends I’ve made. I’ll miss them. 12 days is just not enough.

Our scripture for this camp is John 10:10 where Jesus says, ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ I’m still thinking about that - is it true? I can say that at SEP life is good and it is very full.

I’ll be back next year.


2021 Cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
2020 Cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
2019 Morfa Bay, Wales

SEP 2019 was held in Wales for the first time ever, and what a great time we all had. Like 2018, the positive trend continued with the percentage of brand new campers increasing to 35% of the total.

Another Year of Sunshine

2019 was another great weather year for SEP with 2 weeks of sunshine and warm, dry conditions – great for drying out clothing as well as sunbathing.

And just as well, as we had a vastly increased amount of Sea activities.

Everybody agreed the Morfa Bay staff were professional, enthusiastic and did everything they could to make us feel at home, and open to trying many new things. We thank them sincerely.


Traditional SEP activities remained: Archery, Leatherwork, Salsa Dancing, Mountain Biking on-site, Worship Prep, Christian Living, Hillwalking, Abseiling, Ceilidh, Bull Sessions, Teambuilding, Bushcraft, Cheesy Disco as well as a Last Night Disco and more.

New onsite activities

The on-site activities at Morfa Bay included 3 climbing walls and 2 brand new Zip Wires. Campers also enjoyed Wall Climbing, the Gladiator Challenge (Rope and Tyre Climbing) and Crate Stacking (much less tedious than it sounds!).

Also on-site, was Morfa Bay’s very challenging Mud Obstacle Course – definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Fantastic offsite activities

The most popular activity at SEP 2019 was (drumroll) coasteering. Coasteerers navigate a stretch of rocky coastline by means of swimming, climbing, jumping and diving – exploring a stretch of coast at sea level at the point where sea meets land.

After a 40minute minibus drive to the location, you dress in wetsuits, helmets, buoyancy aids, trainers, and you’re ready for the full day of challenges that follow – scramble climbing, rock hopping, cliff jumping and adventure swimming.

Add to that lots of other sea and beach-based activities like surfing, body boarding, paddle boarding, sea kayaking, swimming, a beach Olympics…so nice to be by the seaside for a change. We even had a sea Baptism for Alex Wisdom.

Eat in or Take Away?

The Morfa Bay site includes outdoor barbeque facilities. So, of course we made full use of this!

We were able to have full camp outdoor lunches and dinners with the most delicious barbequed food. We also made use of this area for a camp fire evening, a singalong, and the cheese and wine evening for the staff. In fact, food in general was another area where the Morfa Bay staff excelled.

More mini campers and more fun

Mini-campers were especially well catered with the combination of the beach, the outside camp meals together, and the excellent communal feel to the chalets and the site.

So good we’re going back!

We’re all looking forward to Morfa Bay again in 2020.

As always we humbly ask for continued prayers as SEP 2020 comes ever closer, for more opportunities for more young people.

For those who wish to check out 2019 videos and photos of Morfa Bay accommodation, facilities, activities and more please go to our page online ( and don’t be shy about commenting and enquiring.

We love hearing from you all, and your support and visibility are valued.

2018 Lagganlia Brand new venue

The 51st year of SEP in the UK was in a brand new venue, the Lagganlia Centre for Outdoor Education in the Scottish Highlands. Worth reminding ourselves that this isn’t the first time we’ve had a different venue. There were five camps before we settled on Loch Lomond in 1973. Even after this, there were two further years when we moved away again – to Bricket Wood, in 1977 & 1978.

Much Loved Activities

Many organised activities were the same or similar to those we have provided previously, such as Abseiling (back after a long absence), Archery, Canoing, Christian Living, Hillwalking, Leatherwork, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing, Salsa Dancing and Worship Prep.

Evening activities, fun and games included a Cheesy Disco, a very raucous Singalong, with new as well as old favourites, a terrific indoor/outdoor Ceilidh, Bull Sessions, Messy Games and an amazing game of Capture The Flag in the forest with the whole Camp.

Mealtimes were accompanied by announcements from Dave Francis, enhancing the feeling of continuity. And we still managed to organise a Final Banquet.

Brand New Activities

New activities this year were Bouldering, Forest Skills, Gorge Walking, Skiing and Tree Climbing. Gorge Walking proving to be the overall most popular activity – there wasn’t not much walking involved, but a LOT of diving across Feshie River, jumping from very high rocks into deep pools, swimming, and accompanied by a good amount of screaming!

Female/Male Groups for the First Time

The change to each group now being a Male/Female split was also an unqualified success and the Camper and Camp experience was enhanced by this change. Michael Gibbs & Victoria Garden won richly deserved overall best Male & Female camper awards.

Lagganlia Staff – Thank You

The Staff at Lagganlia were very impressed with us as a unit, and we were similarly impressed with them, and in particular their commitment to outlining nature and the environment throughout activities. We were bowled over by their commitment, professionalism and friendly attitude.

What? No Take-Down??

Packing up on the Friday morning was much more efficient at Lagganlia. There was still a lot to be done but what a difference from previous years! No endless amounts of bunks to be disassembled or benches to be packed in the barn; no kitchen to be decommissioned or toilets to be taken apart; no marquee and dorm tents to be dismantled; no need for all the separate activity equipment to be organised and packed away.

What remained was the friendly cajoling of campers to make sure their packing was completed and dorm quarters stripped, and that the right campers were paired with the right luggage and put into the right transport home – some things shouldn't change!

What also remained were the tears of sadness and happiness we are so used to as everyone said their goodbyes.

2017 Loch Lomond

The 50th SEP, also known as '‘'The Apukealypse' as legend now remembers it! This year’s theme was 1 John 4:19, - "We love God, because God first loved us." Day 4, Thursday, gastroenteritis hit Camp, necessitating a Quarantine process (were you a ’Quarantine Survivor’?!).

Though some planned 50th celebrations had to be cancelled, others went ahead. Camp still continued normally in the main, with the campers enjoying a cheesy disco the same night, and on Friday night cheese and wine for Staff. Saturday ushered in a 'scorchio' fun day in the sun, on inflatables set up in the field, and the start of unbroken great sunny weather (and a big old full moon that night).

Day 7, Sunday, was visitor’s day, incorporating stories from the past 50 years. Memorably, we arranged EVERY camper into a massive human '50' on the football field, photographing it from height via Terry Carter’s drone.

2016 Loch Lomond 2016 was the year when Jackie Mill took over as Camp Director. We also had seven consecutive days of dry weather, a welcome improvement on previous years. All campers received goody bags as they left, containing flyers promoting next year’s camp, a tin to save their silver, and a Moleskin notebook with next year’s date on the front in which they wrote farewell messages to each other. We had three new activities this year, Social Media, Rocket Building (with non-combustive water powered rockets) and Salsa dancing; all a big hit. The Ceilidh on Saturday had a live band and a haggis well and truly addressed to Rabbie Burn’s ‘Ode to a Haggis’, with much enthusiasm.


Loch Lomond

  • The odd dry day but plenty of liquid sunshine at the Costa del Lomond, perfect weather for trench digging and not forgetting a Caribbean cruise!


Loch Lomond

  • Staff group from US refused entry to UK but visited camp overnight (foam darts).
  • Inflatables games on a wet afternoon


Loch Lomond

  • Outreach to groups of campers from Wiltshire and Glasgow
  • SEP ‘Highland Games’


Loch Lomond

  • Olympic themed final banquet and visit of one of the London 2012 Olympic torches
  • Final large static caravans decommissioned


Loch Lomond

  • New SEP website and Facebook pages launched
  • First community outreach project: trainee staff made improvements to grounds of local school


Loch Lomond

  • Zorbing activity on last day
  • Radio station broadcasts for 24 hours


Loch Lomond

  • Visit from RAF Search & Rescue helicopter


Loch Lomond

  • First clearspan marquee
  • Group of Portuguese campers and staff attended
  • New tables and catering equipment for marquee – no more trestles


Loch Lomond

  • New SEP logo
  • New shower blocks purchased, no construction
  • Adventure activities license obtained
  • Land Rover acquired


Loch Lomond

  • Inflatables and sumo suits for special activity


Loch Lomond

  • Surprise film night masquerading as a security breach
  • Severe stomach virus affected camp in 2nd week spreading in from local area


Loch Lomond

  • Outreach project: 10 campers, 5 mini-campers and 4 staff attended SEP from a children’s home in Botosani, Romania


Loch Lomond

  • First formal child protection checks for staff


Loch Lomond

  • First air ambulance visit to site
  • ‘Storm trench’ dug to take flooding away from main marquee


Loch Lomond

That must have been an uneventful year! If you can think of something noteworthy to add in here, please email with SEP 2001 in the subject header.


Loch Lomond

  • SEP reunion attended by over 150 ex-campers and staff
  • Gordon & Victoria Wilson appointed SEP Directors


Loch Lomond

  • New shower blocks constructed
  • New mountain bikes purchased
  • Whisky tour fundraiser for SEP


Loch Lomond

That must have been an uneventful year! If you can think of something noteworthy to add in here, please email with SEP 1998 in the subject header.


Loch Lomond

That must have been an uneventful year! If you can think of something noteworthy to add in here, please email with SEP 1997 in the subject header.


Loch Lomond

  • Photo disc provided to all campers


Loch Lomond

  • Heat wave


Loch Lomond

  • Camp reduced to two weeks due to reduced staffing availability


Loch Lomond

  • Andrew & Dana Silcox appointed SEP Directors


Loch Lomond

  • 25th anniversary celebrated; 327 campers and 201 staff
  • New 5,000 gallon water tank installed
  • Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award programme


Loch Lomond

  • Severe storm – sailing and canoe emergency rescue
  • SEP became registered sailing school
  • ‘Summer Times’ published on camp
  • Archery champion display
  • Last year of constructed water towers


Loch Lomond

  • Case of meningitis in a camper led to 3 day quarantine of whole camp
  • Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award programme
  • Sabre fencing taught
  • Girls dorms overnight trip on Ben Lomond
  • Walk-in fridge installed


Loch Lomond

  • New sailing jetty
  • Boys dorms overnight trip on Ben Lomond; girls dorms rock-climbing at The Whangie
  • Barn operational with kitchen, laundry, wash up areas
  • Visit of pipe band
  • First year laundry was done for campers


Loch Lomond

  • Force 10 gale hit beginning of camp – 100 mph winds, all dorm marquees collapsed
  • Final year of green kitchen shed


Loch Lomond

  • Acquisition and construction of barn
  • Boys dorms climbed Ben Nevis


Loch Lomond

  • Wooden floor in main marquee for the first time
  • Sir Rannulph Fiennes gives presentation to campers
  • First ‘Summer Times’ published on camp


Loch Lomond

  • “The year of the mud”
  • Mud skiing behind tractor
  • Flooding in the main marquee
  • First mountain biking and trampolining activities
  • Purchase of ex mine rubber mats for walkways


Loch Lomond

  • Mains electricity to the site
  • Heat wave and sunburn a problem


Loch Lomond

  • Serious accident to camper on road cycling activity led to new focus on safety


Loch Lomond

  • Police dog display team


Loch Lomond

  • Parascending activity introduced
  • Ben Nevis climbed


Loch Lomond

  • 2 water-skiing boats


Loch Lomond

  • Water-skiing; Pony trekking; Rock climbing; Obstacle course
  • Chlorination of loch water started


Bricket Wood, Hertfordshire

  • Swimming pool based activities
  • Judo/self-defence activity introduced
  • First Duke of Edinburgh awards achieved including Gold


Bricket Wood, Hertfordshire

  • Gymnastics activity introduced


Loch Lomond

  • Heat wave
  • Cycling and Foil fencing activities introduced


Loch Lomond

  • Go-karting
  • A lion display visits camp
  • Day trips to climb Ben Nevis
  • Senior dorms G8/B8 overnight canoe trip to north end of Loch


Loch Lomond

  • Ben Lomond climbed
  • Flushing toilets for the first time


Loch Lomond

  • First year in Scotland; 225 campers and 60 staff
  • No shower facilities – bathing and teeth brushing in the Loch
  • Gale force winds
  • Overnight trip to Ben Nevis
  • Sheep occasionally found in dorms


Lake Bassenthwaite

  • Water-skiing on Lake Windermere; Leatherwork;
  • Climbing Helvelyn


Lake Bassenthwaite

  • First ‘official’ SEP
  • Sailing, canoeing, climbing Skiddaw
  • Kitchen set up in green army tent
  • Open toilet for men, buckets for women


Violet Hill Farm, Yorkshire

  • 54 campers


Violet Hill Farm, Yorkshire

  • Paul Suckling appointed Camp Director
  • 35 campers


Violet Hill Farm, Yorkshire

  • Youth camp out with 14 campers and 7 staff
  • Cooking on open fires, washing in the river