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carpool or coach?

I'm a Brownies leader in Cambridge. I love canoeing and am interested in bushcraft, and there's a place in Norfolk that does "Swallows and Amazons" adventure days for kids:

Swallows & Amazons Adventure Days | TheCanoeMan, Canoeing & Kayaking in the Norfolk Broads National Park, England, UK

We'd have to have alot of adult participations - we'd need at least 1 adult in each boat, so we'd have to have 1 parent come along for every 3 Brownies. It's roughly 75 miles away from Cambridge. How do we get there? We could invite other Brownie units to come with us and hire a coach. We could hire a mini-bus and do self drive (my husband has the mini-bus capability on his driving license) but only bring a limited number of Brownies & parents. We could ask that the parents drive.

The coach will be expensive and more complicated to arrange (with the other units), and given that we'd have to have so many parents along, the parents would be well out of pocket - a large cost for the trip for their daughters, as well as a high cost for themselves for those that go.

The minibus would cost less (I'm guessing - I'm not 100% sure!), but we'd only be able to take 12 Brownies (and their 4 adults).

Parents driving would be the cheapest - we'd charge each girl an extra amount of money for transport, and give that to their driver for fuel etc. But people can get lost, even in these days of satnav, and there's a good chance that some of the cars with Brownies and adults would show up too late.

Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? Can you give me some advice?


Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
It's a tough one and you need to do some sums and some quotes etc.
You also need to consider the rules on using various sorts of transport, arranging lifts etc. They are here...Transport

I would suggest a smaller coach 20 seaters etc are sometimes more affordable. Getting another unit to join you and rotating activities ie one group on the water in the morning and another in the afternoon...

Batty Owl

Veteran (100+ posts)
Something else to check before involving other units, is whether they have a maximum number they can accommodate at any one session.
Thanks for the ideas, especially the link to the transport rules. The Swallows and Amazons trips can accommodate up to 150 people, they say, so they should be able to handle anyone we can persuade to come along.

This transport business is all very confusing! I'm also trying to find someone who can run trips closer to Cambridge, so we don't have to worry about transport (parents can just do drop off and pick up without worries about getting lost, sharing petrol costs, etc).


Veteran (100+ posts)
Have you thought about fundraising for your coach? A bag pack can raise a large amount of money in a short time - we bag pack in Iceland as they have fewer tills and we're a small unit. Girls do two hour shifts. Last time we raised £434, although we are required to donate £50 to Iceland's chosen charity. It meant that our unit was still better off by £384 though.

Also, most coaches can cope with multiple pick ups and drop offs, although it might cost more. You could try just two or three meeting places.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Have you thought about Grafham Water (just past Huntingdon) or Mepal (near Chatteris) - we're Cambridgeshire and took Rainbows, Brownies and Guides to Mepal for the weekend - but they do full day sessions as well and you could have a full water day if you wanted - you also don't need above normal guiding ratios - it's not an "adventure trip" in the same way as Swallows and Amazons (which looks amazing)