31 May 2024 - 2 June 2024


Fully-funded course


East Lothian


Booking essential

The Club is delighted to be working in partnership with our friends at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to offer the Scottish Bird Camp, again this year (see here for a summary of last year's Camp!)

Both SOC and BTO are committed to engaging and supporting the next generation of birdwatchers and to reaching more diverse and younger audiences, providing greater opportunities for young people to connect with birds and with each other. 

Camp will provide ample opportunity for participants to make new friends, develop birding skills, and be inspired by experienced and enthusiastic trainers, as well as some of the best birdwatching experiences (and birds!) Scotland has to offer. 


Camp will take place Friday 31st May - Sunday 2 June 2024


Camp will be based near Haddington, East Lothian (precise location information will be shared with successful applicants). However we'll be visiting various locations around the county over the course of the weekend

Who can Camp?

The Scottish Bird Camp is open to young people (priority will be given to residents in Scotland/SOC members) who are:

- Aged between 10 - 16 years old 

- Passionate about nature, although you don't need to be an expert; enthusiasm and a thirst for learning count for a lot! 

Did you know that BTO are running Camps in every country this year? So wherever you are in the UK, there's a camp for you! Find out more on their website, here.


A more detailed itinerary will be shared with successful applicants closer to the time. Friday will involve an early evening arrival at Camp, getting to know one another, health & safety, dinner & after-dinner activity. There will be a varied programme of activities across the weekend which, depending on the weather, may include a seabird boat trip, ringing demo, nature reserve visit, arts activity, nest finding and learning to identify bird songs and calls. There will also be opportunities for quiet and social time, and at times, a choice of (supervised) activities to pick from.


With the support our Funders: Cameron Bespolka Trust; the family of Ronald Guild: teacher, environmental activist, lifelong lover of nature and of all things East Lothian andBritish BirdsCharitable Trust (see below), we've made Camp a fully-funded opportunity to ensure it's accessible to all. However, if you are financially able, we would very much welcome a donation to support our work to allow us to organise similar opportunities for young people in future. You can make a donation online (please make a note of what it's for in the Comments box), or call the SOC on 01875 871330 to make a card payment over the phone.

How to apply?

Download the application form below and make sure to submit it (see form for details) before the application deadline of 5pm on Sunday 31st March. Feel free to be creative; draw, paint, or record a video if you like and send it in support of your application, alongside your form.

Need help with your application? Email


We'll be staying in a well-equipped, residential venue in rural East Lothian with accommodation provided in appropriately segregated, shared (indoor) dormitories, with suitable safeguarding measures in place. Fully disclosed leaders, trained in safeguarding measures, will always be on site overnight and available to children. 

Travelling to camp

Our home for the weekend is in beautiful, rural East Lothian, approximately 40 minutes drive from Edinburgh (the nearest city). SOC and BTO Scotland are delighted to announce that British BirdsCharitable Trust have kindly agreed funding which will allow us to cover, or at least significantly reduce, the cost of travelling to East Lothian/to a pick-up point for participants attending Camp. Of course, you can also be dropped off directly at Camp, if you prefer.


A full packing list will be shared with successful applicants nearer May, however there isn't any specialist equipment required to take part in Camp, except for binoculars. Don't have any? Don't worry- we can lend you some for the weekend but you may wish to apply to BTO's excellent Equipment Donation Scheme so you have your own pair to use beyond Camp.

Equality | Diversity | Inclusivity

There's space on the Application Form to tell us if there's something you would like us to know regarding your identity, which may enable us to make you feel more welcome/comfortable/at ease over the weekend, should you be offered a place at Camp.
We're committed to making Camp a safe space for all participants, and so we ask everyone to abide by our Code of Conduct which will be shared with participants in advance.


We are committed to making our activities as accessible as possible. We want to make sure that if successful in your application, we do our best to help you get, and make, the most out of the experience. If you have any accessibility requirements or concerns you would like to discuss, please email us at


Safeguarding participants is of paramount importance to us and we are committed to creating a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for all. A Designated Safeguarding Lead will be present for the duration of Camp, and all supervising staff and volunteers have undertaken Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) checks. For a copy of BTO's Safeguarding Policy, contact and for SOC's, contact

We will also carry out a full risk assessment before the start of Camp. Successful applicants will be briefed on the steps that they should take to help keep everyone safe and well.

Contributing Organisations

This opportunity is a joint collaboration between the SOC and BTO Scotland and will be led by representatives from each organisation, as well as SOC volunteers and BTO Youth Representatives, alongside a professional Youth Leader.


The 2024 Scottish Bird Camp is being made possible by the generous support of:


The family of Ronald Guild: teacher, environmental activist, lifelong lover of nature and of all things East Lothian


Cameron Bespolka Trust

Cameron Bespolka Trust is a charity that has been set up in Cameron's memory to inspire young people to love and appreciate animals, in particular birds, nature, andour environment. By experiencing the outdoors first hand, children can connect with nature and make a difference to our planet.

 British Birds Charitable Trust

British Birds is a journal for everyone interested in the birds of the Western Palearctic. Published monthly since 1907, the journal contains a range of material on behaviour, conservation, distribution, ecology, identification, movements, status and taxonomy, as well as the latest news items and book reviews. The publication is regarded as the British birdwatcher’s journal of record, with regular reports on rare and scarce migrants, and rare breeding birds. All the main contributions are peer-reviewed, and the journal aims to interpret scientific research in an easily accessible way.

Application form


Any questions?


Can't make this opportunity, but interested to hear about others? 

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This charity was set up in memory of Cameron, who was a young naturalist who loved birds and spending time outdoors. The Cameron Bespolka Trust organise and sponsor activities for young people to connect with nature. They send out quarterly Newsletters which can include other opportunities that you might want to get involved in. To receive the Newsletter, direct to your inbox, subscribe here. You can unsubscribe at any time.  


Bird Camp images  © BTO