Year 8 Wales Trip
On Monday 27th March, 24 Year 8 students, along with Mrs Foster and Mr Harris, travelled to Snowdonia in Wales for a week of adventure training with The Outward Bound Trust. The aim of the week was to develop key life skills including leadership, teamwork, resilience and effective communication.
As soon as we arrived and had settled in, we were put into two groups and our instructors took us to the beach and plunged us into the icey sea for a "jog and dip" task - this was only a taste of what was to come! Cold and wet, we knew that this was going to be a challenging but extremely fun week.
The next day we embarked on our first mission, climbing the second highest mountain in Wales called Cadr Idris. The mountain is over 2930 feet high and we had to climb it carrying all of our own food, water and emergency equipment. Each team took a slightly different route and had to work together to motivate each other and navigate the steep, rocky paths. It was heavy going and got tougher the higher we went. By the time each team had climbed to above cloud level, many of us were feeling tired, hungry and some were suffering from vertigo (a fear of heights).
Despite this, each team kept going and pushed themselves to the limits to make it to the top in around 5 hours. All the adults were extremely impressed by the resilience and leadership shown by the students, along with a determination normally seen in people much older than Year 8! However, there was then the task of getting down the mountain, which took another four hours of walking in wet and windy conditions until we finally reached our remote camp site at the bottom.
With the rain still pouring and morale running low, the students had to put up their tents and use a trangia stove to cook their food. I think many students reached their lowest point at this stage, but with good humour and the boost of some chocolate
Continued on next page pudding, everyone made it through the night and woke up to brighter weather and another exciting day of activities.
Instead of taking the easy route back to our nice warm hostel, our instructors planned a canoeing expedition along the estuary. After fastening the canoes together for safety due to high winds, we boarded our canoes and began paddling. Both groups had to work together as a team to steer their canoes and move against a strong current, and with a bit of practice we were all soon making good progress. That is until the group I was with hit a strong whirlpool and tipped to the side taking on lots of water until we almost capsized! Everyone remained calm though, and helped to steer the canoes to a sand dune in the middle of the estuary, where we were able to drag the canoes onto land and empty them out before resuming our journey.
Thanks to excellent teamwork, we were all soon back at the centre and enjoying civilisation once again.
Mr Harris (Year 8 Head)
Below is an account from Tuscany Fairer in 8ZA of her experiences that day...
"One thing that I enjoyed most about staying in Wales for the week, was the very competitive canoeing on the way back to the hostel. If I remember clearly…… my team’s boat nearly capsized because we got spun in a whirlpool! There was also a lot of quicksand near the small island of sand from the low tide. We very quickly found out how long it would take to get our feet completely absorbed into the sand that was drenched in water. Whilst canoeing, there was a lot of cheering and encouragement from every teammate as we were rowing in our canoes."
Over the next few days we all undertook a range of activities at the centre, including high rope challenges and team building exercises. We were also given responsibility for the safety of others by checking each others' safety equipment and 'belaying' (holding the ropes to gently lower people back to the ground). Both Mrs Foster and I were very impressed at how all the students handled these responsibilities, and we were pleased to see a number of new friendships forming after completing these activities together.
Each evening, the students were asked to reflect on their experiences and record them in a journal. Reading the responses was really inspirational, with all the students commenting that although they found elements of the course tough and demanding, both physically and mentally, they now felt more able to attempt difficult tasks. A number of students commented that they took confidence from the fact that having conquered Cadr Idris and a wild camp, completing homework to a high standard no longer seemed so bad. Upon their return to school I hope they will remember their experiences in Wales and use them to motivate others to aspire and achieve.
A huge thank you and well done to all students involved (please see the list below) with the trip and to Mrs Foster and the staff at Outward Bound for a fantastic week.
Watch this space for future adventure training opportunities.
Mr Harris (Year 8 Head)