Hello from Wales!!! We have had a brilliant trip up. All has gone according to plan and we are all settled in waiting in anticipation to the first meal of the week. Big Pit was great and quite a surprise to the children - and some of the adults. We all learnt about how hard life was down the pit, employing children as young as seven years old.
The tents are up, kit has been allocated and the rooms are populated. Just a meal, the washing up and a walk to go before the activities begin in the morning!
I will try to update the photos as soon as I can so please keep an eye out for ant additions. The internet is not the best but we will do all we can to keep you informed of the very latest news!!
What a start to the day, The ‘happy campers’ arrived in the dining hall at 6.30am to be greeted by a rapturous round of applause and a hot chocolate. Then kicked into the action the most extraordinary chain of events. All children prepared sandwiches, had a cold and hot breakfast and the washing up was all done and dusted by 8am. That’s at total of 64 people!!!! Great work staff!!
We have a birthday boy in our midst! Jamie celebrated his special day with the obligatory rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ which included a two part harmony in A ‘trocious’ minor. A real moment of celebration and a lovely cake provided for all of the children for later on. Thank you Mrs H.
We then all prepared for our activities. Group 1 and 2 were up the mountain today. Group 3 and 4 went to the caves and the waterfall and group 5 and 6 met the bird man and set the orienteering challenges.
The mountain groups were brilliant. A bit of moaning was inevitable as they were pushed way out of their comfort zone but the children helped each other, encouraged each other and were simply superb. I was party to some wonderful conversations on the journey, hearing about family pets, enjoying interesting and enlightening family anecdotes and learning that one child on the trip actually had a birth weight of five and a half stone! Got to be a world record!!! The views from the summit were breath-taking. We could see all the way back to the Severn Bridge and I’m sure we could see glimpses of the Atlantic. It was a case of four seasons in one day as we had sunshine, clouds, rain and high winds, but thanks to the preparation at the start of the day, these changes didn’t affect the morale of the explorers. They just got on with it and they will have learned a great deal from their shared experience.
Today, two groups visited the caves and the waterfalls. Groups 3 and 4 rocked the cave outfits, complete with wonderful wellies and sensational headgear and trudged on down to the caves. And what a spectacular sight it was – something out of a fantasy novel. Inside, we found old fossils and hidden rivers inside these glorious caves. The children showed great bravery and were fantastic supporters of each other, showing incredible encouragement. After a spot of lunch, we travelled to the nearby waterfalls. Another incredible sight. After a tricky walk down to the waterfall, we slid down the ‘slides’, getting completely soaked, but with a huge smile on their faces. We were all very happy to have a warm shower this afternoon!
Lewis ‘the birdman’ came to see us with an amazing collection of birds of prey. The children learned a great deal from the experience, especially the way in which conservation is vital to certain species. Out of the back of the van came a vulture which was massive. It made short work of a turkey leg before paying an interest to certain members of staff!!! We will update these photos as soon as we get them.
Fish/sausage/veggies sausage and chips tonight!! The children are very much looking forward to that! A nice walk, for those who can still move their achy limbs and then bed!! Same time tomorrow perhaps?!?
Great day! Wishing you all a good night!
Today, Group 3 and 4 were entertained by Lewis the Birdman! The children were shown a variety of Birds of Prey such as: Tawny Owl, Falcon, White tailed eagle, a vulture and a hawk. Most of the children were able to catch the birds on the glove, which they loved. It was amazing to see these creatures so close. An experience they won’t forget! After lunch, we headed up to the visitor centre where the children spent their pennies. A nice chilled day after a busy on yesterday! A lot of moans about the mountain walk tomorrow! Sure they will love it once they are up there.
Due to adverse weather, it was decided that group 5 and 6 would take on another mountain today. This was a huge challenge and the weather made it even more difficult. Caylee led the way in her group, leaping from slope to slope like a true mountaineer. Miss Rickards fell in some rather unsavoury looking mud but Jayden, Bailey and Sam recovered the situation. The children today did something unheard of. They walked from the mountain all the way back to the centre. Unbelievable stamina from the two groups. They will all surely go down in history with the likes of Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing.
Caving – the final frontier. Late change for groups 1 and 2, but as usual, it all was taken in their stride. Notable mention goes to ace caver Kyla who helped others come to terms with some of the challenges. Even after completing them, she turned back to help those a little unsure. #smashedit. Another caving hero was Scarlett. A real challenge but she looked after Mrs Jewell all the way round. What an absolute superstar! It was 100% commitment and 100% achievement. After came the waterfall. Mr H dusted off the old ‘shrapnel injury’ excuse which meant that he could stay dry and in the comfortable state to which he is accustomed. The children of course threw caution to the winds, rolling in the river like swiss cheese down a mountain (best I can do). It has been another brilliant day and the children have been fantastic – each and every one of them. In the dining hall, a great deal of hair plaiting is in going on. Think I may bow out of that one!
Latest news: We have some new campers tonight. It’s the boys turn. Sadly that also means it’s also the turn of Mr H. See you all on the other side! #carryoncamping!
I’ve forgotten how wonderful sleeping in the great outdoors is! The sound of Joe and Isaac hooting with laughter into the early hours, the regional livestock bleating like their very lives depended on it and the watery nature of a blow-up mattress. Emerging from the tent at 6am like a gorilla from the mist, I was delighted to hear that all campers slept all the way through in comfort. What a result! In fact it wasn’t long after that all the ‘happy campers’ were enjoying a morning hot chocolate with the staff in preparation for what has been another very enjoyable day.
We welcomed Lewis the Birdman for one last time. He bought with him a white tailed eagle which was absolutely massive. Nearly as big as him! With a wingspan of 8ft, this animal was monumental and the children were all aghast as he emerged from the back of the van. All the children got to hold a bird of prey including a naughty owl – Willow – who refused to come down from a tree for 25 minutes.
The children asked brilliant and insightful questions showing a great understanding of how to care for animals. A really kind and caring group of children. Very proud!
Miss Waight and Miss Rickards had the absolute pleasure of taking 2 very tired groups down into some ancient caves, travelling back in time nearly 250 million years! Even though we had some members of the group who were a little unsure about what they’d find deep in the dark, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the adventure. We clambered through cracks, climbed up rocky faces, commando crawled through stone letterboxes and slid out way into puddles. Each time navigating tinier and more challenging spaces. The further we went the more the fear melted away. The encouragement from each group member to their friends was incredibly heart-warming to see and the cheers of celebration when someone conquered their own personal nemesis, echoed around us and filled us all with pride.
From caving to a waterfall walk, we just got wetter and more carefree (in a safe and instruction-led manner of course!); filling our wellies and waterproofs with cold water and filling our faces with smiles and laughter. Miss Waight and Miss Rickards both agreed that our groups have definitely saved the best day of activities until last- we’ve had a blast!
Up the mountain we went for the last time. Perhaps the most difficult activity after such a tiring week. It would be untrue to say that there were no moans but the bottom line is, they all made it to the top. Some collected fossils on the way. Fossils? Fossils I hear you cry! Well, the red sandstone on the top of the mountain actually used to be the sea bed a long time ago! There is evidence of little sea creatures everywhere. #mindblown
It’s been a blast. The children have been wonderful and a joy to take away.
Fire up those washing machines. We’ll see you tomorrow afternoon!