Sholing Junior School

Achieving Together

Google Translate
Google Search

Year 6 - Wales 2024

Wales Year 6 Residential Information - 2024

Day 1 - Going Underground


The group has already arrived safely at the centre and are busy unpacking and preparing for the evening activities. Earlier today, they experienced what life as a miner might have been like in the Big Pit Mining Museum. Although they have not hewed any coal, they will have travelled in the classic miner's lift, learned about the difficulties and dangers miners faced working underground and hopefully realised how fortunate they are not to have been working as a trapper many years ago! More details and hopefully a few pictures (not of the mine with the lights turned off) will follow later this evening.


What a day! The trip to Big Pit was long. There was a large amount of traffic on the M4 motorway so the driver diverted through some villages. This delayed us by an hour but the children were brilliant. They didn't moan - they just got on with it. Big Pit was superb. The children  learnt about the poor children, expected to work from the age of four, often spending twelve hours in total darkness. 

After we arrived at the centre, the staff burst into action, providing a meal for all and tidying up before a walk up to the visitors centre. Not all children had the energy for a walk and turned in early. The others were treated to a beautiful sunset and a clear view of Pen Y Fan. The challenge accepted for two groups tomorrow. A chilled start for two with The Birdman. Caving and waterfalls for the other. It's 10.15. The runners and riders are asleep - or talking very quietly. It's time for bed!





Day 2

This morning, staff were up bright and early, preparing breakfast and the lunches. I have to say that the children settled to sleep well. Potentially the best of any year group ever in the history of Sholing Junior School. That being said, I was awoken snoring which sounded like a foghorn warning ships as a consequence of fog on the Tyne. We will find the culprit later! Think it may be a member of staff.

The children were all fed, cold and hot breakfast and armed with their packed lunches. All done and dusted by 8.10am.

Then the prep began. Caving suits, wet weather gear, mountain boots and hats were distributed. Alfie came prepared for Pen Y Fan with his crocs, and despite the fact that they, as he put it, were in ‘sport mode’ he was sent to get boots! And what a trip it was. Under the sunshine of South Wales, we forged on. Group 2 set off, going like a wig in a hurricane. They soon powered up to the summit. Notable comments from Matas as we were tackling the steepest part of the mountain: I really should spend less time on my computer! But despite the pain a variety of cramps, we all fought through it.  Group one showed great resilience and under the strong leadership of Miss Lebbern, summited Corn Du. An amazing achievement. Special shout out to Adam and Ollie, our resident mountain goats. They all did well actually….and that’s a mountain ticked off the list for group one and two!

For Group four and five, they had a relaxed start to our week, as they spent our morning with Wings of Wales, learning about Birds of Prey. An enthusiastic bunch, they were all raring to go! We met 5 incredible birds but highlights were: Florence (white tailed eagle), Tracey (Harris Hawk from Essex) and Twizzel (African Harrier Hawk). All children were able to stroke the eagle’s claws after, which could do with some moisturiser! Despite some nerves, the groups were incredible and we have some smashing photos of the children with the birds. Two particular experts were River and Sol, who have careers in handling wild animals! After, they spent some pennies on a lot of Lucozade, Kit Kats and novelty magnets for you all to enjoy! And just to say, when the children visited the shop and the playground, a parent who was visiting the centre, said how well behaved the children were and how nicely they were playing. She also added that they set a really great example to her own daughter. High praise indeed

Mrs Smith took her group to the caves and the waterfalls (photos now in). This group were quite simply brilliant. They just simply had fun. I think that they may well have had the best day. Splashing around and enjoying the great outdoors. We think the pictures speak for themselves.

Day 3

Wow! What a day that was. Teds dancing to Ed Sheeran at 7.30am seems all but a distant memory – brilliant Ted! Two groups caving and in the waterfalls today – one of the cameras is safely locked in the office so more photos from that activity tomorrow.

The weather has not been great and it has rained quite a bit today. The sun has been ‘as rare as a budgie with chapped lips’ but that has in no way dampened the team’s spirits.

Lewis, the birdman came and inspired the children in all things falconry. Really worth looking into if any of our families ever come to visit Wales. He really is brilliant. We met a very naughty bald eagle, Tracy the Harris hawk put on a show and Bert the barn owl was a delight, sitting in the eaves of the outdoor classroom.

Mrs Smith took on the mountain with her group. Led by an experienced mountaineer, they conquered Corn Du in difficult conditions. At times they were actually above the low lying clouds. There were no real complaints, just inspiring attitudes with Elliot, River and Jonas notable mentions. All the group did well in fact the mountain leader took it upon himself to let me know how brilliant they were when he returned. One of the nicest groups he’s worked with!

The children have worked really hard each day but tomorrow is going to be the real challenge. Two groups up the mountain, two down the caves and one with The Birdman (the lucky ones). ‘We march on’ as they say in Southampton.

Day 4

What a final day!!! Absolutely exhausted!! We thought it would be a bit of a struggle to get up the mountain but not so. They made the summit of Pen Y Fan in record time! Up to the waterfalls, over the ridge with a final scramble over the nose to victory. I believe Mrs Taylor reported the summit at approximate 1pm – almost one hour faster than any other group. Miss Rickards group were not far behind. An excellent effort from both – easy according to Anthony!! If that wasn’t enough, they had time for a bit for ‘sightseeing’. A number of metal targets, installed on the mountain as target practise for the brave Second World War pilots in their spitfires!! Beautiful.

Two groups ventured down the caves which proved to be a challenge for some. Sol showed great courage braving the world renowned ‘letterbox’. Sadly, Mr H had forgotten to cover himself head to toe in goose fat and WD40, so through fear of becoming wedged, took the photos instead.  

The waterfalls were great. Cold but great. Really cold. Freezing! But, as you would expect, the children didn’t really care as the jumped in to the water. They had an absolutely brilliant time.

For the third and final time, ‘The Birman’ arrived with a few different birds. Twizzy the Gimigen took off and refused to return. After a skirmish with a couple of red kites, she came home in disgrace. The falcon put on a show, flying from great height to attack the lure at insane speeds! The children quite simply couldn’t believe it.

Well, it’s been a blast. The children are exhausted, the adults still going and the end is sadly in sight. I have been to Wales with children from Sholing 18 times. The children on this trip are up there. They may well have been the very best. What a way to sign off!! We thank them all so much for the great memories and just one of the many legacies they will soon leave us with.

Unwrap the nose pegs and fire up those washing machines. We’re coming home!