Aberdovey Trip: Tuesday - Wednesday
Group 1: After spending the morning packing the massive rucksacks that we’d be carrying for expedition. Pupils chilled in the games room while waiting for the mini bus. The journey to the drop off point was 40 minutes and the group spent the whole way singing a massive variety of music. The trip leaders said they’d never had such an entertaining bus ride. 12:40 the ascent started. This group had the shortest walk at 6.5K but by far the highest elevation. After a lot of stops to take in the views and practice of their parkour moves we were on the home stretch to the log cabin. Motivation was dwindling so speakers were brought out and Oasis Wonderwall helped get pupils over the last hill and down through the woods. The log cabin was basic with just one room, solid wood bunk beds and no toileting facilities but there was a log burner to keep us warm and pupils were in high spirits finally able to remove their backpacks. After setting a bedtime for 9pm it was soon clear it needed to brought forward as all pupils were falling asleep where they sat. Next morning it was a quick tidy up and a short hour and a half walk before being picked up to return to the centre. Pupils quickly dumped their bags before heading straight off to complete a trapeze jump. This consisted of a 5m high climb up a ladder and wooden pole which swayed in the now rather strong winds, before jumping from the top and grabbing the trapeze bar. Almost all pupils managed to conquer their fears and have a go.
Group 2: Tuesday began with a hearty breakfast for Team Purja, ready for our big exhibition day. Bags were packed the night before, all that was left was to pack the food items for the next two days, then we were in the minibus and onto our adventure. The weather was drizzly but that didn't stop us heading straight up or mountain walk in search of our campsite. During the 7km walk, we encountered ancient woodlands, lakes, mountain peaks and even a few friendly Sheri to keep us going. Students were in charge of getting the adults to the campsite and they did an amazing job because we were setting up camp before it got dark. After settling down for our boil-in-the-bag mains and puddings, we set off into the woodland but this time in the darkness... and during a storm. We tracked the river leading to a giant oak tree where we sat, turning off our head torches to experience all the senses of the woods at night, reflecting on the sounds of the river, rain falling through the trees and the animals out at night. Heading back to the campsite there was just enough time to shake off the waterproofs and walking boots and dive into our tents for some very deserved rest. Wednesday morning was started off by cooking breakfast on the camp stove, followed by packing away our now very wet camping equipment. With our newly developed map reading skills, we headed off to find our pickup point. Back at Outward Bound there was no time for rest. Equipment needed to be 'de-gunged' and a Jacobs Ladder needed to be climbed. Although terrifying, every student gave it their best shot or helped guide the ropes for those climbing. Our evening was finished off with games aimed to help us reflect on team communication and packing ready for our water sports adventure on Thursday!
Group 3: Team Tenzing started Tuesday by packing up their backpacks with everything they would need for the big adventure. The backpacks were bigger than some of the group themselves... but we powered on! The group started the hike feeling unmotivated and kept asking "how long left?" "How much have we done?" (At this point we had done 3 minutes of walking).
Tuesday was long and we had many many snacks breaks, 'standing breaks' and 'moan breaks' (that was just Mrs Sivell). We started to set small targets to get us through and it was lovely to see the students encouraging each other so much. Mrs Sivell also received lots of encouragement because she really needed it. Eventually we got to camp and set up the tents successfully. We 'enjoyed' some warm tea of camping pouches and were in tents and going to sleep by 9pm.
The next morning we got up feeling tired but the knowledge of the walk not being so stressful today was encouraging and powered us on. It rained a lot and we nearly got blew off the side of the mountain. Eventually we reached the 'spot' which was an empty carpark with a little bus shelter that the group crammed in and waited for pick up.
Highlights were the students saying "I'm so proud of myself for doing that!" "My mom is going to be so shocked I did that!".
Group 4: Shackleton, Earhart, Fiennes, Shakira; all explorers who have pushed the boundaries of what we know. A new name can now be added to this list: Beig Group. These fearless (and slightly whingey) individuals have shown just how impressive a group of sleep deprived teenagers can actually be. The group spent Monday evening walking up a stream, over rocks and logs, and under bridges, before finally turning in for the night. The real exploration began on Tuesday with a seven kilometres hike up hills to a cabin in the woods where the students had no signal, so of course put their snap streaks on the line. All twelve of them pulled together to cook their food, keep morale up, and most importantly carried a tube of their poo back down the hill. Despite a few injuries (such as one such member falling into a stream and 'twisting' her ankle) all made it back in one piece and relatively sane. This sanity was only secured by the comaradarie of the group, and the excellent cheese toasties made overlooking the valleys.