After a quick get away, thanks to the incredible packing skills of Mr Watling and his ‘Harry Potteresqe’ van and the expert driving skills of Mr Herbert to navigate the minibus out of the car park, we were thwarted in our attempts to be early by a burst water pipe shutting the road into Wareham. The intellect of two smart phones, and Mr Grinsted and Mr Herbert, meant we weren’t too late and after a scenic detour (a view and whiff of cows – to which the response of some children would suggest they had discovered a new species), we arrived!
After meeting the onsite pigs, thoughtfully named Bacon, Sausage and Pork Chop by our children (incidentally last year’s year 6 had the same imaginative names), we toured the site to find all the necessary places of our home for the next 5 days.
It was then time for our first activity: 2 groups went kayaking, 1 group went climbing and 2 went pioneering. The kayakers explored the seas, some drifting a little from shore as they deduced synchronisation was key to moving in the right direction while others raced the instructors navigating the choppy waves. After descending down, the climbers fearlessly pushed themselves to new heights while the pioneers built new constructions Isambard Kingdom Brunel would have been proud of.
For tea: chilli, rice and nachos with salad, and fruit salad for pudding filled us up, before some free time playing a range of games on the field.
After a sugar rush, our evening activity was a choice of mini Olympics, chilling with card games or watching England, or drifting between the 3 as keeping focus for more than 5 minutes can be challenging.
After some more free time, the children drifted off to bed (well most of them) and then eventually they all settled down. A bit of a snoring contest then began – a few strange noises from the children followed by a few loud grunts from the staff. Let’s hope they don’t stir too early!
A few quotes from the first day…
‘I liked making the thing’ then after a little prompting / I enjoyed making a catapult out of logs and ropes. We fired tennis balls to knock over a toilet roll pyramid.’
‘I liked going into the water and falling off my kayak’
‘I enjoyed beating Mr G at Linkee’
‘I enjoyed pushing Mr G into the water’ (she said with a mischievous smile)
And the staff quote of the day…
‘Well I liked driving for 7 and a half hours – 6 fabulous trips touring the scenic Purbecks by mini-bus, car and ferry.’
‘IT’S 4.30AM! GO BACK TO SLEEP!’
Were the thoughts of the staff as they lay gazing up at the roofs of their tents hoping the voices of a few would not stir the many.
‘IT’S 5.30AM! GET BACK IN YOUR TENTS! Were the words softly spoken as Mr G herded some children off the football pitch.
Sadly the hope of the children not stirring to early did not materialise but they didn’t wake in the night so we are thankful for that. After a tent inspection with lots of tidy tents on show, we headed to breakfast for cereal, toast and sausage sandwiches. A busy day awaited.
We headed to the woods and after a few games to get us going and collecting sticks to keep the fire lit, we set off on a rotation of 5 activities: fire lighting, archery, knife skills, shelter building and bread making.
You could ask you child what they learnt when they’re back:
What are some of the ways they can create fire? (friction, electrical and chemical)
What direction should the arrows always be loaded in archery? (Down range)
When using a knife, what is the safe space called? (Blood bubble)
What are the key ingredients for making a quick bread? (Flour, water & salt)
What are the essentials you should think about when building a shelter? (Protection from wind and rain, hidden, strong)
Interspersed between the activities was lunch with Cornish pasties, crisps, fruit and flapjack on the menu with the child who best thought their water bottle should be stored in the recycling bin yesterday collecting another from our spare supply.
After a busy day, a few showers – with some deciding their towels needed a wash as much as they did, and some more free time, we enjoyed our dinner of pasta and chicken, garlic bread, salad, and cake and cream for pudding.
After tuck and birthday cake, some more free time followed: chill in tents; sports on the field or Mr G’s Mystery Tour! – with those who joined the queues treated to feeding the pigs, a wander in a field, the smell of fresh cow pat and lots of love hearts.
During the evening we played a range of sports on the fields and after brushing teeth, celebrated those children who had shone like stars the last couple of days – those who had made that extra effort or overcome a particular fear.
Three whistles signalled go to tents, two whistles – settle down and one whistle – torches out. If only it were that simple…
Quotes of the day:
Loved making our own mini fires because we found out the ways we could make fires.
Yesterday was a very enjoyable experience because we got to do new stuff.
I enjoyed playing Predator in the woods as it was challenging and exciting!
And the staff quote of the day:
Mind your fingers!
4am All was quiet
5am All still quiet
6am Mostly quiet
7am The staff began waking the last few strugglers.
After a quick tidy of tents (and a second tidy up for the party tent from the night before), we headed for breakfast – a touch of continental: croissants, pain au chocolats, toast and cereal.
Today was a busy day with lots of activities going on. Some groups pioneered or did team building in the morning while others hit the seas in their kayaks. Those pioneering built friction bridges which they expertly balanced themselves on and catapults – they tried to use each other as ammunition but fortunately didn’t succeed. Team builders successfully navigated the plank and developed their communication skills – let’s just hope they remember them! The kayakers successfully raced across the bay and jumped between each other’s kayaks. The Henley Regatta warm up had been on the schedule for this session: Miss Roberts and Miss Dyer vs. Mr Herbert and Mr Sells. Apparently it was a draw, but Mr H said they had a head start.
After lunch of pizza, crisps, chocolate brownie and fruit, 2 groups headed out for coasteering, two groups developed their team building skills and and another practiced putting on their wetsuits inside out and back to front, scrunched up over their ankles before battling the waves on their open kayaks.
During coasteering, it was amazing to see children confidently jumping and overcoming fears of height and water to feel confident and successful. The children did a super job of cheering each other on also.
After a few showers (we hope everyone has had at least one by now!) and some chill time, we bussed our way to Swanage for ‘fhips & cish’ (or sausage and chips) and ice-creams. Not quite a candle-lit dinner atmosphere, but the seagulls made sure they provided a soundtrack, the entertainment, and a few more thrills for the evening. Ice-creams gobbled up we walked to the pier, grouped up and cast out crabbing nets. We were very successful: 25 crabs, 2 fish and 1 pair of pants!
The sun was setting and after we chose our stars of the day most of the children were still full of energy so after setting the rules of stay within the boundaries and no screaming the children ran to hide (screaming and shouting and straight outside the boundaries): hide and seek, 40 40 in and finally, the game they had all been waiting for, Predator – in the dark! Mr Herbert and Mr G guarded the base and the children had to silently get to base without been caught by the spotlight.
By 11.30 all was quiet!
Quotes of the day:
‘That was amazing. First it was scary but after you’ve done it, it’s really fun!
”Yay! I hit something!’ (he said striking the target with the catapult)
‘I’ve run out of synonyms.’
‘I got pooed on by a bird’
Staff quote of the day:
‘I’m desperate for a cuppa!’