Fun and adventure in the Peak District
Friday 29th September saw a mixture of Year 11 and lower sixth students travel to Hope Valley in the Peak District for a weekend of exciting activities.
After a welcome dinner at the hostel, the students wrapped up warm for a 3.5-mile night hike around the surrounding valley. Despite being well-equipped with all manner of torches, hiking boots, and state-of-the-art GPS devices, several of the students managed to lose their footing multiple times, to the, at points, alarmingly zealous amusement of their classmates.
Saturday morning brought with it some classic English countryside weather: light drizzle, along with raft building. Following a short minibus journey, the students were divided into teams, to the dismay of some, and provided with a collection of ropes, empty barrels and six beams of wood. From this, they had to construct a raft capable of traversing the nearby lake, carrying their entire team, without capsizing or falling apart. One team, Team Two, was very efficient in their timing, finishing their raft a good 30 minutes before the other team, Team One, which languished behind due to unforeseen planning issues.
With the construction stage complete, it was time to test the rafts. Team One had a slow but stable raft, which chugged along quite nicely. Team Two’s design was built more for speed than stability, and required constant attention to balance. Three tests were in store for the two rafts: a race, a stability test, and ease of disassembly. Team Two easily bested Team One in the first, winning by a clear margin. However, test two proved more difficult—the teams were required to STAND on their rafts. Even the thought of attempting this proved too much for Team Two; with an ill-advised shift in position, and a subsequent lean from one of the team, the raft gave an almighty lurch and flipped over, throwing the entire team off, some backwards. Three-quarters of the team quickly swam to shore, while one lone member jumped back on to complete the task, later joined by one of his teammates. Team One looked on with glee, until two of their members evidently forgot how to sit, and dutifully fell in too.
After a ravenous lunch, the group set off for a nearby ridge, upon which they would be weaselling. This involved hopping, scrambling, shimmying and crawling over, under and through rocks of varying sizes. If this wasn’t enough, the group also had to contend with constant heavy rain (no drizzle anymore) as well as mist. This activity proved to be very fun, despite the weather, and was a highlight of the weekend. Once the mist cleared, there were also some spectacular views of the surrounding valley, which added to the experience.
Saturday evening offered a well-deserved rest for the students; unfortunately, many had revision for a test on the Monday—the notion they were on a school trip was never far away.
Sunday morning saw the students abseil off a disused railway bridge. For some of the group this proved to be the most difficult activity; being suspended 60 metres above the ground and asked to lean back into nothing is not something most people cherish. Despite this, the activity proved to be very popular, with plenty fears being conquered in the space of a few hours.
Lunch, packing and a three-hour coach journey passed in a blur, and before they knew it the students touched down in Cambridge, tired and cheery, with the welcome notion that school starts again tomorrow.