Last week saw the Junior Forms head off on their much anticipated residential trip to Ravenstor Youth Hostel. Excitement levels were high as we left S. Anselm’s despite the slightly less than summery conditions!
Out first stop was Cromford Canal where the children were greeted by the Acclimbatize team who would be leading their activities for the day; canoeing, fire lighting, team building and rock climbing. The Year 5s were up first with the canoeing, paddling in teams of 3. After a bit of steering practice, the group set off down the canal with the instructors, soon getting the hang of how to move in a straight(ish!) line.
Meanwhile, the Year 3s were facing the prospect of climbing to the top of the freestanding climbing wall tower. The height of the tower might have been a bit daunting, but all the children managed to overcome any trepidation and gave it a good go. For some, the climbing was the easiest part – it was letting go at the top they found difficult!
By this point it was lunch time and the children, thoroughly soaked from the persistent rain, welcomed the chance to sit under cover and eat their much-deserved sandwiches.
After lunch, the children finished off their sets of activities. The Year 3s particularly impressed in the team building challenges with the two teams working well together particularly when crossing the deadly snake pit!
All the groups enjoyed also enjoyed the fire lighting activity, not least because it was undercover and provided a bit of warmth to some very cold fingers!
All the teachers were extremely impressed and proud of how enthusiastic and resilient the children were throughout the day. The weather was awful and the children were, without exception, soaked to the skin – but the children remained in high spirits and made the most of what was on offer.
When we arrived at Ravenstor, the children were shown to their dorms and were very grateful for the chance of a hot shower and change of clothes before a delicious dinner. After dinner we were all inducted into the Alex Rider Spy Academy which would be the theme for our activities over the next two days. An hour of code breaking and rocket making followed before the children went to bed, ready for the next day’s adventures!
On day 2 of our trip we were woken by an amazing breakfast which allowed us all to be fuelled and ready for the full day of activities ahead. Through the course of the morning and afternoon the children covered a range of outdoor activities and thankfully the weather was on our side. The years 3 and half of four enjoyed a morning of team building exercises and archery while the rest of the group started the much anticipated den building mission, all within the wonderful grounds of the hostel. There were some excellent dens built and there had been talk of some toasted marshmallows as well as a very heated archery competition. The topic of conversation over our picnic lunch was how well everyone had done with the morning activities and there was much anticipation and excitement of how skill and expertise were to be proven with the changing of activities in the afternoon.
After a full packed day it was time for the rocket launch where, of the many eggs that were blasted into the atmosphere many survived their journey, a few were sadly lost on their quest and only a couple were lost in the name of research. With the rocket survivors safely back in the kitchen, the children were sent to ready themselves for what was fondly referred to as ‘Operation D.I.S.C.O’. The glad rags/disguises had been donned and our academy leader Dusk Jaguar had prepared a playlist that meant we were all able to show our terrific dancing skills, making sure that we were all tired and ready for our final night's sleep.
We all woke up on Friday refreshed from a good night’s sleep and ready for our final day’s activities. After another hearty breakfast we stripped our beds and packed our bags before heading off on exploration walks around Tideswell Dale.
The Youth Hostel Instructors gave us a comprehensive natural tour of the local area covering river life, insects, fossils and geology the process. The children listened intently and enjoyed these things for themselves, as well as having a lovely time being out in the countryside. After a packed lunch in an idyllic meadow, it was a varied walk back to the Youth Hostel, with the steep hill up to the building offering the final challenge to some very tired legs! Again, the teachers were very pleased with how determined the children were and how much they enjoyed their walk.
Having said our final goodbyes to the Youth Hostel, a short coach journey (though long enough for a few naps!) brought us back to S. Anselm’s.