After a long journey via 3 stations, a quick jaunt through Glasgow centre and a private coach provided in Glasgow by Network Rail due to Edinburgh's neglect we arrived in Bridge of Orchy where our host Chris met the team. Another short journey led us into the idyllic Glencoe and picture perfect Outdoor Centre. After a brief introduction which included tick advice to some people's horror, dinner was ready followed by some free-time and a much awaited bed.
After breakfast, four groups were formed and activities included kayaking, archery, sailing and climbing. The river had risen alarmingly and canyoning was off the menu. The weather at this point was none other than Scotland's finest rain but, this did not dampen our spirits and all thoroughly enjoyed the very well instructed activities. Mr Carr unfortunately did end up in the lake rather quickly after capsizing his kayak but after a refreshing swim, normality was regained. Inge had an affinity with the bow and undoubtedly had had previous training with Katniss Everdeen. After singing Happy Birthday to Ella and a cake appearing, the last thing to appear that day was a tick attached to Will B. A brave soul, the little blighter (not Will) was detached and to Will D's delight, he accrued one the day after!
Ben Nevis day. This most adaptable and experienced Outdoor Centre had determined that the weather on Thursday was not ideal for climbing Ben Nevis therefore, all children made the ascent together on Wednesday. An excellent decision as the weather was perfect - much to our relief. The children were extraordinarily amazing and all reached the summit in good shape after going the hard way unknown to the public which included extremely steep and unrelenting inclines through scree, water and undergrowth. The expedition leader Rona was a lady of capacious knowledge and certainly exhumed a non negotiable attitude - you will make it! After some photo opportunities and yet more food the descent was gruelling due to the broken paths and steep inclines leading to a day of sore calves and tight quads (especially Mr Percival!). Bed could not come soon enough especially for the dedicated Mr Carr who was whisked away by Mr P to resume his directing of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The children all seemed to be in tip top condition not showing any signs of wear and tear from Ben Nevis. A full day of activities commenced and after a delicious dinner, it was time for a quiz based on our time in the Highlands in which a large amount of information had obviously been absorbed.
Again, the staggering stamina of the Year 7's was displayed with them putting huge efforts into their activities. The weather did its best to dent our enthusiasm but in the end, it gave up and allowed the sun to shine.
Certificates for reaching the summit of Ben Nevis were awarded to the children by the Glencoe Outdoor Centre after dinner and then packing was underway.
Our return journey home was helped with some early tasty bacon rolls at the Centre. After a long journey by rail which started at 9.15am, we arrived at Chesterfield - shattered at 5:10pm. An excellent trip was had by all aided by the very patient Glencoe Outdoor Centre, who were most impressed with the determined yet easygoing Year 7s who represented S. Anselm's wonderfully. A big thank you to Miss Clarke and Annabel Spark-Rogstad for their brilliant care of the children.