Just a quick photo update from our final day, including a dry wood hunt; shelter building; tasting edible plants (love the reactions!); camp fire lighting; tasting pine tea and a final photo with Will and Po, two of our brilliant instructors.
Our final full day here has been a busy and engergetic one. We have been able to explore some of the wonderful natural environment around us as the activities continued in the beautiful area of Meldon.
In order to get there, we had to travel by mountain bike - mostly on cycle paths which took us past Meldon quarry and a disused railway line. Towards the end of this were stunning views which we all appreciated and some children said they felt inspired to use the setting in future story writing.
Along with our main instructor, Will, we cycled our bikes down to a small building where we left them before getting harnasses and helmets on for our next activity - rock climbing. We had already practised climbing on the artificial wall on Monday, but this time it was for real! All the children attempted at least one of the climbs and did absolutely brilliantly!
Following a picnic lunch, it was time for the eagerly awaited gorge scrambling which had been the subject for inquiry throughout the morning! Some initial concern by a few was soon forgotten as wetsuits and helmets were quickly adorned and the children were led (in two groups) by the instructors down to the water. They spent a long time 'scrambling' over rocks, sitting under waterfalls and jumping into plunge pools. The experience was a very positive one and most of the children declared this to be their favourite activity of the week!
We returned to the main site on our bikes even though we were all very tired, There wasn't much time for rest, however, as we had to have dinner (pizza night!) and then prepare for the disco. The children weren't too impressed by Miss G's 'cheesy' numbers but had a good dance nevertheless. After more cake and hot chocolate, it was time to call it a night.
Our last morning will involve bushcraft on our Braken Tor site before the bus comes to collect us and we return to school for the end of the day. We are sure all the children will have lots of memories to share with you of the adventures they have had this week.
A new day and time for more adventures within the grounds of our lodge at Braken Tor. Breakfast was another full and delicious meal which gave us all the energy to start our first activity - high ropes. We split into two groups and all of us attempted the crate stacking, bird table and triple trial. There were many surprises and personal boundaries pushed along the way which was brilliant to see!
We were lucky enough to be joined by Mr Hashmi today who came and supported all the children who were suspended at various heights, or dangling mid-air along the entire ropes course! We definitely needed lunch after all that excitement!
The afternoon was a little damp, but we still managed to try our hand at archery and mountain boarding. One instructor described mountain boarding as 'marmite' - either loved or hated!
Then it was time for our evening antertainment - a camp-fire. We toasted marshmallows, told ghost stories, sang silly songs and danced and, luckily, the rain stayed away! FInally we settled down in the lounge for cake and hot chocolate, before having a little time writing in our diaries and getting ready for bed. Tomorrow it is the most anticipated activity of the week - Gorge Scrambling, we can't wait!!
After a good nights sleep and a very satisfying breakfast (full English, toast and cereal) we were ready to enjoy our first full day. We walked to the main site where we picked up our wetsuits and boarded a coach for a short journey to the lakes where we spent the majority of our time in the water under a beautiful sunny sky.
Our first activity was raft building - boys versus girls! The rafts were created from barrels, logs and lots of string. When the boats were secure enough, it was time to rescue Mr Shakesby and Miss G from a tiny island in the middle of the lake. Needless to say, no-one came back dry!
The rafts were deconstructed and we regrouped again for a lovely lunch by the lake. Our next activity was canoeing which we all thought was brilliant -not all of us stayed in them though!
After a quick drink and snack break (of delicious cakes!) our last activity was kayaking. For those children - and adults- who had not experienced this before, controlling an individual boat proved quite tricky to begin with. However, with our fantastic instructors and a little bit of patience, most of us got the hang of it. We managed to play some more games that involved the probability of ending up in the water more than likely!
There was a final opportunity to get wet which a number of us decided to go for! Jumping, bombing or belly flopping into the lake ended a memorable day.
We arrived back at our lodge for some wet clothes sorting, free time in the lounge or outside playing football and volleyball. A lovely roast turkey dinner awaited us after this and then there was some preparation time for dorm inspections and the creative challenge. All the children have been enthusiastic, determined and fantastically well-behaved so far and we are super proud.
Finally tonight, the children have taken part in a quiz before enjoying hot chocolate and cake! Tomorrow will be another busy day...
Just a quick post tonight, as, following the night walk, we are all ready for our beds, not just the children! After a good coach journey down we gathered in the newly built dining room for lunch and a 'Welcome' photo.
After that, we got settled quickly into dorms and prepared for the first two activites, low ropes and the climbing wall. The children walked down to the second site at the railsheds and got stuck in.
The low ropes course was quite a challenge and the children did a fantastic job of supporting each other to complete it.
Finally, we finished the day with a night walk along the old tram lines and then up onto Dartmoor itself.
Then it was back to Bracken Tor for hot chocolate and cake to celebrate Amy's birthday!
Now the children are sound asleep and we are going to head that way too! A great first day!