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Keinton Mandeville

Okehampton June 2021

Thursday

What an amazing wake up call we had today; our very own Mr J!! The children were delighted at his quiet, considerate and calm approach at waking them up (his words, not theirs!!)

It was the sleepiest we have seen the children this week as they have done so many exciting activities that have worn them all out! Soon, after another lovely breakfast, they were fully ready for another day of exhilaration and new experiences.

We walked down to the other YHA site where we were sized up for wetsuits and where we could collect our bikes. The children practised riding in the car park and got used to the bikes.

We had some very keen riders who wanted to zip off immediately along the cycle path. Others were more leisurely in their manner and wanted to take in the wonderful scenery around us. We travelled for about three miles along a fairly flat track and this took us to the awesome Meldon viaduct – stunning views and a great photo opportunity!

 

A short, steep ‘off road’ track led us down to the country park where we had our lunch and then got prepared for our gorge scrambling afternoon. Putting on the wetsuits was definitely quicker this time around! We had to wear helmets and sturdy shoes as the river itself was quite rocky and quite fast flowing.

We climbed waterfalls, dived off of rocks into plunge pools, had swimming races and slid head first from the bottom of a waterfall into the river! Most of us are coming back with bruised shins and ankles…but it was totally worth it!

Everyone was looking forward to pizza night - and it didn't disappoint. Sticky toffee pudding followed, which filled us all up again. 

The children spent some time outside playing games and running around before getting together at the camp fire for a good old sing along and marshmallow toasting! 

The laughter, squeals of delight, smiling faces and carefree playing that we have seen and heard from all our year sixes this week has made all of the staff feel so lucky to have shared what has been such a precious time for them in a year that has been so very different from usual. 

Okehampton has certainly created some long-lasting memories for everyone.

Wednesday

After a very quiet night of sleeping, everyone was ‘gently’ awakened at 7:00am ready to start another busy day.

The yummy breakfast of pain au chocolats, egg muffins, toast, cereal and yogurts was certainly enough to fill people up and get them set for a day of archery, mountain boarding, climbing and high ropes.

There are definitely some budding Robin Hoods among the group and lots of children were able to shoot onto the target board and even pop some balloons!

 

Mountain boarding was more popular with some, who saw it as a chance to try out their ‘surfing’ skills on land! There was a lot of technique to this activity, but everyone gave it a go and were moving swiftly through the different levels of challenge.

After a lovely lunch outside at our house, the children had some downtime to play cricket and football on the field – still full of energy!

The next part of our day took place at the other Youth Hostel site and involved the climbing wall. The children were able to try different parts of the wall and increase the level of difficulty as they went. There were races and timed individual climbs – perhaps a tad of competition! Even Miss G and Miss Bugler got to the top!

 

We walked back to our lodge and then were ready for a very satisfying tea of bangers and mash followed by chocolate cake and cream. Empty dishes all round!

The children finished off this evening with high ropes and crate stacking – an energizing end to a thoroughly action-paked day.

 

 

ALL the children were focused, motivated and challenged themselves to achieve goals that they didn’t think they could and it has been fantastic to see them having so much positivity with every opportunity presented to them.

Monday

We started the afternoon with some team game activities.  The children played as a whole group and in two teams, taking on a range of challenges, which all took good team work to solve them.  They finished with a very fast paced game of Capture the Flag.  Here are some photos of the afternoon:

  

  

  

  

 

Following a delicious tea of spaghetti bolognaise, garlic bread and a pudding of apple crumble and custard, we are just about to head off on a night walk over Exmoor.  It will be a little brighter than we are used to in September!

 Tuesday - Alex's birthday!

After a fairly peaceful night, we awoke ready for a busy day on the lakes!

Our breakfast was very delicious and we could choose from sausages, bacon, beans, scrambled egg, or

cereal and toast! We packed our things and headed off for the lakes, situated just outside Okehampton.

The first part of our day was spent raft building in two teams. We learned how to square lash and how 

to tie 'D' and reef knots. Our teamwork was awesome!

 

After we had completed two (fairly sturdy!) rafts, we ate a picnic style lunch on the

side of the lake. We needed this ready for the interesting event of 'putting on wetsuits.'

Some of us have never done this before and it was quite an eventful experience!

We split into two groups again and went out onto the lake in either a kayak or canoe. Everyone got wet - some more than others!

The instructors were brilliant and led us through an afternoon of games, skill development, fun, laughter and 

lots of happy memory making.  We raced the rafts and then enjoyed jumping into the lakes at the end. 

 

 

 

We are currently doing a quiz after watching the football and celebrating Alex's birthday. We may have slightly let off 

the fire alarm!!

A great day had by all - tonight will be an early one!

 

Wednesday

The children all slept soundly last night and we had some quite tired faces this morning at 7:00am!

The sleepiness soon wore off though when we headed down to breakfast and there were yummy pain au chocolats, 

egg muffins, yogurts, cereal and fruit to choose from. This set up for another busy day, which was mostly on site.

We split into two groups again - one for archery and the other for mountain boarding. Everyone was keen to either practise 

their skills, or learn new ones and the focus and motivation from every child was absolutely brilliant.