Kent Mountain Centre – November 2018

This year’s visit will depart from school on Sunday 28 October 2018 (the last day of Autumn half term) and returns on Saturday 3 November 2018.
Current year 8 students are eligible.

A few places remain available.

The introductory letter can be downloaded here.

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Sunbeams alone adventure

Starting on Friday morning, we prepared ourselves for the day ahead, not knowing what was in store. After having breakfast we gathered in the lecture room for our briefing. After a weather check we were told that because our amazing teamwork in the gorge, our instructor was telling us we were climbing a mountain on our own; with our teacher and instructor a few miles behind. We were quite surprised that we were given the trust to carry out the activity.
Before going out onto the mountain, we had to practise using and reading maps by doing some orienteering. We were given maps with points to go and find and stamp, we all rushed away to be the first back. We later returned with the majority of our numbers stamped, and our instructor was happy with our mapwork.
We set off in the coach. When we got there we were given roles; Josh the medic, Holly the manager and the rest of us map readers. We set off knowing that it would take about an hour to reach the peak, in single file we travelled on now familiar terrain (not nearly as hard as other things we’ve done). After climbing a stone staircase we had a simple break having a simple snack.
After that we marched on to the next point and when we got there our instructor was there before us, we were so surprised. We carried on with our instrutor scrambling to the peak of our mountain. After reaching the top we were too cold to have lunch, so we decided to have it on the way down; we stormed it down as we wanted to get out of the cold!
On the way down we found an abandoned mine shaft and then a river. In the river Amelia, Josh and Holly were happily getting soaked, while Olly, who was at the back, carried on at the front of the group down to the railway. When we reached the railway we met our instructor again and had a bit of lunch. Carrying on, we walked down a dangerous fast flowing river, to the end.
In all, the day was very good, as we were given the trust to climb the mountain successfully and safely. Our instructor ended the day with a story about a dog called Gelert and some advice that you should know the facts before you make any decision.

By Freddie Sutton

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Gorge Walking

Firstly, we arrived at the gorge and got kitted up into our waterproof gear and helmets, harnesses and wellies. Then we set off and were met with our first encounter with water. At the time the water was moving very slowly and we quickly made our way up to the first obstacle. We were met with two boulders with a small waterfall flowing through it moving very quickly it was called the ‘elephant’s bottom’ can’t image why [haha]. We all got through this with ease, on the way to the next hard bit, i would swim in any bit of water i could because i was loving it!
Then we got to the next challenge, we had to abseil down a flat rock and onto a rock surrounded in water, everybody was doing it fine until i had just finished abseiling and had unclipped my carabina and was about to step to the next rock and i slipped and fell into the freezing cold water; Harvey did the same thing too! Then whilst we were waiting for the others, myself, Harvey and Mason dunked our heads under a freezing waterfall, we all got brain freeze that was peak! Then we had to climb up a waterfall, i was up first and i tried but had to go the other way, everyone else did the same as me except Eliza, she had done what seemed impossible, climbing up the slippiest rock ever!
Then just five minutes up stream we came across a natural slide into a plunge pool, we all did this a couple of times, it was really fun, then we came across another slide in the rocks and i jumped in a really deep hole. After this we had a ten minute walk up to another steep wall where we needed to use our harnesses and then we saw it… the thing i had been looking forward to most, the plunge pool! It was roughly 3×3 metre pool that was about five metres deep, we jumped in it a couple of times; it was my favourite part of the whole trip! It was a long, wet walk back to the mini bus, where we all got changed and went back to Kent Mountain Centre warm and happy.

By Ollie Aitken

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The final day

Today as the last day. Mary decided to go on a nice gentle hike and have fun. On this hike all we needed was: our clothes, our lunch, our waterproofs and our hiking boots. To get where we were going we took a van and a minibus. We parked the van at the destination where we were to finish and we took the mini bus to a lake.
We then left the minibus and walked along a rugged, public foot path. Soon we came across a bridge. At this bridge Elliot and Oscar dropped sticks to see whose would go the quickest in the water. Next, we started to walk up a stone rubble path, which meandered up a hill. Along the path we found a collection of a small house; Mary said that this would have been a shepherd’s house. She explained how he or she could watch all their livestock from his house because he or she was on a hill. Also, there was a stream and lake so there was water for his or her animals. We also ate our lunch in that house. After we ate our lunch we continued to follow the path up the hill. Then it started to rain heavily. Everyone reached for their waterproof coats. We now ascended the hill climbing over obstacles on the way. After looking at the amazing view, we descended the hill and followed a stream down over to a boggy area.
Along the downhill muddy path, we came across an old copper mine. At this mine Mary showed us how to find fool’s gold. To find it we looked for dark rocks and hit it with another rock to crack it and split it open. When you do that, sometimes you find gold and sometimes not. It’s all about luck. Klark was the first one to find fool’s gold in our group. After we had a hunt for gold we continued to descend the hill. On the way down, we saw a bench which was a memorial for a male who died while scouting. After that, we came across a river that we crossed by stepping stones. I fell in. WHOOPS! Now we continued down to a car park and ate some lunch. Next, we walked along a rapid river to the town where we parked the van.
At the town, we went to the toilet. Also, we went into a shop and brought chocolate and a drink. While we were there, Mary walked to the white van and drove to get the mini bus. While we were waiting for her, Elliot was talking to sir on how ‘Supreme’ [the brand] is good compared to other brands and explaining why it is ‘rare and expensive.’ When Mary got there, we climbed into the minibus and everyone fell asleep and it was silent. The only people awake were the teachers.

By Isaac Croft

Posted in Hailstones 2017 | Comments Off on The final day

Llyn Aderyn Lunge

Friday was unfortunately the final day of challenges of our action packed and adventurous week. We were instructed, by our instructor Mike, to carry out a set of tasks. We were given maps and had to undertake roles of leader, navigator and back-marker; only this time with a twist! Mike wanted both our independent and team-working skills to shine through.
The first activity was both exciting and heart-wrenching at the same time. The group was tasked with abseiling off the bridge adjacent to the location of the KMC. Mike set up some tricky and spectacularly tight knots, which gave the rope a certain tightness to it. The group geared up and clipped on their harnesses before abseiling down towards the ground beneath the rusty bridge. Once we had reached ground level of the bridge, Mike waved us off before we set out on our journey towards the first marked point on the map; the coal mine museum.
We had decided between ourselves that Jake would be our leader, with Cobi and myself as the back-markers, and Sophie as our sophisticated navigator. We journeyed on a path towards the museum, slumbering past rocky roads and back- woods covered in foliage, with scattered leaves and animal defecation aftermaths.
We reached the first point a little over twenty minutes after we had set off and Mike stood eagerly with orienteering maps for us to acquire. The task was to find landmarks in a certain surrounding area of the coal mine museum from which we were able to collect letters that coincided with the numbers given out. We explored top to bottom with the aim of collecting further information for our task and uncovering a secret message/code. Due to the fact of our time limit to perform each activity, Mike frequently checked our progress on finding a fair ‘chunk’ of the letters. He told us we were to meet him at the ‘land rover track’ indicating a point on the map with certain landmarks on that route, such as the morgue and hospital, which were famous due to their ancient history.
Our journey started again with Tom as the head of the pack, as well as the navigator, and myself as back-marker, once again working alongside Cobi and Jake, ensuring no male or female would be left behind. The traverse started up a secret, meandering path in which the whole group had to work as a team, ensuring the right route was to be taken, to meet Mike. After a long, sluggish and stretching saunter towards the destination, we met Mike waiting, in a smug fashion, as he sat in the boot of his Mercedes.
The third and final activity tasked us with the challenge of rock scaling and climbing. With tight ropes fitted once more and harnesses strapped and ready for use we ascended a great boulder, in a tight fashion, with two going up at a time, until we had all reached the top and from which we would witness a marvellous, majestic view of the surrounding landscape; mammoth and mossy mountains, tight and compact roads where vehicles daringly drove past and an eerie and misty sky which masked the tip of enormous mountains.
Mike instructed us to return back to camp, giving us precise instructions on where to go, the whole group started to walk home in a bedraggled but satisfied manner in the knowledge that the activites behind and the experience of KMC, as a whole, were at an end.
Mike complimented but also constructively criticised each one of us on where we needed to improve. Overall the day was amazing and definitely a great way to bring to an end our fantastic time, of this amazing adventure, at KMC.

By Theo Athinou

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Sea(l) level traversing!

Today, we trekked along the cliff side, journeying to our first location (the rocks and rock pools) to complete our main task of the day moving along the dangerous, jagged rubble of the cliff. This also included swimming in treacherous wave conditions whilst carrying heavy equipment, this was by far the best day yet and we were all totally exhilarated and it even came to the point where our instructor wanted to jump into the cool water. Our instructor Mary wanted to get all wet so she took us along the hardest path which involved getting soaked but it was great! Plus much more!

First of all we started off with a tiring and hard rock climb ( with no ropes ) however a good mate Klark found it very hard at the back but with a much help from all his mates, he progressed and became an asset to the team, as he went on to help others as well such as Josh, as at first he was worried about getting wet but after 5 mins, was jumping off the rocks into the water again and again and that was thanks to Klark! We all loved jumping and diving into the plunge pool; this was also a very daring experience!

Next we struggled and swam across the often crushing sea with our waterproof bags floating in front of us, Elliot and Oscar had the challenge of leading our group onto the safe rocks and into the cave and they did it with outstanding support safety and success, wow! Even with the hard task of the heavy bags we scrambled to shore and into the cave and were submersed in darkness. We soon found a sense of direction and with Elliot’s amazing senses we travelled through a thin close crevasse (there was lots of climbing and swimming), finally we emerged thanks to Elliot! Then we dived into the water to cross to the other side of the rocks; we where all having a lot of fun and were absolutely exhausted.

After an eventful day of climbing at traversing we sat down, had are lunch and some games and then rigged up some rope and were given the task of making our way down a large opening in the rocks. Oscar went first and made it down with ease, shortly followed by the rest of the pack, however, it wasn’t all so sweet as Matt nearly fell off!  But being strapped in by harness, he was safe.

Lastly, we all jumped in the water and were swimming around having a blast however all good things always come to an end and we packed up and went back to the van where our almost ‘lifesaving’ spare pair of clothes came in handy and we were all dry and ready to go home after a long and eventful day.

It was a very successful and enjoyable day and i think i can speak for most of the team in saying that it was one of the best! We learned some great skills and facts and we even saw a seal bobbing about the water! We all got very wet and cold but it didn’t matter because we where having such a good time that it was worth getting cold.

We would definitely like to do it again; sea traversing is our new favourite thing!

By: Oscar Miles and Elliot Williams

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Old cliffs of Anglesey

Today we had lots of fun adventuring across the 600 million year old cliffs of Anglesey. After eating a hearty meal we explored the deathly Barcoldiad y Gawres burial chamber, then continued our journey to traverse the freezing Welsh seas using the thin but sturdy rope to help us from getting from cliff to cliff.

The day started of well with all the girls oversleeping (even Miss Webster!) and rushing down to breakfast. Soon after, everyone rushed down to the dry room to collect our essential water proof clothing and got into the mini bus to start our exciting day.

When we arrived at our destination of Cable Bay on the peaceful island of Anglesey we started by scrambling across the jagged yet beautiful rocks, using our teamwork to help one another get around safely. Mike our instructor was extremely helpful and caring to each and every one of us and making sure that we could all have the best day possible (which was achieved).

After getting our socks drenched we headed back to the minivan to eat some of our delicious lunch. Once our stomachs were full, Mike got out our harnesses and taught us how to put them on. Unfortunately, some of us got it wrong but with a hand from a friend, we all got there in the end. Then we walked to the Barcoldiad y Gawres burial chamber with our feet squelching in our shoes. Behind the bars of the chamber there was a thick burning smell with many carved stones for the dead.

We soon moved on to tying the sturdy rope to 2 different cliffs with a deep drop to the sea. Shayan was the first person to scramble from one cliff to another, at first he was petrified with a bit of friendly encouragement he faced his fears and couldn’t wait for a second go. Soon it was Cobi’s turn and he was eager to try and do a flip, but was unfortunately unsuccessful. After many tries from different members of the team Kuba came along and was determined to do it and on his first try made it! Everyone had a few goes on the ropes and Jake couldn’t wait to jump. Some people were a bit skeptical at first but after other friends jumped, they were finally convinced and ended up having a great time.

With blue smiling faces and chattering teeth, we all headed back to the minivan to get changed into warm fluffy clothes. With the boys shouting at the girls to hurry up getting dressed behind the minivan, we all eventually went back to the mountain centre and had a karaoke session on the way.

Overall the team had a wonderful, adventurous day but were all happy to be back in the warm and could not wait for the next day to arrive.

By: Sophie Ingoldsby, Ella Berry

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Our day at the gorge 

Today we dove into a freezing plunge pool and squelched down a quarter mile of vertical roads all muddy and so cold I couldn’t unzip my coat, only to then get changed in the woods 20 feet away from a road. But it was well worth it, it was the best day of the week!

As we approached the gorge the sound of crashing waves on the rocks became evermore fierce and then Jez, our instructor, stopped and showed us a map of the gorge which was very deceiving as it looked tiny.  After a brisk talk about the gorge, we progressed onto the first stage of scrambling over the boulders.

It started off with a wide plateau and quite dry but after the first corner of easy skipping over stepping stones, it became thin and deep.

We came to a little pool with a short climb around it that we all finished with ease, this was coupled with a small challenge that Jez likes to call the ‘elephant’s bottom’, which was a thin slippery slope with crashing water coming through our feet, at the top were 2 rocks balanced together that we had to squeeze through; it was really tight, we could barely fit through, the biting water completely soaking us to the skin.

We then found a natural slide which lead to a small pool so each person had a turn going down it, first on our front and the on our back, each time getting absolutely drenched in freezing cold water which made 90% of the group scream, especially Josh.

After a while of hilarious scrambling up the gorge, we came to the finale; the plunge pool… it was absolutely freezing, colder than the little streams. Jez took us to a ledge about 5 meters above the pool and told us that it may look big but it’s actually tiny. It was surrounded by a submerged ledge that would break our legs if we were to land on it. We each took our turns to jump in but some of us, Ben and I included, wanted to do more jumps, so we had a competition who could make the biggest splash.

All around it was an amazing day that i would defiantly do again if i could and i am really glad i did everything and got as wet as i did …oh and by the way, Mr. Stavri face planted into a stream (due to a slippery rock) not once but twice,  in the space of 20 seconds…it was hilarious!

By: Josh C & Ben M

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Sea level traverse

Today we travelled to Anglesey to get stuck into some sea level traversing which many people were slightly worried about. Firstly, we all got up and had a great breakfast of either croissants or a cooked breakfast and then everyone split into their groups and went to complete their activities for the day. After a bumpy journey by minibus, we arrived at the sharp edged cliffs to begin our venture. One after the other, the members of our group clambered around the jagged cliff face to reach a narrow cave which was extremely difficult to get through and took a bit of time for everybody, especially Matthew and Harvey, but after a while they conquered their fears by keeping up and jumping into the water at the end of the day.

We approached a sheer cliff face. Mr. Alderson attached and clipped on all of the caribenas and rope in which Mason had to unclip on the way across after he had finished, we anxiously climbed and clambered along the difficult path across the edge of the cliff.

Next, we struggled into a narrow cave which produced many screams and shouts as the freezing cold water came crashing onto us. Soon after maneuvering into the claustrophobic cave, we came across a huge rock which became a struggle for all, however after many slips and scratches we all ascended over the mighty obstacle. Then after escaping the cave we all sat down and tucked into our pack lunch and the top of the cliff.

After eating our sandwiches and cakes, we set off again, however this time we continued our adventure with another group. our next activity was much more exciting, we were about to scramble over the tyrolean traverse challenging ourselves with different techniques and Matt started off with the hard method thinking that it was easy but quickly realising it wasn’t as he fell off within the firstly 2 meters off his journey but he then attached to the rope over the water to the lower rocks which we were then all able to jump off at the end. Despite being drenched in water, we got changed into our spare clothes and we began our drive back to the center.

On arrival the group members all felt a sigh of relief which was mixed with hunger as everyone was starving from a long day of hard work. After placing our damp clothes into the drying room we sat down and snacked on our delicious roast dinner and either  banofee pie or fruit salad.

By: Todd Henniker and Matthew Weatherley

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Snowdon

Today we conquered Snowdon, the largest mountain in the range. We started off at a brisk pace, thriving to beat the other three groups, who were also climbing the mountain. About 5 minutes in, the majority turned around to see Beth about 30 meters behind us, because her tiny legs couldn’t catch up. We then had to stop to let her re-join us.

Later on, we rounded a corner onto a small, stone bridge over some water where Harvey asked his usual question, “Sir, please can we go swimming?” the answer, obviously, left him downhearted. After crossing the bridge we became face to face with a digger and Land Rover which ended up following us up part of the hill before we crossed a small stream of water. We stopped for a quick photo and to check how far in front of the other groups we were, which was about 500 meters!

At this point we faced a steep accent up the rock face. As we scrambled we helped each other pick the right path to get to the next resting point. Roughly a third of the way through our treacherous journey, we realised we were all pretty hungry (as usual) so stopped for a snack.

We carried on climbing, and not long later, Harvey realised he was among the clouds and got really excited (again) and screamed, with a rather impressive voice break. This climb was quite difficult because there was a lot of loose rocks, resulting in a continuous shout of below below below. (Below is a word used internationally by mountain climbers to warn others below them that rocks have fallen, so they can take cover).

After a tiring scale we finally reached the top of Snowdon, where Harvey decided to scream again, which resulted in yet another voice break. Unfortunately the cold got to us and we had to wrap up and only managed to stay at the top for a couple of minutes before descending to a sheltered area to eat the rest of our lunch.

On the way down Beth suddenly had Eliza’s hands over her eyes and mouth while Mason stole her hat (which she didn’t release at the time) which led to Beth walking up to the place where she thought she dropped it and looked back down at the others where Mason was beckoning to her. As she got closer, she realised Mason was actually wearing her hat which resulted in laughter all around including Beth. Then we finished walking down the rest of the hill, with a more slips along the way, and Eliza, Beth and Izzy rolling down the road to the mini bus, where we waited for the other groups with a grin on our faces as we had managed to stay in front of them the whole way.

By: Eliza & Beth

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