I'm an ex-Dane Court pupil (1992 - 1998) who attended the KMC many times whilst at the school. I took part in February and November visits to the centre at every opportunity, I took part in maintenance visits, a 'summer expedition' and I was a successful applicant of the school's 'E B Fitzpatrick award' regarding a climbing expedition that I organised and undertook to the Peak District with a fellow pupil.
Since leaving the school I have kept a keen interest in 'all things outdoors' and particularly enjoy helping out with the annual KMC trip.
I like to challenge myself - In 2009 I completed the '3 peaks / 24 hr challenge', in 2011 I cycled 500 miles in a week from Land's End to Broadstairs, and in 2017 I ran the London Marathon and the Thanet coastal half marathon. Next year I am considering the Brighton Marathon and the Thanet coastal Marathon & will be introducing my kids to North Wales and all it has to offer. One day I would like to run the Snowdonia mountain marathon and an ultra marathon!
I have experience in all of the activities offered at the centre, and have attended as a staff member numerous times previously.
My main interests are climbing, walking and running, although currently most of my time is spent chasing around my 6 year old son and my 3 year old daughter! So I'm pretty good at Lego and colouring too!
Here's to another successful trip!
Today was our final day, our dorm woke up 2 minutes before breakfast and it was a massive rush to get dressed and get our team ready to climb Snowdon. After a swift breakfast we all met in the common room where we was eventually segregated into our groups, today we were going to climb the tallest mountain in England and Wales. Once we were in the lecture room we were lectured (haha pun) into what we were going to need for the climb. It was too much stuff so I forgot but we had a full bag. We then hauled ourselves outside to where we had to put these torture-like device shoes on our feet. Grace had already got a sinkhole (blister) in her foot from these Michael Myers deathtraps. Then Keith (the big police man) told us to clamber into the minibus, we then proceeded to drive our 15 minutes where Lola wouldn’t shut up singing, this was going to be a long day. We reluctantly clambered out the minibus into the starting area of our climb. We had this walking stick which Lola held for a while it made her look like my nan on steroids. We then began to analyse this sign describing the two possible paths we could take and of course we took the hardest one because I love taking the hardest route, I do! After 10 minutes of walking me and Will realised we were about 100m in front of the rest of the group so Emma shouted at as and told us to wait. Me and Will looked like turnips standing still on a pathway in the cold. Once we had gotten past this predicament, we continued our long tiresome journey towards the summit of snowy Snowdon. A few minutes later we stopped for a snack we met a strange poodle who didn’t like people and then we never seemed to see that same dog again but I could’ve sworn we went the same way he did. After our small snack break we then continued to plod along whilst Jaan proceeded to explain how he was scared of dogs. Once we arrived at the peak we started taking photos on several different cameras owned by different specimens – this took some time. Once we had completed said task we then proceeded to start the climb down. Thankfully no one fell over but we had a few close calls sadly no one died. This was my last day at KMC.
[Ed.] Today, two groups joined forces to tackle the Afon Ddu gorge. Their individual group blog posts are shown below along with photos featuring both groups.
Wednesday night Ourselves and the team set off on a puzzle solving mission, Mr Taylor, and Mrs Webster [both fellow staff members on our exhibition], created difficult activities that would challenge us on both our mental and physical skills.
On our first challenge the cold hit us with us with a shock !! as we were tasked to drop a ball into a tube with one exit and one entrance, our only equipment being a hose pipe and eight people and ourselves. Soon after realising this so called ‘PIPE OF DOOM’ was completely covered in holes. The main objective was to get the ball out the pipe without tilting the pipe itself.
Our second objective was slightly more a teamwork based activity as we became challenged to create perfect square and circle whilst blindfolded, as a team we had to use our good communication skills and sense of direction throughout the task.
Thursday Our morning started with a disruptive awakening as we to skedaddle downstairs due to the siren of the morning breakfast bell. The breakfast given was a warming simple selection off pain au chocolat, bacon and scrambled egg. Once over we sat in our designated meeting rooms and talked over the plan for the day shortly before setting over on the daily venture. Both our and sunbeams group trekked through the gorge despite facing all the natural elements, such as rock faces, waterfalls and many very slippery rocks.
Once returning from such an exciting day many of us had warming showers since the gorge became ever so cold! As returning close to dinner time, we had little time to prepare ourselves for the evening meal. we had a scrumptious choice of pasta bake and roast dinner which we were ecstatic about and that was the end of the day. Since then we spent the evening writing this up…
We hope you enjoyed it, Alex Mundy and Devon Foster
Wednesday night Our team set off on an adventure on a puzzle mission, Mr Taylor and Mrs Webster were both running the activities, both members of staff. Mr Taylor’s activity was a wet one, we had to put a ball in a tube with holes in and try and get the ball out. We had to fill the tube with water and we had to put our fingers the holes so the water didn’t squirt out, this didn’t go so well, as Mabel ended up hugging the tube. The second activity with Mrs Webster tested our team’s communication skills as we had to make a square and a circle (with blindfolds on)
Thursday morning We were rudely woken up by the breakfast bell. we rushed down stairs and ate are breakfast then about 30 mins later we were on the minibus and where on our way to Afon Ddu, means black river. this tested your physical ability and your mental ability .There were lots challenging sections such as the elephant’s bum which is two rounded rocks that have fallen together, we scrambled up the elephant’s bum and eventually got to the plunge pool after an exhausting adventure we jump in and got drenched and had to get changed in the woods, eventually we got back to KMC and played manhunt…
After last night’s activities (team games) which included Water, Buckets, Rope Swings and bad fortune on Joe Sykes’ behalf, we woke up the next morning more energetic than we had been in the days before, ready for new activities.
We found out our next activity was sea level traversing , In the rain and in howling winds. we started by putting on waterproofs and layers to protect us from the Welsh elements. We walked out to a cave where we stayed for a couple of minutes; We steeled ourselves for the journey ahead. We then went to the cliff edge and tried to get to the rope (slipping a lot due to the grace of the Welsh elements; by this point we were very wet. by the time we got to the rope (Some of us grumbling), We all were explained how to clip our cows tail(rope and clips) to the rope while a massive wave enveloped us and left us soaking. We attached ourselves to the safety ropes and climbed over the hazardous rocks (remarkably not slipping), Afterwards we seeked shelter in the cave where we ate our lunch and defrosted ourselves
When we were getting ready for the Tyrolean Traverse, everyone was excited and ready to go. Oli went first and a massive wave came and soaked Oli. It was even more amusing (for us) because he didn’t have his waterproof trousers on therefore making him more susceptible to the raging sea.
After that, we all had another turn. Apart from Oli of course, for some reason he didn’t find the option of another traverse as exciting as us. we went back to the cave only to be told we will be going back to kmc early. Oli was overjoyed.
On the journey back we chatted jokingly about the slips and falls of our groupmates as we went back to kmc and washed the salt water off of the gear we had used (so it didn’t become damaged.) After getting washed and changed into fresh clothes we grouped up again (of our own volition), and organised a game of manhunt (hide and seek + tag) with the eight members of our group. We used the grounds of the kent mountain centre as our hiding places as one of us (Jaan at first, then me.) set out to find and catch the others who were most probably hiding behind trees or rocks. We were joined by the other groups (who’d actually got back at a reasonable time) to make our game more exciting. This carried on into the early evening until we went for dinner (Macaroni Cheese or Spaghetti Bolognese) After dinner. Here we are.
During the evenings, the students are split into groups, so that everyone has a chance to write a blog, everyone has a chance to go to the Beacon climbing centre, and everyone has a chance to conduct some of the problem solving exercises within the KMC grounds.
Hopefully you have read some of the blogs…..here are a few pictures from some of the evening activities….
After our breakfast which consisted of Bacon, Scrambled Eggs and Smiley Potatoes, we made our way onto the minibus, which was accompanied by Lola demonstrating how if someone mentions a single word, she can think of and sing a song that consists of that word (for example, if someone said the word sheep, she would burst out and belt ‘Bah Bah Black Sheep’ at the top of her voice.)
After our 15 minute long musical minibus ride, we arrived by a hotel and started to embark on our walk to the mountain (not even climbing it yet!) We went up a very steep path and on our travels we witnessed lots of sheep being herded off of the hill and into their pens. We carried on walking for 20 minutes until we reached a flat raised area in front of a lake at the valley by our mountain,where we sat down and had a snack.
After our 10 minute break, we climbed aside a slate pile, Mollie had a wonderful climb, considering that she fell into a bog and got covered in mud. Thankfully, (for her) her leggings were Annabel’s (Poor Annabel when she found out!) After everyone finished laughing at her, Will helped her out of her predicament.
Once we finished climbing up the slate pile, we arrived at a waterfall where Olli and Will kept throwing rocks into the water, on our way around , about to go up, Olli found an old abandoned mine shaft entrance, but it was too unsafe to go in.
After that, we started scrambling up some rocks, which meant we had started ascending properly up the mountain. After a short climb up the rocks, we took a quick break which ended with us all having a conversation with our instructor, Emma, about the scenery in the distance, this included an old nuclear power station, which springed out conversation into talking about fracking and electric cars.
After this short break, we started climbing up and around rocks most of the way up of our mountain. On our climb, we encountered two different paths up the mountain that we could take, one easy and one hard. Everyone decided to take the hard way up as it was more of a challenge for us. One of these was a few ‘steps’ that went up to the next area we were heading. The other was a concave gap in the rock that we climbed.
After everyone reached this point, we all carried on following our instructor up the mountain which was very tiring and demanded all of our energy that we had. After climbing practically vertically for around 15 minutes, we arrived at a small flat platform with a deadly ledge at the side that dropped straight down to the waterfall mentioned earlier. After another painfull climb, we finally reached our final point before we got the summit. After a short walk up a rocky, icy hill, we finally reached the chilly summit of the Moel Siabod.
On the summit which was 872 meters from sea level, we finished the rest of our packed lunches. Here, Will climbed onto the edge of a ledge overlooking the mountain, (certainly scaring our instructor!) After a long 15 minute break, and being plummeted by Jaan throwing snow like it was Christmas, we started walking towards where we came from, but took a slight detour to get back down. At first, it was a gentle, easy angled slope that we walked down for a while, but we arrived at a more steep slope, with many streams, icy rocks and holes in the ground full of deep water. For around half an hour, we tried (in some cases failed) to keep steady on our feet, this was even harder for Jaan as he was being ‘chased’ by a small, harmless dog that belonged to the family that was behind us. Walking down, we tried to dodge Ollis and Wills ice sheets being plummeted down the hill. Luckily for those not wanting to be struck by ice, Olli stormed ahead and made it down the the bottom of the slope around 5 minutes before us all, but the walking still wasn’t over. With sore legs, ankles and feet, we stuck to the path and carried on walking through some fields, inhabited by many sheep. Olli and Will certainly enjoyed these sheep as they were chasing them around, and Will even hid in the grass trying to become one of them. After hopping over many styles, we finally recognised where we were and ended up on the path that we were earlier, passing the sheep pens, up a small slope and down winding dirt track. Afterwards, we headed down our final hill, which was the worst as we were all aching from the activities beforehand. From there it was a small five minute walk back to our minibus and a journey that seemed much longer than it was on the way there. This was our second mountain climb at KMC.
Once upon a time,
Far away from Broadstairs,
Eight children set off
On a mountain with no stairs.
While waiting for instructors
Lounging in the common room,
Cbeebies kept us entertained:
Fairy Holly’s toy went BOOM!
Our very first mountain we’d ever climbed,
They call it Elidir Fawr
Helped us work as a team
But now we need a shower
We walked and walked, on and on,
We trudged along for miles
Trekking between the mountain tops
Up and down the stiles
Only stopping once or twice,
Trying to catch our breaths
Staying close to one another
Or falling to our deaths!
Sheep, sheep, sheep galore!
Ollie couldn’t hope for more.
Will found an enormous screw,
Picking it up he kept it too!
It’s Christmas! Wait, no it’s not-
It’s Jaan throwing snow (a lot!)
Mollie’s hands began to swell
The coldness really gave her hell.
Poor old Grace got a blister
So big, she’d grown a little sister
Say a sentence, she found a song,
Lola sang them all day long!
Harry was a positive force,
Making us smile throughout, of course.
Archie Tait, so brave and bold
Went the wrong way (if truth be told)!
A vertical slope we came across
And had to travel down
Sliding on our bottoms
We made it to the ground
Everyone kept falling
Though sticking to the path.
When Will slid down on his stomach
We certainly didn’t laugh 😉 .
Towards the end of our adventure
We came upon some piping
Falling on our hands and knees,
We found it quite exciting.
Throbbing feet, the final stretch
Our soles were very sore
We took off the heavy walking boots
And walked a little more
We finally found the minibus
Much to our relief.
We jumped inside and got a ride
Back to KMC!
So after a few hours on the coach, we arrived at the Kent Mountain Centre in good time. There was a brief glimpse of some snow on the tops as we entered the national park, and the sun was shining – although a bit of a chill in the air – we understand it has been an afternoon of hail stones back home!
Once we’d had an introduction from the lead instructor (Jez), there was just about enough daylight left to get the fire alarm test done and a tour of the grounds before losing the light. Dinner was pasta, salad and ice creams for pudding!
Once all of the kit for the week has been issued (rucksack, waterproof coat, waterproof trousers, fleece jumper, hat, gloves and boots) we then often head out for a short walk around the village of Llanberis, heading to Dolbadarn Castle, then back along the Glyn Padarn, which is the lake behind the centre. The students in the group that Mr WHITE and I normally take usually try and hide from the other group at the haunted castle = but there was no chance of that this year – they were a “vocal bunch” and very “torch happy”!. We also discovered a new and exciting additional bit of path to our usual route through the forest behind the Llanberis touring park (we didn’t get lost!).
After getting back the students have all had a chance to test out the fit of their boots, had a hot drink, and have been asked to have the lights out a short while ago. The weather looks good for tomorrow so its time for some sleep…….
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.
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!
Today we climbed the beast that was Snowdon but before we went we had a hearty breakfast of sausages, spaghetti and hash browns.
We were told to wear thick socks, long trousers and a thick jumper; spare gear was to be put in our backpacks.
The journey in the minibus only took 15 minutes but was fun as everyone started to sing ‘Fireworks’ at the top of their voices.
At the foot of the mountain Mary said we had two choices of route: easy and hard. She decided the easy route was the best for the group today so we started off on the Pyg Track.
A helicopter flew over and Elliot had a good shout hoping the pilot would hear. The walk was long but the scenes around us were breathtaking.
In the distance we saw both Mr Stavri and Mr Alderson’s group climbing up the hard trail; it looked cool and we hoped that they would turn around and see us.
After a while the cloud descended and we were walking inside of it! We heard the sounds of sheep, but could’t see anything at all.
We stopped for lunch at at Llechog and ate our sandwiches and cookies which were tasty!
When we finally reached the summit we were very tired but satisfied. We climbed the last set of stone steps and touched the highest point.
We had done it! We had climbed the highest mountain in Wales!
As we walked down we saw Elliot, Tom and Oscar crawling through a tunnel, making us all laugh.
The minibus back was a welcome break for our tired feet.