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!
Each night, in addition to the blog, one group of students is able to go to the climbing wall whilst the remaining two groups stay on site and complete team work and problem solving exercises. Here are a few pictures of each – the local climbing wall is an excellent facility, which we are very lucky to be able to visit!
Today we went gorge walking. Gorge walking is when you go climbing, walking and swimming in a river.
In the morning Miss said we had to bring wellington boots, a KMC jacket, KMC waterproof jacket, waterproof pants and a spare change of clothes. We knew this was going to be thrilling! Now we loaded helmets, harnesses and life jackets. It took 45 minutes to drive there in a minivan. On the way we stopped for a toilet break.
We walked up a hill, to get to the river, but as we got in the river, we noticed that a little bit up, there were two groups ahead of us, taking a long time, so wisely Miss said to go around them. Then we walked up a little dirt track to half way up the river. Then we proceeded to climb up the river. We noticed the coldness of the water, as soon as we got it the deeper water. You can feel the water rush down your leg and in to your boots.
We came to a waterfall! As soon as we came to a deep enough pool, Oscar dived in… when Miss said not to! The rocks were very slippery due to the water, and many people slipped over [Erin]. The walk made us very tired and very thirsty, luckily there was some fresh water falling from a rock; it was the purest water I have ever tasted in my life
Now we have come to a wall which we had to climb; we climbed in pairs of two with a harness and rope. Miss climbed up a slippery cliff to tie the rope to a tree; this was so that we could connect our harnesses to the rope and climb up in pairs; it was quite challenging because the people at the top kept pulling us up when we were trying to get grip.
Finally we got to the top. After helping everyone up we got to one of the best parts of the trip. There was a pool which we were allowed to jump in. When jumping in, they made us wear a harness. We wore a harness because when we jumped in, it was hard to get out, so they pulled us out with the harness It was the weirdest feeling, jumping into that pool; it felt like we were being swallowed, but our life jacket sucked us back up to the top.
We then came to a little pool with a trickle running into it. We used this as a slide. To make the slide better we got people to block up the river so when we were about to go, they stood up and a massive wave came and pulled us down the rocks into the pool. We arrived at a rock with a hole in. We had to go through it; it was very tight in that hole. At the bottom was the water that we had to sit in to get out. It was NOT for the claustrophobic!
Getting changed was awkward. We went into the forest, striped down, then dried with a towel and got into our dry clothes.
The day began well. Lovely weather, a lovely, cheap ‘Greggs’ and 9 lovely kids looking forwards to walking for 4 hours straight.
What could possibly go wrong?
Veering off left, we strolled into ‘Tin-can Alley’. Our first stop on our tiresome journey made out to be harmless, until a wild ‘Caterpillar’ stopped us in our tracks as we saved the ‘Caterpillar’ from a harsh stepping on, after taking a quick photo of it.
As if a rogue caterpillar was not enough, we had a strange encounter with a herd of horses.
Further on in our trek, we discovered a rather large pile of rocks. Curiosity filled our small minds and we questioned our Pack Leader, Mary, on what these large piles of rocks were.
The ‘massive mountain of rocks’ are considered to provide good luck to the mountain hikers who add a rock to the pile. Whether this was true or not, we added rocks to the pile anyway just to be sure.
The rest of the way to the top was a tough scramble. We clambered up the crumbly shingle and if we didn’t watch our step we could have fallen – maybe the rocks were lucky considering we all returned safely; we arrived successfully at the top. The wind roared in our ears, half-deafening us, it was freezing compared to the blazing sunshine we’d had on the way up. The way back down took a more interesting route as we stumbled down the high peak to a lake… here we had a sit down and caught our breath. After that we continued on our tiring journey to the biggest challenge of them all.
Descending ‘Devil’s Kitchen’.
(WARNING TO READER: This is where most things go wrong).
The slippery slope was like a death slide into a pit of dangerous rocks. One wrong move could result in certain death – or a scratch – you never know… Next, we found ourselves sitting on a lovely wall.
It wasn’t so lovely actually, it really hurt to sit on to be honest because the rocks dug up into your legs. And that hurts. Trust me. By this ‘lovely’ wall was a quaint waterfall. A small waterfall that you could drink from. The water was extremely tasty, I, in my opinion, have never tasted water so fresh.
After drinking this refreshing, natural water to quench our thirst, we scaled the wall and dropped down onto the other side. Now, the real fun begins. We struggled to remain balanced as we stumbled down the rocky, wet steps. These steps are either very small and close together or very large and about 5 miles away from each other, so yes, very annoying. After several trips, we banded together to help each other. This was a very good idea, because this place is named ‘Devil’s Kitchen’ for a reason. So we all decided to help each other. Slightly further down some of us came across a dark cave. Some of the more brazen of us decided to explore this cave, however they didn’t find much. Afterwards we discovered a ‘falling’ rock. It took two of us to ‘hold it back up’-ish… After this the struggles were over and we steadily descended down to another lake where many of us decided to skim rocks across it. A record of 6 was created; but not broken… We walked on slightly further and our hike was over and although there were some scarier moments; we came back happy and safe (with a few added blisters).
We made good time to the centre, arriving approximately 1630 hrs. Initially the students were shown around the building and to their rooms – some of them learning new skills such as how to make a bed (take note mums!).
Mary – our Duty Staff member from the centre – briefly introduced some of the centre rules.
After a meal of Pasta bake and an ice cream for pudding we went through the kit issue process – a well-practiced routine to ensure that everyone has a full quota of the basic equipment they will require for the week, and a good opportunity for the centre staff (and me) to get to know some of the students by name.
In the evening, to stretch our legs following a long coach journey, and to check out the fit of the centre issued walking boots (and to manage any future urge to want to know what there is to do in Llanberis village!) we went for a short walk – approx. 2 miles from the ventre, along the edge of Glyn Padarn, past the bottom lake of the Dinorwig Hydro Electric Power station and to the Dolbadarn Castle – which is obviously haunted at this time of year! (I think for the first time in 10, maybe 12 years, Mr Aldersons team beat ‘my team’ there, and were able to hide up and jump out on us!).
Some of the students have seen their first cheep up close, so that gets another ‘mystery’ out of the way and Mason in particular made an attempt to develop Anglo-Welsh relations with some of the local villagers by introducing himself and explaining that he was from a country called “ENGLAND”.
All students were tired at the end of the day and went to bed fairly well. Just waking up now and about to go in for breakfast. we have a staff meeting at about ten to nine an discuss our activities for the day before meeting with the students shortly afterwards to let them know what we are going to be doing today, what kit they need, and where they need to be ready to go!
Weather looks good today, so here’s hoping for a productive day!
So here are some photos from our last day of activities at the Afon Ddu Gorge, despite there being LOTS more water than we would usually expect to see! All of the students had a great day (we hope).
The students have been a great bunch to work with this week.
Nick Terziyski’s report:
Today, our group, Snowflakes, met up and it was decided that we would go to the Black Gorge. We were looking forward to another activity day, as we had climbed three mountains in three days, and felt like a change. Yesterday, we went sea-level traversing, and we had really enjoyed this activity. So we were very pleased that this was chosen. This meant lots of water and lots of getting wet. We had to do a lot of preparation. We had to get a change of clothes, try on life jackets, wash and give back in our walking boots, give in our gloves and try on some wellies.
All three groups were gorging today and we were the first to arrive. We put on our harnesses and life jackets and off we went. I was the first to fall in however it was the only time that I fell in. After this we saw Alice fall in at least 100,000,000,000,000,000 times. On the way down there were various waterfalls which we could slide down.
We had to do a lot of scrambling to get up the strong current of the water, and today was a particularly wet day, as apparently usually, in other years, there had been much less water. This meant that one of the big parts of the waterfall which we could climb, was off limits, as it was very dangerous, and we could get trapped if timed it wrong; so we had to walk up the side of this part. This amount of water meant that the rocks and footholds were very slippery and not easy to climb, making it harder and slower to do.
There was a point when I stepped in what I thought was a small puddle but turned out to be a two metre deep whole I managed to recover and I did not really fall in. The water was freezing cold and made Lily feel like she was dead. We all had to change as we were soaked. The girls were allowed to change in the forest whereas we boys had absolutely no privacy at all changing behind an average sized tree!
We got back before any other group which gave us all time to have a nice, long, hot shower. Our evening activities were slightly different today as we were all put in 6 groups for a quiz. My team finished last as Craig’s team were awarded extra points for his shocking dancing.
Today Mike’s team went to Tryfan, a really good day out was had by all. This is a mountain measuring 915 m and it requires ‘scrambling skills’ and its fair to say, alot of courage. Poppy and Lauren saw Broderick again at the top – it’s a long story, and we established that Tom has a soft spot for the actress Emma Watkins. We saw Prince William again flying his helicopter but thankfully all made it back down safely again without needing his assistance.
Thanks from me to all of the group I have worked with during the day activities and all of those who have been present on the trip. A big thanks to Mr Alderson for arranging such a great week away where Dane Court Students have yet again shown that they are a positive group of young people.
Today was our last day of activites so we decided to go ‘Sea Traversing’ at ‘Cable Bay’ which was on Anglessey. First of all we started walking on the beach, then we came across a tiny hole which MIKE MADE US ALL FIT IN (9 of us). After that we went up a wall, across the grass and through a cave! When we got to the bottom of the cave we walked across the rocks and had a look in the rock pools. We found red things that felt like jelly 🙂 Then we got told a very interesting fact about barnacles 😉 On our way back to the van for lunch we were discussing what we thought we were doing later on in the evening. We both thought that we would have fireworks so Ellie started shouting “fireworks…..fireworks” whilst running down a very muddy hill, because this is Ellie we are talking about she slipped, and fell straight on her BUM!!
After lunch we used ropes to get to one rock from another which was sehr gut, we had three go’s each… trying to flip over in mid air! (VERY HARD)
After trying and not succeding we moved to another rock where we had to crawl across the top and it was quite painful!
We then went back to the van and were first home(:
Hi Everyone… We just had fish and chips for dinner :)yummmm.
because its our last day the teachers have told us that we are going to do a fun night activity, but we still dont know what it is:\
This is Ellie&Maddy saying good bye for the last time (because we are going to pack our bags:)
You Know You Love Me xoxo Gossip Girl (Maddy&Ellie:)
Bye for the last time blog we love you, and KMC…BYEEEEE xxx
Well today we went ‘Gorge Scrambling’ in the Afon Ddu gorge. This is basically trekking up a very steep river, trying to get to the top. This involves climbing up waterfalls, wading through deep water, thanking the goddess of the gorge for keeping us safe and going up through ‘the elephants bottom’!.
The team have come on great guns since Monday, and it is clear that confidence is building and they are all looking out for each other. This activity in particular highlights the need for people to work together and help others. It also calls for a bit of courage here and there, and this is something that everyone in ‘team zonkey’ is appears to be full of. Both Mike and Myself commented on what a nice day we had at the gorge, and what a nice group of people we have the opportunity to work with this week – so thanks!