Our last day of activities involved all the groups included ours journeying into the gorge. We arrived relatively early and set about harnessing up and checking that we had sufficient equipment, after a short walk into the woods we came to the rush of water. The activity began with our group gently making its way up the ever-increasing pools. We helped each other find hidden footholds under the white froth and worked slowly step by step up into harder and more difficult routes and terrain. Along the way we saw other groups struggling or laughing as they traversed similar scrambles. One group in particular were doing a route were you slide yourself under a narrow crack in the slippery rock and fly down a steep face while being pelted with spray. After a while of generally simple walking we came to place were the water was far too deep to avoid being soaked down to your clothes. We braved the freezing pool and emerged with a sense of achievement and wet long johns, Higher we climbed up into ever-increasing waterfalls before reaching the furthest we could possibly go. There before us lay a waterfall spectacularly huge I gaped looked round too see my friends amazement only to see him do something out of an ancient comedy, slipping onto a well-placed branch a leg on each side and the piece of tree in the middle right into his exposed crotch area. He hardly made a sound as we laughed. We made our way down having a go at the slide in the process which finished off our thoughts of a dry day with no shower. We returned to the bus and began the epic journey of getting on dry clothes before listening to terrible music all the way back to the centre. In all a nine out of eleven day.
Friday morning was a morning like any other, wake up at silly o’clock in the morning to make sure you get that first place in the shower. Then would be a trip to the drying room to pick up the clothes wrecked by the day before. Finally a sit down for around 3 seconds before the bell goes for breakfast. Once all the beautiful cooked breakfast had been hovered away we got into our groups and found out it was going to be another “rest day” do not be fooled, it doesn’t mean sleep and relax this only means it is going to wet, cold and mud just not as high up. So after a brief explanation on what the day would bring by Mr Alderson and “Whitey” we set off to the gauge. Slippin’ n slidin’ up a difficult route to the top (we had to fit through gaps smaller than Charlie) we then saw the most amazing waterfall, after a quick picture we started a long decent. Due to already handing in our KMC rucksacks, soup stops were not an option which proved very stressful for the group. Even Mr White was struggling without his daily 18 Jaffa cakes. While on our way down we all decided to pointlessly go down the stream because “yolo” and we all got very wet and cold especially Dan and Lewis who decided to go head first. All the boys did it proving their supremacy, just saying. This was closely followed by a climb down the elephants bum (two big rocks with a small hole in the middle) we then finally got back to the mini bus changed into clean-er clothes and sung our way home. Dinner an American theme of burgers and a muffin the evening brought us a hilarious quiz won by the “pundits” lead by Ronan. However after his efforts on the dance floor Craig was definitely worth a mention for his exceptional moves and points he won which quite frankly without, his team had no chance. We all then sat in the common room and watched outnumbered, a really funny day and definitely worth the wait.
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 was a long day. After a slow start at breakfast, we rushed to prepare for our day on the mountain. It took us roughly 15 minutes to arrive at our starting point in the minivan, however Rachel and Mr. White didn’t come along with us. Instead Mr. White took Rachel to the nearest doctor’s surgery about her cough. (She started coughing at about 9:30 pm yesterday through until about 10:50 pm.)
Straight away from the start, Lewis and Charlie thought they had found a shortcut away from the path and away from the group, along the lake. So as the group set of down the path, Lewis and Charlie set of on their adventure, hand in hand running away. So as the group made it way along the bridge, with them nowhere to be seen. We waited, later to see them running around the corner, with their jealous little faces at the thought we had stopped for a tea break.
We then had the decision to go either the easy or the hard way. Eventually due to good weather we took the harder route and scrambled most of the way up. Most of the group decided against this, but in the end Mr Alderson laid down the law. So we went the hard way.
Further up the path, Maddy and Becca started to fall behind and ended up getting blown off the track. Craig came to the rescue and they followed him like lost sheep.
We then stopped to eat our lunches, except Becca, who got a craving for something else (see featured image).
Then we continued climbing for a while, and came across a man taking the same route on his own. He passed us quickly so we followed him all the way to the top, finally reaching the summit at quarter past one. We stopped for about ten minutes by the train station at the top and ate Dan’s chicken soup.
It took our group 1 hour and 38 minutes total moving time to get to the summit of Snowdon. It took 1 hour and 20 minutes to go back down again and Becca 2 hours.
In the end overall we all believed that the day was a great day towards the end of our trip and we made a lot of progress.
Today, many people in SNOWFLAKES were excited about today’s adventures, than before, as we had climbed 3 mountains in 3 days, and NEEDED a break! We were all very tired, and had climbed Snowdon yesterday. Today we had an activity day, – less tiring!
A filling breakfast still had a complaining Nick Terziyski, who was still very annoyed at having a small pizza yesterday-evening, but his annoying complaints were made-up-for, when he dropped his own banoffee pie into his hands and crushing it, and then was made to eat it himself!
Our group met together in the dining room, as usual, and had our routine prep talk. We discussed and chose to go sea-level traversing, one of the activities possible!
After getting ready and collecting ropes, safety buoyance aids, and helmets, we got into the coach and drove off to the coast which was around 45 minutes away. Once again, we were accompanied by Nick Terziyski’s classic singsongs, and now have a radio in our NEW coach!
We got to a car park, a 10 minute walk from the rock cliffs, the choppy sea crashing against them, and strolled to it, carrying heavy equipment.
Lou, our team leader, set up a climb for us, moving across the cliff, by attaching ropes to parts in the cliff, low down. This was a challenging task for us to do, as it was very low to the choppy, cold, strong waves. We had to clip our karabiner hooks to the ropes.
Everyone coped with the slippery hook holds in the cliffs, apart from Lily O’Brien, who now has a phobia of sea water, after hating the feeling of two waves crashing over her while doing the climb! Whilst Jasmine and Nick had finished, the others were still going as they were challenging harder waves and trying to figure out what was a few steps ahead of them. After the first challenge of traversing we travelled a few metres to a new type of cliff and Lou went ahead to set up the rope for us to face. Once we started this scramble we immediately went down towards the sea and we had to jump over a metre and a half gap to carry on the traversing along the high but very exciting edge of the cliff.
Many funny things had happened, including, just when Adam was finishing the second part of the activity, he was so dumb enough to clip his hooks onto the next line, under the line before, trapping himself! It took him a long while to figure out what he had done wrong! This was very funny and everyone who saw laughed! Though this was not the first thing he and others had done wrong….
After finishing the second activity, we moved on to do a very cool zip-wire. Lou set it up between 2 cliff shoulders, with the strong sea crashing up, firing spray into the air, in the middle of it. Everyone was brave enough to do this, and it was very fun!
This was a very fun day, in which everyone enjoyed, apart from the very scared Lily!
This morning, our group set off in the coach for some mountain climbing at the Northern Glyders, a collection of mountains in northern Wales. We started along a long and steep tarmac path up to the first mountain, with mostly sunny weather. Because of this we could see for a long way, and could see the sea from where we were; along this path we passed a mountain from which a lot of slate had been quarried, which also starred in both Clash of the Titans and Tomb Raider 2.
As we started to climb the mountain, we were confronted with 35/45 mile per hour winds. We stopped part of the way up to mess around in the wind, and did what Jez calls “Coat sailing”, of which there are pictures at the bottom. After this we continued our rocky ascent to the first of two summits that would be eventually reached. Just after starting the final scramble the top, I (Oliver) very briefly took off one of my borrowed mittens and held it in my other hand to do up my jacket zip, and the mitten was blown away from my hand and off the edge of the mountain in the strong wind!
When we reached the top, we took shelter in a partially ruined circle of slate (and other rocks) and ate our delicious lunch supplied by the centre, along with a hot drink to warm us up. This spurred us on to carry on walking towards the second peak, which would have been rather easy if it had not been for the buffeting wind. On the ascent of the second peak, the winds carried on ravaging us, and so forced us to take refuge in a circle of rocks. When fully rested, we started our descent of the mountain, and back along the long tarmac path back to the coach, passing at least half a sheep that had been left in the grass. The coach journey was quick and uninterrupted apart from the incessant singing coming from not only the back seats with the girls, but in the seat next to me, with Ronan giving his best efforts as well.
After getting back, we had dinner, which was very similar to Christmas dinner, in the respect that it contained turkey, stuffing, etc.
Here are a few photos of the on-site problem solving activities. These form part of the evening schedule for the first four evenings. Other activities are visiting the climbing wall and writing blog posts for this site. By Thursday all participants will have experienced all of these.
Evening activity groups are different from the daytime groups and change each evening.
After Mr White had courageously swapped his cake for some extra eggy bread, after his third breakfast we set out for an activity day. The twisty winding roads towards our destination caused motion sickness for Rachel, many others were exhausted from the previous days, however we soldiered on to complete another challenging, eventful and exciting day. Today was a more relaxing day which involved map reading, orienteering and more walking!
We always look forward to our soup breaks, especially after a tiring climb. Lewis and Dan were very eager to stop after their new craze for soup. We were split into two groups and went different ways where we would eventually meet each other half way to our destination. Mr White’s group were twenty minutes in front of Mr Alderson’s group and decided to eat their lunch in a tree sheltered area lounging on a mass of soft mossy cushions. Mr White marched on ahead whilst we stayed in our comfy den until we heard a strange whistling noise gradually coming towards us, we became unsure but when we heard Mr White calling “Bon Bon” calling his dogs to come (us) we were relieved. The other group finally turned up, we walked on then Craig and myself (Maddy) led the way and the teachers both let us do our own thing…we immediately went the wrong way. Everybody stopped at the riverside and the teachers started to attach large ropes to trees across a fast rushing river. All of us were anxious because the teachers deliberately didn’t tell us what activity we were going to do until we put on extremely uncomfortable harnesses and helmets on.
We did a Tyrolean Traverse circuit going crossing the river twice. Charlie Burgess bravely went first and excelled at it. Rachel’s turn came next falling over the big drop before the river. Mr White set a challenge to see if we could go on top the rope, which proved quite challenging sitting struggling looking stupid in the middle of the rope in mid-air. Lewis managed to get on top of the rope, however did not hook his foot so ended up dragging himself with the rope between his legs which seemed to be quite painful as he sat on the other side near on crying.
On the walk back we split apart from the teachers. They went an easier route around the lake and we went the hard way which was proven by Lewis falling over about 5 times on slippery branches and rocks. Being apart from the teachers made us feel very independent and we were hoping that we wouldn’t get lost on the way back to the minibus!
We started off the day with a big breakfast for the long day ahead; climbing Snowdon (largest mountain in Wales and England). As a group we decided to have a challenging day instead of a more relaxed as the weather towards the end of the week was turning windy and we don’t want to be blown of a mountain, now do we? We packed our bags and set off for the day ahead, not knowing what was waiting for us.
Parked up and ready to go; we started to climb the mountain all working as a team, taking turns to guide the group along. Unfortunately, the whole group was more excited for the chocolate spread sandwiches in our bag other than reaching the top of the mountain due to the weather conditions thrown at us from above. When we stopped to rest ourselves, Mike (our instructor) told us many myths of the great Snowdon including kings, giants and lakes.
Towards the top of Snowdon it began to get steeper and we became weaker but we pushed through and worked together to get to the highest point in Wales and England. As we finally reached the peak we were all proud of our achievement and glad we made the hard journey up, taking many pictures of our progress.
We expected the worst was over but we didn’t see the 2 billion mile long path which was said by mike to take 15 minutes but 40 minutes later we were STILL WALKING. Our feet hurting and Darcie desperately needing a toilet, seeing the mini bus and toilets was a highlight of our lives.
Rushing onto the mini bus to get back to the warm, dry mountain centre, we didn’t know our journey would be delayed by 45 minutes due to the mini bus not starting. At first we thought we would be dry but needing to push the bus into a parking space meant outside wet and moving our muscles. Sitting on the bus waiting for Mr Alderson to pick us up we amused ourselves by singing, laughing and solving Ed’s issues.
Eventually we moved into a WORKING, WARM bus to make our journey back. With a delicious dinner waiting for us back at the centre we enjoyed making Mr Alderson cringe at our singing to Beyonce. Warm and dry in the dining hall we laughed back at the eventful day we had and wouldn’t change it for a chocolate biscuit.
Overall good memories had been made for the snowflakes group and will remember it forever.
Today was wet. Which was ironic considering we are called the Sunbeams. Anyway…back to the activity, which was: Orienteering! Yeah, we had no idea what it was either, apart from orienting a map. It turns out that map reading was the general gist of the day.
So breakfast was pretty normal, the food was good, and conversation generally revolved around my incredibly terrible puns (There were so many milk puns I was just milking it!)-but really, they were eggcellent, truly cracking. So after breakfast we met Jez in the common room, and we discussed the activity, which was, as previously explained, orienteering. The challenge was to move around the course and stamp each point on our books. Pretty quick, and soon we were eggcited for the next part.
We then moved onto orienting in the small area of Llanberis. Me (Molly), Esme, and James walked alongside the train track which was from the quarry, and were miming pulling the train horn and then the train driver, surprisingly pulled the horn!! Then we came back to the centre and had a little snack before heading back off to a mountain.
Actually, it was a hill, technically, but still, it was very very tall (475metres). After a few songs and an Eye of the Tiger montage, we reached the top of the hill. Once we had reached the top, Jez and Ms Hodgett left us with our maps, and our orienteering skills to make our way to the parking lot, the other side of the mountain (Tall hill). With determination, teamwork, and a lot of excitement we managed to walk a couple of metres before somebodies…. Fell in a bog, not naming any names *cough* Ellie, Sam, Esme *cough*. So we continued till halfway keeping our spirits up singing many songs, and laughing till it hurts. But then we got to a junction where we weren’t too sure where to go, luckily there was a mysterious animal who makes your woollen jumpers (sheep). We followed him. He took us to our next bit, he was a very reliable animal. Originally, some of us were quite sheepish about following it.
So, we found some old quarry machinery that had sunken into the bog (I found it first so it was mine). I had that sinking feeling when we found it. A mysterious figure appeared behind us, and it had us worried, however, it moved away after a while. We began bog testing, and continued in our journey, relishing in our newfound freedom and self-sufficiency (I was rocking the new shoes!). And then they imagined Esme as a sheep. They wouldn’t stop laughing, and minutes later, we arrived at our next junction, once again using our map skills and a friendly sheep to guide, but once again, a mysterious figure followed in our footsteps.
After we had a small dispute over the next path, with a wall blocking our direct path, and a gate. Unfortunately, the gate was over a river. We eventually decided that instead of retracing our steps, we would continue up the wall, and, as if by magic, we found the gate, and another sheep. After crossing across the gate we went into a forested area, (we were going to make like trees and leave.) but then: Me (Ronan) and Olly faced off our mysterious stalker. It was Ms Hodgett. How anticlimactic, but before we could relay our findings to the group, Jez jumped out at the group, making them jump. We then continued back to the minibus, and on the way back to the centre we had a wheely good time.
We had a Wales of a time, singing more songs and driving over valleys (You could say the hills were alive with the sound of music). When we reached home, we waddled to the drying room, to hang up our clothes, some of us bundled onto bean bags watching ‘The Chase’, had dinner, and started writing the blog.