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.
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.
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.
Today was a great day filled with many exciting moments. We started the day off with a long drive to cable bay, on the way there James was laughing at the sheep. When we finally got to the beach our assistant instructor Dylan, helped us put our harnesses on. In no time we were on the rocks, Ronan kept the spirit alive with his great puns e.g. we are having a whale of a time and I’m rocking my new shoes, these jokes were all very funny until the 50th time. We got half way and the waves were very high and crashing very close to us. Ellie was unfortunate and got hit by a colossal wave and was drenched from the chest down, luckily her hair did not get wet. Tyrolean Traverse was one of our activities, this was the scariest thing that we had to do so far but it was also the most exciting activate. Hannah had the most trips and falls and it was so funny but at least she didn’t hurt herself. Then we had lunch, when we took our helmets off to eat we all had helmet hair, it was very funny. Jez, our instructor decided to go to the other side of the bay. We had to climb over a wall it was very hard, but very funny when Hannah tried to help James over but failed miserably. After we climbed over the wall we walked 50 metres to where we saw a cliff Jez said we were going to jump through it but when he said that we thought he was being sarcastic but he wasn’t, so one by one we lowered ourselves down into the crevices of the cliff with a little help from Dylan the instructor’s assistant when we got lower down we were hooked on to a rope in case we got stuck, we walked sideways though a very narrow crack in the cliff to which was ended by…yes you guessed it more ROCKS! This was where Hannah’s jokes started e.g. what do you get when you cross Hannah and rocks…Hannah rocks, what do you get when there is a sea and a lemon…a sea á lemony Ronan’s ended luckily, after this mike took a group picture of us leaning on the rocks we all looked great! Finally after a long and soggy day we all climbed back into the bus where most of us had a little nap then we came home to a nice warm shower.
Although we all had some difficulties today we all succeeded in the end as we grew a closer bond from Ronan’s jokes, Esme’s face first fails, Hannah’s trips and slips and Ellie’s calamity wave fails.
Miss HODGETT’S group – Sunbeams
The coach journey was very tiring, then everyone had to sit through a load of meetings about the drying rooms and the kit. After dinner, we all had to go get our kit and then Miss Hodgett wrote down all the codes in the coats, fleeces , waterproof trousers and boots.
Some people were angry that they had to go on a walk after dark. We split into two groups. The one I was in went along the lake. Mr White made us turn all our torches off, and there were some scary bits, like when we all stood on the weak bridge and there were some slippery rocks which we had to climb down in the dark.
Mr White and Keith told us about the Lady of the Lake, which is a Welsh myth about a woman who used to row across the lake to see her boyfriend. One day, the boat sank and she drowned. If you see her on the lake (all glowing and white and scary), then you have to propose marriage to the person you’re with. In the end, everyone was scared of her instead, and we all kept screaming.
We mostly had to have our torches off. Craig’s shoelaces kept coming undone (we had to stop, shout at everyone about the lack of team work and “man down”).
When we got to another part of the lake, there was a small slate house. Mr White told us about a toll keeper who would make sure people wouldn’t steal the slate from inside the mountain. If they did, he’d run out and slam the gate.
Keith slammed the gate in the dark and everyone screamed.
Highlight: Ed fell into the marsh. There were wooden walk ways, splitting in two directions and he fell between them.
Soon, we had to climb up some rocks (I shone my torch up, caught a load of sheep and their eyes looked like lazers. It was horrible) to the castle. Mr White said something about the layout and strategy, then he let us go up the steps. I was at the back, making patterns on the ground with my torch and everyone started screaming again. The other group had come around the other way and scared our group.
When they’d left, we all tried to go up to the top of the castle. Some people say there was a spider but I wasn’t concentrating. Mr White tried to tell us more and Craig held up a coffee cup he’d found and said there was another ghost.
The rest of the walk was pretty boring. We had to stop even more. I stayed in the back (we said it was because if everyone else died, we’d be able to run). Soon, we got back, with more biscuits. The girls in my room were angry because they said eleven minutes wasn’t long enough to get ready for bed. In the end, we did sleep (Lily is really loud and the bunk is creaky).
We set off our long walk up and down the mountain at 9:30 we arrived at our mountain destination at about 10:00 it was very tiring but exciting as we managed to get all weather conditions in one including very strong winds lots of hail snow and rain the steep hills very made with slate which was very slippery and made our journey tricky and hard. Our instructor was called Jez and he was very helpful and kind. Most of the way up we all talked about Welsh and mountains we’d been on. Our team’s the Sunbeams. He said we all had to smile and bring sunbeams.
Half way up, it started hailing. And it rained really hard. Soon, it got harder as we went past a marshy bit and a huge lake. When you looked back, the view was very pretty and all the sunlight was coming down. You could also see more hail coming.
We were “scrambling” up a zig zag bit and the hail got worse. Sometimes, we’d stop to have a drink. It got really cold, and it got harder.
When we got the ridge, we stopped for ages. You could see the shadows of the clouds, and a few peaks. We were almost in the clouds, and we could see all the way to the sea. The next part was really hard, with the hail getting worse and a huge steep part of the rocks. Miss Hodgett told us that there was a bog, which a girl fell into a few years ago up to her armpits. At some points, we had to brace ourselves against the rock. It was freezing. I don’t know how the wild horses survive. When we got to the top, everyone ran around screaming and eating food. We got a few group photos and then started down. This was better—the rain and hail stopped, everyone started running down. Esme had been feeling sick, so a few people stayed behind. A few ran on really far ahead.
I (Hannah) was walking down the very steep hill and came across a deep and disgusting muddy bog it was horrible i walked over to it not knowing how deep it was going to be and fell into it and was covered in mud it was cold and wet.