Category: Mr Alderson’s Group 2014

Sunbeams’ final day

RIMG0340After running down the steepest road in Wales, jumping off a cliff with nothing but a rope to keep you from falling and climbing a rushing ice cold waterfall, we thought nothing could scare us.
But little did we know Mr Alderson and Keith had a last little surprise for us.
We started off the day with a half hour drive to a town called Capel Curig. From there, Torin and Eva were nominated to take the map and navigate us to a forest area. On the way we passed fields and fields of sheep with the longest tails the world has ever seen! After a long walk, we eventually reached the forest. Mr Alderson had turned back to drive the minivan to where we finished. The forest reminded me of the movie EPIC. On one side of us the forest was green, bright and full of life, whilst on the other side there were no green, no flowers, no leaves, just dark bare trees reaching out to you. We carried on walking, bursting for the toilet, for another 10 minutes until we reached a road where we found Mr Alderson with mud all up his boots. Apparently he parked the minivan and walked through a bog to the road. Thanks to Eva and Torin we managed to find another route to the minivan and, after a long wait, the toilets! We sat at a bench where we had our chicken tikka sandwiches, jaffa cakes and our hot chocolate. It quickly started raining so we grabbed our bags and jumped in the van to drive to the next of the day’s activities.
We waited at the bottom of a bank to put on our ‘nappy’ harnesses and our helmets. We could hear water but we didn’t know where it was coming from. Mr Alderson and Keith disappeared up the bank whilst we waited nervously at the bottom. After about 10 minutes we were called up to the top.
The Tyrolean. Crawling upside down across a waterfall attached to a rope by just a karabiner. I (Orfhlaith) volunteered to go first. I was attached to the rope and told to walk backwards. Naturally, I fell over not once but two times. But I still got up and carried on. When I got to the edge of the cliff I had to swing my legs up and start to pull myself along the rope. I looked down all I saw was water and rocks. The rope swung around but that only made me move faster. I finally got to the end where I placed my feet on the ground and unclipped myself. I was closely followed by Charlotte and Torin who started singing James Bond as they pulled themselves along the rope. It was an amazing final activity and I would definitely do it again.
Our evening activities were a little different today. Instead of the outdoor group activities we normally do today we stayed indoors. Firstly, we all arrived in the dining room and were split up into six groups. We started off with a quiz which got extremely competitive when we found out the winning team got cake! The final round was by far the most amusing as we all listened to Mr White’s amazing singing! Afterwards we all went to the dining room and watched a slideshow of the week’s events which included a lot of mug shots and selfies! We then all got given personal awards which included the Bravery Award and the Smiliest Award. After many laughs we finished the day off with an episode of outnumbered.
Today has been an amazing day to end an amazing week.

By Orfhlaith Roberson

Freezing gorges

IMG_0692Today we went to the Afon Ddu gorge (meaning Black River), we went gorge walking. Before we left to go to the Gorge Mr Alderson celebrated his 50th trip to Kent Mountain Centre- which is where he received a golden boot, on slate (unfortunately it was, and we have seen enough of it to last a lifetime as you have heard). It was also Beccy’s birthday which was hugely celebrated by everyone here- we had chocolate cake as well! We had a fifty minute mini-bus ride there which many people in our group did not enjoy as sickness took over from us (Leah, Katie and Charlotte)! We then eventually arrived at Afon Ddu Gorges however, it isn’t just get off and go- we had to kit up which included; nappy look alike harnesses, helmets, over the shoulder rope carries- because we are so helpful and it kept us alive! Then we had the cow tail ropes with karabiners attached to the harnesses, we also needed to gear up with the oversized waterproof trousers and coats with the damp green wellies.
We then did a 150m walk uphill to the start of the trek up the Gorge but……. We saw lots of people on the Gorge at that part so we decided to adventure further uphill to begin our long journey to the top. To start we had to abseil down a small cliff luckily we abseiled on Tuesday so we were pros, Keith walked up further to set up some ropes and Mr Alderson abseiled ahead and completely disappeared for about ten minutes, the whole group thought we had been left to go down after but clip ourselves on and manage to stay safe and get to the bottom of the rather vertical cliff face but then an extraordinary sight came about which was Mr Alderson who had arrived at a different way and was fine like nothing had happened although, he was soaked as he must’ve fallen in the waterfall  then we all took it in turns to abseil down except this time we had been told what to do with help. We then landed on a rock and climbed over onto a big rock where Keith pilled us up when we were climbing next to a powerful waterfall where everyone but Leah and Eva managed to stay upright unlike the rest of us who decided too venture off the path which was given but slide into a chest deep pool of ice cold water (bearing in mind it was at the start and was ice cold) the water then filled our wellies but cooled us down.
We continued our journey up the Gorges then we came across 2 massive boulders with a very claustrophobic tunnel which only fitted the width of our helmets through it. Keith decided to take some horrid mug shots of us as we crawled our way through the tight space with some of the worst facial expressions which was mostly terrified mixed with the excited emotion, but Charlotte made time for a pose (of course)! After everyone had gone Orfhlaith started, then we saw her little head suddenly pop out of under the rock with a huge smile on her face! When she was finally getting up from the rock a sudden horror occurred where she dramatically slid back down into the boulder where she came from, and her head seemed to have appeared in a muddy, leafy puddle which dunked her chin! After we found a pool off a waterfall which pushed us down a slide like hill. Some of us went backwards some went headfirst into the numbing pool.
After a long scramble up the gorge we got to the top of a waterfall that split in two as it went down, Keith needed to take the rope he was carrying off. But dropped one of the very important and expensive karabiner into the waterfall, he did not realise. Then, Mr Alderson came to the rescue and abseiled down the waterfall to collect the fallen item, it was right at the deepest part of the pool at the bottom. He eventually handed the £20 prize back to the butter fingered Keith, who seemed relieved at the sight of his dropped karabiner.
We then visited the plunge pool which was freezing cold but we still jumped in twice with hope and enthusiasm, Orfhlaith’s first words after resurfacing were ‘I think im going to lose my wellies’ she said panicking! We then told Keith he had to jump in because he dropped the karabiner so that was his punishment even though we found it- but that didn’t matter. We then got changing out of our soaking clothes and went back in the minibus to a lovely roast dinner and banoffie pie!

Written by Izzy Smith and Katie Burton
To make all this happen was: Mr Alderson, Keith, Orfhlaith, Izzy, Leah, Katie, Charlotte, Torin, Eva

Sunbeams on Snowdon

Mountain Sunbeams PaintToday we climbed from the lowest point of Mount Snowdon to the summit in 3 hours (bearing in mind it is 1085m steep- or 1km vertical). Our day began at 7:00am when we woke up and got ready for breakfast; eggy bread, sausages, spaghetti hoops, toast and croissant with jam.
We set off at 10am to go to the start of the long journey to Snowdon, we looked up to see the mountain. We knew that the hike would be daunting because we crossed a rope with a sign saying “Danger unauthorised access” Mr Alderson was unfazed by this (he’s a mountain climbing ninja) we then had to get across this stream as we needed to get to the other side, luckily rocks were and we managed to stay upright. Whenever we would think we are near we would see just more and more heights of mountains above us. It was huge and extremely steep, it took a lot of effort to make it a quarter of the way- although Torin still managed to look cool in his sunglasses when we reached the top. Even when we experienced hail, rain, sun, sleet and snow, it did not dampen the spirits off us marching up! We had a really really nice lunch it was good.
At one point we had to scale a minor cliff face to get around a small waterfall, it was really slippery and scary, Torin lead us and nearly fell. We then encountered the steep vertical side, which was meant to be a skull face, which you can see from further down (although, I couldn’t find the skull from one angle- however, I did see a dog face….). Charlotte has a fear of birds, at the summit we discovered that seagulls must of followed us from Broadstairs, she was not happy. We had learnt to climb steep and slippery surfaces throughout the walk which thankfully came in handy on the way back because we seemed to have found never ending rock stairs, which were dangerously slippery. We all fell over one time this trip; either on the way up or on the way down. My favourite part of the trip to the top of Snowdon was seeing everyone slip and fall over in the snow also the whole team enjoyed knowing that we were faster than the other groups, we were the supreme sunbeams.
During the whole trek we thought a pig had joined us on the upper slopes of Crib y Ddysgl, Torin got ready for bacon, but unfortunately it was a dodgy looking crow which we think had a chest infection or a fetish for pig meat. Then, at the summit of Snowdon we encountered a stunning view looking down upon a mountainous terrain scattered with gorges and lakes. We could have followed the easy old miner’s path back to the mini bus but we decided that Keith and Mr Alderson had not endured enough pain so we took the rocky route over the side of a boulder filled hill.
After that we basically ran to the car park because Eva and Charlotte needed the toilet, the journey ended with a dash to the showers and toilets at KMC, luckily no one in our group wet themselves.
After all this we all felt like we had achieved something spectacular!

By Eva and Katie
Sunbeams: Eva, Katie,Torin,Charlotte,Leah,Izzy,Orlaith

Really, no rain?!

IMG_0593We began another adventurous day here at Kent Mountain Centre and we had no clue what we were doing. During breakfast (which was really nice!) there were rumours of us climbing Snowdon, which to be honest we didn’t really believe….. But, nevertheless everyone began to freak out! After being told the weather was going to be horrendous everyone piled on waterproofs and were complaining about many of the items that were put in the drying room were not dry even after being in there over night, but of course there were those lucky few who had dry boots and boasted about it. Leah then bragged on to say that this was one of the advantages of having big feet! Torin and Leah, having larger feet, had leather interior of their boots so for them their shoes weren’t only more waterproof but they happened to dry perfectly! On the other hand me (Isobel) and Katie had sopping wet shoes, they were absolutely drenched! Katie could literally pour water out her boots, you could hear the squelch as she walked. Obviously she was extremely happy with this!
So the activities of the day! We all were really happy to hear that we were doing navigating and abseiling, emphasis that this was in the DRYER part of the national park, in the east which was predicted to avoid the most of the heavy rain, but still expected the occasional downpour. This was due to this area being less vastly populated with mountains. To start the day’s activities we went on a long mini-bus ride to the location of a forest. In short everyone went silent during the journey, yes… this includes Eva, Charlotte and Torin who a definitely not the quietest of people. Everyone felt ill and Leah and Katie went as pale as a sheet, no one really enjoyed that part of the day. The twisted roads deemed too much for the group. The strange thing is we can climb what seemed to be a never ending mountain in hail, but we can’t take a 30 minute mini-bus journey to our activity location. Eventually after the sickening ride we necked half of our squash so we could all breathe, we hadn’t even started the day properly yet! How pathetic!
To start, we had to figure out where we actually were on our maps, this was the navigation activity. Five members of the group successfully found where we were, Katie and Leah on the other hand struggled with the seemingly simple exercise, Note to all: never let Katie and Leah navigate you round a forest, you WILL get lost! This said in the end they got it! As well as this Leah and Katie had a serious talent for estimating the distance between were we were and to where we needed to get to, the accuracy was exact, to the step! Mr Alderson and Keith tried to get us to understand all of the different ways to tell where you are, but it didn’t really work, it was all about the sun and …..Landmarks? …..We think! In the end we just used a GPS to then find out we were in exactly the right place! After all that stress, we mean really, this was seriously stressful! Having walked on a bit and stopping for a snack, Charlotte, like yesterday, has a sudden urge to go to the toilet. After having our one item of food from our lunch we moved on through the forest to a clearing, were we hoped there would be a turning for a dam, but being the very vigilant teenagers we are, missed it completely and continued walking, until Mr Alderson and Keith started shouting at us to turn around. And there was the dam, that we missed completely and thought was a bridge. Of course, our wonderful, sarcastic Izzy couldn’t help herself by saying: “This is a dam good selfie opportunity!” After trekking on, having taking some picturesque images with the odd selfie included as well as Eva completely forgetting that there was an edge to the dam’s bridge and almost falling in the water, we continued our journey, back to our starting place where the mini-bus was. Shortly after we came to another clearing where we all hoped we were going to have lunch, but of course we were wrong! We stopped to put on our waterproofs after a dribble of rain. Which after putting on the waterproofs, decided to stop for the rest of the day! We then continued our trek back to the mini-bus.
On the final straight to lunch, charlotte thought it would be a good idea to sit on the edge of a castle wall. I (Leah) Then couldn’t help myself but to say; “Oooo Charlotte! Living life on the edge!” …it was funny at the time! Having clambered down a load of stairs, which luckily wasn’t slate…don’t get us started about slate, that is a swear in our group, when we climbed back down the mountain yesterday we went down a slate quarry. We have all seen enough slate to last us 100 lifetimes! Onto lunch! We opened our lunch boxes to the disappointment of only 1 roll….1! This severely depressed us! Keith then explained to us our mistake, we were meant to put two ticks in the box when deciding what filling in our roll we wanted, not just one! We will never make the same mistake again.
Now for the thing everyone was looking forward to. Abseiling down a 25 metre cliff! After clambering up the non-slate stairs, hallelujah, we finally got to the ultimate destination, the top of the cliff! Mr Alderson then attached all of the safety equipment, which Leah kept freaking out about as she didn’t think that it would ever hold any weight, everyone was the same, it was a thin and tiny rope, with our lives in its hands! Mr Alderson and Keith then went on to tell us, after watching us have a mental breakdown, they decided to tell us that it can hold 2 ½ tonnes, the weight of our mini-bus! Leah was no longer worried and when it came to her go she just stepped down and went for it, everyone did the same. Orfhlaith was the bravest of us all, and went first down the cliff, after a steady start she soon built up her confidence and was like a pro! One by one we all followed in similar patterns. We all faced our fears today! Mr Alderson was very impressed! Yay! To finish the day we had another stomach churning journey in the mini-bus back to the centre. Twisty, turning roads do not go down well with our group! We got out of our many layers and put our still damp clothing back in the drying room. Soon after we had a tasty dinner of chicken pie/ quiche and for pudding rice pudding/ ice-cream and jelly! Yum! And here we are now writing this novel of a blog! Looking forward to tomorrow!

The Sunbeam’s day! – Mr Alderson and Keith’s group
Charlotte Williams, Torin Preston, Eva Mitchell, Orfhlaith Robson, Katie Burton, Isobel Smith and Leah Henniker

By Leah Henniker and Isobel Smith

Climbing Elidir Fawr

IMG_0562_1We arrived at our starting point, 360 metres above sea level. It was very windy and it was spitting. Immediately we all started to realise that when Mr Alderson said it would be cold, he meant it. Everyone put on their extra fleece and their waterproofs. Torin Preston had been given the responsibility of carrying a rope as an emergency precaution and Isobel Smith, another group member, had to carry an emergency tent. We started our trek by heading towards Elidir Fawr on a long, uphill meandering path. About 20 minutes into the walk Charlotte said she needed the toilet, however she knew there would be no toilets up in the mountain. We carried on until we got to a gate where we turned left to start off-road walking. As we looked at what was up ahead we were excited and apprehensive on the obstacles we may come across but eagerly we began our hike. Climbing a mountain was a lot harder than we all thought. It started to make us out of breath and our muscles started aching, but we didn’t stop because we were determined to complete this hike. We thought we could see the top but as the group members at the front got to the top they saw that we had another part to go. This part of the mountain was very steep and the path was just small stones and large boulders, which moved as you took a step. As we got higher the wind speed increased and we started to struggle to keep our balance.
Finally all eight members got to the top, all that was left was to climb over gigantic boulders that covered the summit of Elidir Fawr. This was the scariest part because we were surrounded by a cloud and the winds were extremely strong at some points. We were aiming to travel to a bowl shaped summit shelter where we could eat our lunch. Pure hunger gave us the energy to complete the challenging task. When we got to the bowl we were very proud that we had climbed 924 metres. It was too windy to eat our lunch up there so we got out the emergency tent and ate our lunch. When we finished we started to head back, but not the way we came. The decent down the mountain was tricky and many of us thought walking down was trickier than walking up as you had to control yourself so you didn’t fall. It took long time to get back to the centre as we had to walk all the way because we had no minibus. On our way down we saw some rare mountain goats also called feral goats. They were all sheltering in a small hut. Also we had to walk through a park which was full of poultry. Whilst we were walking through Torin was trying to get as close to a sheep as he could and charlotte struggled getting past the birds that were in the park as she was scared of them. We got back before one of the other groups so we could have a nice long shower and we prepared for dinner and had time to lounge about for a while.
By Torin Preston and Charlotte Williams