We 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