Category: Activity Groups 2014

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

The Snowflakes get wet

P1080956In the morning we started off with an early knock on our door around 6:30am, as we were on duty (serve and wash up breakfast). Whilst cleaning up, Megan decided it would be a good idea to pick up two glasses stuck together, thinking it was one making the bottom one fall of and smash. As we did our cutlery dance, Ms Hodgett watched in amusement. We gathered our kit for the day, then realised that none of it actually fitted in our bag, putting all our energy for the day into squeezing it all in. On our journey to Conwy valley, which was a 40 minute drive in a minibus we saw some amazing views either side of us. Although the weather looked sunny, there was still snow on the mountains. We got out the minibus and the banter (less banter more bullying) was already beginning between Mr White and Megan about not being able to count to 3 (joke from the day before) Once we reached Afon Ddu (Afon meaning river, Ddu meaning black, The black river) we stepped into the water in our wellies which were a bit too big for us, Beccy decided to splash everyone. After a while we had to leap from a high rock onto a vertical slippery rock about a meter away. Next was ‘The Elephants Bum’ where we were pulling ourselves up a mini waterfall whilst being attacked by Mr White’s photo when we had to climb through some rocks very close together and the only way we could fit through was to look up were the camera was. Mary (our group leader) then told us the only the thing we want to hear when you’re in a freezing cold river… ‘You’re going to have to swim across’. It was cold. We carried on up into the gorge trying to walk with our wellies that were full with freezing cold water making them almost impossible to walk in. We soon realised that Beccy’s waterproof trousers had a huge rip in them right where the top of her wellies were which is really helpful when walking in a river  We had to walk across a fast flowing waterfall so when we put out our hands for balance all the water splashed in our faces which was obviously the perfect opportunity for Mr White to take some extremely hot mug shots, again, as per usual. Shortly after we came to ‘The Big Daddy Waterfall’ we were told we could go have a look, Olly being Olly clueless as ever thought this meant hey just jump in. He was wrong. As soon as he came up the first thing he said was ‘Ouch I hit my bum’ as everyone burst in to laughter and Olly, of course was confused why everyone was laughing at him. Meanwhile Mr White was raging about the fact that Olly didn’t warn him about this hilarious belly flop of fame. Some of the group started singing to Olly Don’t go chasing waterfalls as we got stuck the lyrics so we turned to ‘Mother Hen’ Emma Swaby to help us out as she knows everything. Emma saw this as chance to have a solo and started to sing the whole and killed it. More climbing and getting wet lead us the top of ‘The Big Daddy’ were Mary stupidly asked us if we wanted to ‘step into’ the plunge pool, of course we were all up for it. Olly went first and done it wrong because well he’s Olly and full on jumped in. We all went for a second go and our mission was to splash Mr White and his camera so the mug shots would come to an end after Beccy very kindly showed us how it was done, but it didn’t stop him. Then began, the walk back. We all had our hands tucked into our buoyancy to stop them from falling off. Olly started walking backwards, looking like a duck. The bum shuffling queens did not succeed, but decided to sing oasis, with Olly and obviously Emma joining in. Once we got to the minibus we had to get changed in the woods. Amy had just changed out of her soaked clothes into fresh underwear, and fell over into the mud, just in underwear. The day wouldn’t have been completed without everyone falling in the gorge or mud at least once.

By Beccy Rawson and Megan Short.

A stroll on the beach

2014-11-04-3920We all gathered in the Common Room to hear what Jez had planned for us to do today, he asked us questions about the previous day when we climbed Tryfan. We all replied with our low points and high points of the ascend up, and then our battery percentage (how much energy we had) for the day. He then told us we were going to go Sea Level Traversing, Tyrolean Traverse and possibly plunging into the freezing cold water from high rocks.
We hadn’t had much clue of what we were in for on the minibus there, but we were told to bring spare clothes and waterproofs. The journey was long, about 30 minutes, but everyone seemed excited and ready to go. We arrived at Anglesey Island, it’s quite big and also a very beautiful place.
Our first ‘tester challenge’ was climbing up a vertical wall about 10ft tall, with very spaced out holes to grip our feet onto. We were shown a demonstration by Jez, and were told we needed to work out who needed to go first and who needed to go last for more help. Lily went first, then Jed, then Hannah, then Ella, then Miss Hodget. When it was Maria’s turn……she got half way up and then she couldn’t find a foot hole. She was stuck. There 3 people at the bottom and 2 people at the top trying to help her up. Everybody was in hysterics, Miss Hodget kept taking pictures. Hannah was holding her hand to try to pull her up but she kept sliding down after Maria. Eventually, after about 5 minutes of struggling, she got up and then last 3 people climbed up whilst Miss Hodget continued to take pictures.
The next challenge was to down the side of a cliff and trough a tight space to reach a rock pool area at the bottom. It was simple until we got to the tight space. You had to sit on the edge of a large rock and slide yourself down, trying to find spaces to put your feet on the wet rocks. It was quite slippery and difficult to keep your balance. When we got to the rock pools, we decided to take a team photo so we climbed onto several rocks so we were all sitting down. On the way up, Ed stretched his legs too far and ripped his trousers in the genital area! It was very funny. He had to go the rest of the day with his trousers like that in high winds. So when Miss Hodget took the team picture and uploads it, you may see Ed with his ripped trousers!
So, we were walking along the rocks and small pools for about an hour, the walk included small cuts in hands from sharp and sneaky barnacles and steep stealthy and slippery stepping stones. Jez had told us to follow the person in front’s steps exactly, this was extremely difficult when the person in front disappeared after a difficult part if you needed their help, we all had to keep remembering to look behind us to see if anyone else needed help getting up the walls.
After a while of walking, we came to an end and walked back to the car park to eat our lunch. No one really spoke through lunch because we were all so hungry and we just ate. When we had finished eating, we had to try on our harnesses and put on the cows-tails that would attach us to the Tyrolean. We walked for about 5 minutes to the Tyrolean and when we got there it was a big drop. By this point some people were a bit nervous but they knew that it would be fine. Jez demonstrated and then Miss Hodget had her turn. Then one by one, we carefully walked down the slope to get to the rope. We got attached and climbed along the rope. When we got half way, we had to try to do a back-flip and land on the top of the rope. Nearly everyone tried and nearly did it. No-one managed to do the whole thing apart from Jez- showing off his ‘abs of steel’.
Then we climbed across rocks to the edge of some rocks where we could jump in, fully clothed! Nearly everyone jumped in and it was really fun! Everyone was very nervous and excited about this part. Ed and Jed were the first to jump, they immediately screamed and scrambled to get out of the cold water! Hannah and Lily went next, their reaction was almost dittoed! It was so funny! Then Ella jumped in on her own, she didn’t want to jump in with anyone because she was scared she would get crushed or land on somebody! Lily jumped with Jed next, and then Ed jumped again and then Hannah, Jed, Ella and Lily jumped again a couple of times.
Then we went back to the minibus to go and get out of the wet clothes to go change behind a sand June. This was quite tricky and very funny, then we began the long fulfilling journey back to the centre.

By Ella Cook and Hannah Francis

Treking up Carnedd Y Filiast and Mynydd Perfedd

image_2Today we first got into our groups and ours was called Snowflakes. Firstly we planned to climb three mountains so set off up a really long and boring concrete path. Surrounding us was a group of sheep that stupidly thought that we were chasing them so ran as fast as they could to get away from us.
While we got up the first mountain, Carned Y Filliast, we were pushed around by the storming winds. The whole of this part of the walk was uphill, actually most of it was except the journey back. This made it pretty tiring but most of us managed to keep going at a good pace. There weren’t many stops however still some of us would try to eat or drink something quickly before stuffing it back into our soaking, bin-lined rucksacks. The final stint to this mountain we had to walk over dangerous looking rocks which you really don’t want to fall on. Some of them were extremely slippery or wobbling precariously.
When we were walking towards Mynydd Perfedd, there was a massive hail storm and we were all told to get down, But Emma Swaby had a different idea and stupidly just stayed up. It was a rather unexpected scramble and as we stood up again trying to prevent the irritant hail stones Olly Fentiman forgot to get up and as everyone else carried on with their hike he lay sprawled across the mountain side. When we got to the summit we all climbed into a round rock circle and pulled out a yellow tent-like thing that we pulled out behind us and sat on it to keep us away from the disastrous weather. We ate our food which consisted of various sandwiches along with a Kit Kat, a scrumptious flapjack and fruit of are choice. We warmed ourselves by drinking tea and hot chocolate but we also had a choice of squash or water in some bottles. Our group decided to not climb the third mountain due to the weather.
Megan Short and Beccy Rawson led the bum-shuffling group to victory on the way back. This journey was so much easier and took far less time with hardly any stops. It was still raining so we were soaked through by the time we reached the minibus but we were still all relieved and could not wait for the short journey back that would lead us to our nice, hot showers.

By Oliver Fentiman and Emma Swaby

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

Climbing up Tryfan

2014-11-03-3887The first morning of the trip, admittedly. Not a good one. We dragged ourselves out of the warm inviting safe haven of the duvet into the cold unforgiving environment of the bedroom, ready for the challenges ahead. We soon prepared for the first nail biting challenge of the day. Breakfast.
We were greeted with various cereals and breads also a cooked breakfast, we were told to eat well for our bodies would be subjected to harsh exercise.
If you were to tell me at the start of the day I were to climb 915 metres, traverse through battering hail and persevere blistering cold I would have trouble believing you.
At the beginning, we were prepared for little obstacles to face, we were wrong by a long shot. Halfway up the almost casual first few hundred metres, the weather took a turn for the worst, we faced heavy rains and racing winds. But to our luck the weather soon returned to a peaceful breeze. Continuously throughout the trip the weather swung from peaceful to storms, the worst point was when the winds rocketed past and hail battered our faces to no avail.
Eventually we reached a point where we were ready for lunch, we ate sandwiches and chocolate basking in the stunning views of the valleys below.
After a lot of clambering and bum-shuffling we reached our destination. The south summit. We took a cheeky picture then quickly skedaddled for the weather was getting serious.
As a group we started to head back to the centre, we travelled down the mountain as a group around the muddy other side of mount Tryfan. We trudged through the sinking mud towards the van, cold and aching. Moments before boarding the van after continuous hours of rain and hail the clouds dispersed and the sun came out, talk about luck!
We went home wet and tired but happy and confident that we did all we could physically that day. We were greeted back with a nice cooked meal and more importantly, warmth.
Jed Warren and Ed Caps

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