Year 5 and Year 6 develop their canoe skills leading to more advanced journeying along our canal and river network and move onto kayaks. The orienteering skills learned in years 3 and 4 are developed into more advanced navigation exercises. Children being expected to read 1 to 25000 maps with regard to landscape and features. Children should, by the time they leave us, be able to relocate to a 6-figure grid reference and navigate using a compass. Group hikes gradually increase which culminated last year with the top group completing a 16km hike over Kinder Scout.
Outward Bound to Aberdovey 24th - 29th September 2017
A team of 12 Y6 children have just returned from a brilliant adventure in Aberdovey. Each member of the team has learned to support each other; take responsibility for themselves and others; become more independent; and enjoy fist-time experiences after conquering their fears. Take a look at the photos to see what an excellent time was had by all.
After unpacking our clothes and making our beds (yes...that meant putting on duvet covers, pillowcases and flat sheets) we familiarised ourselves with the centre and what was to be our home for the next five days. Team games helped us get to know Helen, our lead instructor.
With hi-vis jackets on, we jogged down to the estuary and had a very 'refreshing' dip! We foraged on the beach and tried the seaweed but no one was very keen!
After tea, we completed team challenges in the dark before having hot chocolate and playing games in the common room.
After breakfast, we prepared for the challenge of conquering Cregennan Ridge. Part of the climb involved a scramble, which for many of the children was a "first".
380 metres above sea level, with a breathtaking view, we sat and ate lunch.
As we walked and scrambled the children were continuously encouraged to help each other and offer physical, emotional and technical support so that the whole team achieved and truly enjoyed the day and each other's company. At different points along the trail, each child had a chance to lead the group and there were choices of path to take to make everyone feel comfortable.
Later that same day, after we had eaten tea, we climbed a local gorge. The children walked both in the dark and in silence...again a "first" for all of us. Completing the activity in silence gave the children a real opportunity to think carefully and deeply about what they were doing. It allowed them to use all of their senses and appreciate the stunning setting.
Early next morning, we were kitted up and on Aberdovey beach ready for our next adventure...sea-canoeing. The weather was wet and the waves were rough but this made it even more exciting and challenging. All of us had canoed before so the skills we already had were really put to the test.
It was also on Aberdovey Beach that we first saw the jellyfish. Barrel jellyfish do not sting you but they had become stranded on the beach as the tide had gone out. The children lifted many of them up and returned them to the sea...yet another "first".
After canoeing, we had fun in the sea sliding across the bottom of the canoe and jumping in from the side of the speed boat. We collected shells from the beach and wrote Millfield on the sand.
To get warm and dry we returned to the Outward Bound centre and completed some work in the review room.
After tea, we put on our head torches and completed an orienteering course around the centre's grounds.
We started the day by walking along the estuary to the wharf. The sun was shining and the speed boat ride across to Ynyslas was brilliant. Justin from Resources Wales was meeting us in the sand dunes to help us explore the plants and animals that can be found in the salty, sandy habitats. We saw waxcap fungi, scarlet pimpernels, stone chats and moth caterpillars.
We ate our lunch amongst the dunes and then created our own piece of beach art. We chose our favourite adventure from the week and created a special piece of art about that challenge...in silence.
After tea, we returned to the beach to toast marshmallows over a campfire.
After breakfast, the children had to make sure all of their kit was returned to their 'kit cage'. Over the week, they had been given the responsibility of looking after their own and each other's kit so that nothing would get lost. The children had to officially hand over the key to the cage and get the final 'OK' from the centre manager.
Just before we left the centre we took part in a leaving ceremony where Helen awarded certificates. Each child was asked to award a certificate to a different member of the team. They were given time to reflect on the week and what they were going to say as they gave the certificate to their friend. It was a very meaningful ceremony and yes...a few tears were shed. We then had to say our goodbyes.