Week beginning 16th September 2019

I spent last week away with Year 6 in Borrowdale, so I hope everything went well in school. I know there were two trips, one to Hartlepool Quay for Year 2 and one to Jarrow Hall for Year 5. We were quite late back on Friday, so by the time we had got everyone home, most of the staff had left. I will no doubt find out about everything on Monday, but Mrs Clougher tells me all went well.

As for the Year 6 trip, it was amazing. We had the best weather you could ever ask for and saw the Lake District at its most beautiful.

31 pupils joined us from Monday until Wednesday and then swapped with another 31 pupils who stayed from Wednesday to Friday. We stay in Borrowdale Youth Hostel along with other youth hostellers who are on their holidays. The first thing to say is that both groups received lots of lovely comments from youth hostel staff, youth hostel members and the general public out in the hills about their behaviour and how lucky they were to have such an exciting trip.

The trip involves four daytime activities which are led by Live4Adventure. We walk from the hostel up Castle Crag to see the beautiful views along Derwentwater to the North and back up the Borrowdale Valley to the South.

We walk up the hills behind the Lodore Falls, where we do some rock climbing.


We take canoes out on Derwentwater and have a great paddle round.

We go ghyll scrambling (sometimes known as gorge walking) up Honister ghyll.

In the evenings we do some team building games and complete an orienteering course in the youth hostel grounds, before spending some time enjoying the night sky with some star gazing and planet spotting. This year the skies were very clear and we were able to see Saturn, spot some constellations and watch some satellites making their orbits.

We are all incredibly well fed by the youth hostel and very well looked after.

Chris Higgins runs Live4Adventure and he and two of his colleagues, Cam and Luke have made sure that the children are safe and that they learn new skills and develop both as individuals and as a team. They are all involved in the Lake District Mountain Rescue teams and so we are in the very best possible hands. Huge thanks go to them.

The children were incredible again this year. We had with us some children who know the Lakes well and were able to build on their skills and we had some who found the activities quite a challenge, taking them out of their comfort zone. Everyone supported each other with encouragement and advice and everyone managed to achieve in all four activities. Well done to all of them.

Finally, I would like to thank the staff for leaving their families and friends behind and giving up their time 24 hours each day to look after the group. On this trip, there is no time off. We all join in with all of the activities and are there to monitor the children when we are not on activity. It is a pleasure and a privilege to spend time with young people in these learning environments, but it is also a huge commitment which some schools can’t offer. All three Year 6 teachers went and were joined by Mr MacDermott, Mr Daley and Mrs Thompson. Extra special thanks to Miss Sharpe and Mrs Thompson who spent the whole week there.

I feel that outdoor learning on a residential is a vital part of a child’s education. In a different environment, a child can quickly develop new skills and learn how to work in a team. We find out an enormous amount about the children on these trips and hopefully they get to know us a bit better. We take pupils on residentials in Years 4, 5 and 6 and I would ask all parents to encourage their child to take up these opportunities. We will be booking this trip for next year’s Year 6 very soon; I can’t wait to go back.