Portland October 2019

Day 2 began at 5:30 with a dorm full of boys showered, dressed and excitedly expectant for the day, only to be told breakfast wasn’t until 7:30 so perhaps they should try and get some more sleep. This proved impossible and so a long morning of card games whiled away the hours until breakfast.

After packing bags for the entire day, trying on wetsuits, repacking bags then running up and down stairs to get those last minute forgettable items (such as trainers and underwear!??) we were finally ready for the day.

The day began with a walk that would rival any pilgrimage. The children were told we would walk until lunchtime- a concept that, in the hypothetical, was extremely acceptable to all; however the reality proved a little more challenging. A quick stop to search for pirate graves and we were off again. We meandered along the coastline until we could meander no more and collapsed with our bags in a heap; only to be told we had an hour’s more walking to go. Smiles returned when lollies were produced, a reminder to all that happiness can actually be found in a choc ice.

The lighthouse was our final destination and its red and white appearance gave tired legs one more reason to ‘just keep walking.’ We sat down in blissful October sunshine and carefully dislocated our jaws to enjoy some of the world’s largest sandwiches which were kindly provided for us by the centre. Stomachs full, it was time for swimming (although most of the energy given to us by our hearty lunch was quickly exerted in trying to pull on the wetsuits). In the end, everyone was ocean ready.

Wading in, we were soon swimming to the first rocky ledge. I’m sure to Mrs Jeffery on the cliff edge, we were just 9 yellow helmets bobbing along in the ocean like plastic ducks in a frothy warm bath, only the warm bath was actually freezing cold Atlantic and the froth was caused by relentless waves determined to ruin our Olympic worthy ‘bobbing’. The ledge was our first jumping post but not the last. There was many a piece of ocean that became victim to the water bombing of our group. Again the children cheered and encouraged each other to jump higher and harder than the previous time.

Clambering back out of the ocean as elegantly as penguins returning from a hunt, we were back on land to change into warm dry clothes. Thankfully it was only a 30 minute walk to the bus stop this time, and back in time for dinner.

The conversation buzz was for the visit to the D Day museum which didn’t disappoint. A child friendly museum, we were allowed to dress up, climb on tanks and shoot gun replicas. It wasn’t long before sides were taken, generals appointed and an extremely realistic re-enactment of World War Two began. The fact that they had walked over 25,000 steps today evaded all thought as they dodged behind bunkers and clambered up stairs. After an hours fighting, truce was called so hot chocolate could be drunk. Day two was busy and nearly impossible to choose a best bit- just keep swimming… into day 3.


Day 1 – Portland October 2019

The day began with usual goodbyes and packing up the bus. An extremely smooth journey brought us to Portland ahead of schedule (much to Harry’s delight).

No sooner had we arrived when we were whisked out of the building on our first adventure. The excitable gabble that had consumed the bus was now quietened into anticipation. Helmets and harness were issued, bags were checked and packed, and a long walk was embarked upon. The sun welcomed us as we climbed further and further up the coast line until we reached, what I believe everyone was waiting for…lunch time.

Sandwiches were eaten in haste and we were soon back on our feet walking towards our destination. Conversation flowed easily, shortening the journey and soon we were splitting into two groups. In true apprentice style, boys and girls wanted to separate from each other and the groups were very very quickly established. Mrs Jeffery began Abseiling with the boys and Miss Barber began on wesseling with the girls group.

The groups began over the Jurassic formations as steadily as new born giraffes, however it wasn’t long before confidence grew, resilience strengthened and the movements were rivalling those of mountain goats. Caitlin, in particular, hopped, skipped, jumped and wriggled her way through pretty much every gap. After a few adventures through the rocks it was time to climb. Harnesses were attached and, after a few pre- climb nerves,  we were happily ascending the rock face.

Abseiling proved more challenging and took more courage than most realised at first. Apprehension and shaky legs were not uncommon as they leant unnaturally back over the edge to the crashing waves below. However, the calm instructors and cheers and chants from those already successful at the bottom, allowed every child to abseil over the edge.

The promise of dinner helped us on the long walk back to the centre and, after a few attempts at putting a duvet cover on our bedding (which triggered confusion for the boys room when they discovered the duvet cover and bed sheet were the same colour), it was time for dinner. Warm cottage pie and peas were enjoyed thoroughly and afterwards, the boys and girls were sent back to rectify the bedding fiasco (this time aided by Mrs Jeffery).

Beds finally made, it was time for evening activities which involved walkie – talkies (a concept which inspired almost as much excitement as the earlier announcement of lunchtime). Boys and girls were given large 3d shapes that they had to arrange into a pattern which was told to them by the group downstairs – the aim was for the patterns to match. Unable to see each other’s pattern, communication was key. I think the best lesson learnt was; “speaking loudly does not make it clearer.”

After a fair few attempts and some helpful comments, the groups managed to complete 3 successful puzzles, including a really hard one! Hot chocolate was in order and an impromptu Chinese whispers, although teachers were emphatically told they couldn’t join in, the art of whispering wasn’t quite as subtle as they perhaps thought. It was finally bedtime and sleep was needed by all. Talks of dreams about jumping into the sea tomorrow echoed through the corridor… goodnight all.