Arthog 2018 Review
Together we made this happen!
After a steady start and a happy journey, we arrived in time to be shown to Ty Gwyn, our very own annexe building. We found our bedrooms and explored our spaces… we had our own private garden with some great climbing trees in! Then we had lunch in our own dining room in Ty Gwyn.
We met our instructors, Ruth and Stu, who led us off on our first adventure, which was a very steep climb up the side of a mountain!
This climb gave us amazing views over the sea and the estuary, and took us to an old slate mine and the ‘Blue Lake’.
We found an ancient guillotine and had a go at splitting slate with a hammer and chisel and cutting a roof tile from the slate like in the olden days. We chose some slates to play with at the lake, then we ventured through an old mining tunnel and there was the lake in a very deep quarry with amazing tall cliffs.
The lake was bright blue! We skimmed stones on it and when we threw a larger stone in it kind of dipped and bobbed back to the surface – the lake was quite magical.
We went to the beach after the mountain climbing, to explore the rock pools. Ash found an eel! We all found loads of little crabs. It was lovely to have time to explore and examine the rock pools closely to see what we could find
We got to spend some time in our rooms and play in the garden when we got back to Arthog.
After tea, nearly all of us went out for a night walk in the PITCH black! It was really fun.
We went to bed about half past 9.
After breakfast Stu told us that the morning activity would be ‘Gorge Walking’ . we had the choice of wearing a wet suit or an Arthog fleece and waterproofs. Most of us were really glad we chose a wetsuit because we got REALLY wet! First we had to climb down a really steep rocky path to the small stony beach.
We were allowed to go out into the see up to the top of our legs and climb on the boulders. We all got wellies full of water! The waves were crashing all around us and Meg nearly got knocked over by a wave but Michael saved her!
Then we had to get back up to the road … this meant climbing UP the rushing, tumbling stream in the gorge.
Some parts were like waterfalls and some parts were pools … we all got into one pool and let the waterfall rush over our heads. It was like a giant jacuzzi full of rushing bubbling water.
It was soooooo cold when the water went down your neck and your back!
Violet had only just joined us that morning, but she was completely up for it, despite not having had the previous day as a ‘warm up’: she wasn’t going to miss out on any fun!
For the final bit, we could choose whether we wanted to climb the big waterfall and come down the natural waterslide. They had fixed a rope to the rocks for us to hang onto to help us climb up and when we got the the top we had to climb in and lie on our backs … the water took us rushing down until we went SPLASH into the pool at the bottom!
After this it was back on the minibus to Arthog for a change of clothes and some lunch before we went out rock climbing. We had to be really responsible for our Arthog Kit – making sure we looked after it, hung our own clothes in the drying room and put it all back correctly. Jake was super-helpful, helping everybody to dunk their wetsuits correctly and hang them back on the right hangers.
Meg got a good hosing down!
So, rock-climbing next! A bit of drama on the way when a piece of slate flew up off the road, slicing the tyre on the Picasso and resulting in a flat tyre – poor Yvonne missed out on all the fun! The rest of us went rock climbing.#: Verity was the star-climber – Stu said he didn’t think he’d ever seen anyone go up so quickly! She was so quick she got to go a second time! … a definite skill here, we look forward to seeing her in the Olympics in future (if they have climbing in the Olympics?): can’t believe we didn’t get any photos!
Just as we thought we’d had all the high points possible for one day, more was yet to come … on getting out of the minibus, Nathan started saying ‘fox’ and hushing us all … one by one, in the half-light we all eventually saw what Nathan had spotted – a young fox in the shadows. We all stood very still as she came out of the shadows to watch us. She was incredibly brave and allowed Louis (who was straight on it with the camera!) to get some amazing close-up shots.
We then walked out across the marshes, and sat on the beach watching the night sky, and beachcombing by torchlight. Becky and Karen and I had a lovely chat, and all agreed we should ‘get out more’ … Becky said. ‘I can relate to that.’
That night, some very tired children started heading for bed from about 8pm, with only 2 still up at 9pm. Staff weren’t far behind - all exhausted from our adventures!
A busy morning , packing up to go, then getting ready for our canoeing activity. We were given the choice – wetsuit if we wanted to go in, waterproofs if we wanted to stay dry… we made our choices, got changed and set off. Out on the lake, everyone got into canoes, apart from Meg who stayed ashore with Louis who chose to be official photographer for the morning.
Becky and Verity shared a canoe and after driving into the branches and getting stuck one too many times for comfort, they ditched their canoe and each went with an instructor. This was a sure-fire way to stay dry! Good move girls! Predictably Jake and Kieran were the first to capsize! Some people then got brave and had a go at standing up in the canoe … Dan was the first to rise to the challenge of standing on the very tip of his canoe and jumping in! Mike and Karen followed, and we all cheered as we heard Mike shout /scream when he hit the freezing water!!
Nathan had just about made the decision not to get too wet, when all of a sudden he and Dan capsized and that was the end of that plan!
Then while all was quiet, while a game was being explained, there was suddenly an almighty scream as Dan and Rachel capsized their canoe! … how they managed that, I’ll never know! Louis and I were in the water by this time in the photographer’s canoe - another sure-fire way of avoiding getting wet – ‘cant splash us, we’ve got the camera’! so then Ash was the only one who had wanted to get in but hadn’t quite summed up the courage – so with Kieran and Jake in the water to give him a hand and Dan promising him a biscuit if he did it, Ash was finally encouraged to go for it … with a little extra help from Kieran!
After that it was pretty much a free for all with a lot of wet people, a lot of laughing and a lot of fun!
So finally it was time to say good-bye, with a very quiet drive home and a lot of sleepy heads.
An amazing time was had by all and we all learned that
being outdoors and active is a great way to ensure a good night’s sleep!
To keep the memories going until Arthog 2020, you may want to get your very own Lifehouse/Arthog hoody. You can also help with the Arthog display board so that your adventures can be shared with the whole school and choose a few more photos of you to email home over the next few weeks. Please make sure your order and money is in by the end of next week if you would like us to order you a hoody. For those of you who came for the day, or who weren’t quite ready for the experience this year, we look forward to welcoming you to stay with us next time!