Y6 Hinning House - July 2017
Monday 3rd July
Mmmm so much for the pleas to go to bed due to tiredness, it’s 11.30pm and everyone is still wide awake. First night excitement is at an all-time high with these Year 6s.
An uneventful journey was followed by a lovely alfresco lunch before the children set off in their groups to explore the local area. As always with Lowton J & I the fascination for anything wet and muddy is very strong.
Whilst exploring, Mrs Mills and her group had an encounter with a donkey called “Tina”. Mrs Mills, who isn’t partial to donkeys, beat a hasty retreat over the field followed closely by Tina who was being encouraged to become a member of the group by the children tempting her with food.
Beds were made – of a fashion and bags unpacked – well opened and tipped out. With a bit of prompting everything was put away and order was restored.
A delicious tea of sausages, mash, veg and gravy with apple crumble and custard for pudding went down a treat and then the evenings activity “Alien head Hunt” started. 20 pictures of Aliens with strange names and six digit numbers were hid in the fields surrounding the house by Mrs Mills and Mrs Anderson. The children spent two happy and energetic hours chasing down the Aliens and then repeating their names and numbers to Mrs Davies in the mothership who crossed them off her list. Sadly, the activity does not appear to have had the desired effect. The quest for an even more and tiring activity tomorrow is on! We hope you all have a good and restful night’s sleep :-)
Tuesday 4th July
Lowton J & I year 6s have the constitution of an ox sadly the same cannot be said for the staff! The three senior members of the party needed more than the four hours’ sleep they were afforded but rose to attend to their charges with surprisingly good humour before 6 this morning.
The whole of the Duddon Valley had been hit by a major power cut over night – no electricity also meant no water due to no pump. That didn’t seem to present too big a problem, in fact not being able to wash and shower was greeted with delight and relief by many. Please don’t worry there are many budding Bear Grylls in our party and helpful suggestions of camp fires and boiling water in pans outside in the pouring rain abounded. Instead we settled for cereal, fruit and yogurts with fresh orange juice.
Team meetings done, we all set off into the misty and wet British “Summer” weather. Mrs Mills, Mrs Davies and co walked the short distance through the fields to the orienteering course. Pairs of children were released into the forest at 5 minute intervals followed by Mrs’ M and D acting as the broom wagon, sweeping up the orienteering kites and wayward children on the way. Well that was the plan but some “rascal” had other ideas and the activity became more of a treasure hunt than orienteering. The Lake District has many beautiful walks and Mrs Mills and Davies had the pleasure of enjoying one of them time and time again in their quest to find the missing kites. They were more successful in finding lost D of E teenagers, the same ones three times in fact.
Mrs Anderson and her superstars took part in the infamous self-lost walk which never fails to delight. A sign purportedly knocked over by a cow was the cause of the temporarily lost children this year.
If you’re very wet and cold the most sensible and obvious choice for the afternoon’s activity is of course ghyll scrambling! Well if you’re that wet you might as well just jump in and crawl on all fours through cascading white water mightn’t you? The last time some of this group of children climbed Hard Knott Ghyll, Justin Timberlakes “Cry me a River” would have been the perfect soundtrack, not so this year. Just one slight refusal and minor exchange of views later, all the group (including those who should know better) spent 20 minutes seeing who could throw and splash the most water at each other. Wellies were removed, filled and emptied over heads with no respect for age or position. The comment of the afternoon as Luke emptied his wellie down Mrs Davies’ back was “I’m doing it for the midgets!!”
The road back to the minibuses became an impromptu water slide much to the consternation of the motorist who came upon 20 children plus 5 adults sliding down Hard Knott Pass on their backsides. The sheep and cattle, who were minding their own business, didn’t seem to know what to make of it all either.
After a delicious tea of beef stew followed by toffee and pecan cake with ice-cream, our newly appointed bingo caller took to the floor for an evening of bingo and games. Goodness know where the children put the toast and hot chocolate they had for supper after the tea they ate but they managed it somehow.
Will they sleep?? Goodness only knows but it isn’t for the want of trying to tire them out.
“Sleep well Mrs Davies, are you enjoying your holiday?” asked one on their way to bed. And my reply …..”I wouldn’t be anywhere else ...."
Wednesday 5th July..
What a difference a day makes! Wednesday in the Duddon valley dawned dry and bright and thankfully much later than Tuesday. Due to the power cut yesterday breakfast was an absolute feast as food that had defrosted had to be eaten; sausages, bacon, hash browns, black puddings, poached eggs and tomatoes!! These children definitely have exceptionally good appetites.
Everyone in the Lowton J & I contingent spent the morning climbing Border End. The views down Hardknott Pass and over to the coast were amazing, not so the answers as to how the farmer gets his mountain sheep back to the farm. Lake district farmers are obviously making a lot more money than they make out if they can afford Harrier jump jets to zoom down the valley rounding up their sheep. Maybe a budding entrepreneur may like to take the basis of the idea and develop some form of futuristic back pack that would enable farmers to do this.
The scramble up Border End was definitely beyond some people’s comfort zones – Mrs Davies included. The children took to encouraging the new member of their elite squad up the sheer face by shouting “Come on Mrs D do it for the midgets!!” For some the slide down was even more scary but everyone made it safely back to the house for a “Subway” lunch. The tastes of this group are very cosmopolitan – chicken mayonnaise with jalapenos, cucumber and gherkins was one choice.
Post lunch activity for the whole group was a visit to one of the Lakeland farms – unsurprisingly no jump jets were in evidence. Despite some initial hesitations all the children stroked horses, sheep dogs and donkeys. If any of the children, ask for sweetbreads for tea please make sure they explain exactly what they are first. An avid fascination for how the lambs got to be chops followed closely by questions of how the lambs were castrated was a little disturbing!
By far and away the most popular part of the day was the hour spent in the River Duddon just before tea. The children had been promised that if the weather was good enough, swimming costumes could be donned. That well known and popular pastime of culvert crawling produced screams of delight and laughter as one child after another popped up at the side of the valley road after having disappeared into a ditch on the other side. Impromptu water slides appear to be the flavour of the week – this time down the river bank and into the river. Being scared of water was quickly forgotten (don’t let him tell you otherwise Mr and Mrs Leyland) – there is photographic evidence. It seemed like an enormous quantity of the River Duddon was brought back to the house in wellies – a fish too if the stories are to be believed.
Orienteering was the evening activity of popular choice and what a brilliant choice it was – 2 hours haring around the grounds of Hinning House in beautiful evening sunshine searching for little green discs with letters on. Mrs Davies was delighted to hear that the year 6 boys have never felt so tired in their lives and that they thought they could sleep until Friday ….. if only!
Such an enjoyable day with lots of laughter ….
As the classic Winnie the Pooh quote says “We didn’t realise we were making memories we just knew we were having fun.” … and what fun we are having.
Thursday 6th July
Well the orienteering and new tactic of staff sitting on the landing between all the rooms worked a treat – the house was silent by 11.00pm and our intrepid explorers had to be woke from their well-earned slumber at 7.00am. Not that the pure luxury of 8 hours sleep was enough for the boys who groaned and moaned as their curtains were cheerily flung open by Mrs Mills who urged them to shake a leg and go shower. Karma is a wonderful thing ……
It was with a familiar feeling of dread, which only the self-led walk brings, that Mrs Mills and Mrs Davies packed their rucksacks. Regular readers will know this is where the children are provided with instructions and maps which aid them to get from one place to another independently. Sounds simple and straightforward but history tells us that this is never the case and the Lowton J & I nickname of the self-lost walk is well earned. A false sense of security filled the air, when the group were provided with 2 way radios to keep in contact. Mrs Davies breathed a sigh of relief – surely nothing could go wrong now. The group was split in two, one to walk from the house and one to walk back to the house from the drop-off point. Each group was also given a first aid kit and a shelter in case of an emergency. The first 40 minutes passed without incident as Mrs Mills and Mrs Davies followed the group at a discrete distance. It is not clear what the name of the micro-climate which exists in the beautiful Duddon Valley is, but the snow and hail which necessitated the emergency shelter being erected at the view point in paragraph 8 is a wonder of the modern world. Not a cloud could be seen in the brilliant blue sky yet miraculously snow fell!
Shelter packed away and off they went passing the other half of the group on the side of a steep hill. Mrs Mills and Mrs Davies, who by now had relaxed into following the children cloak and dagger style were left with a choice – did they stay on the path and let the group see them or did they try to maintain their undercover role? Off into the head high ferns they fled, rucksacks off and crouched out of sight. It all seemed such a good idea at the time …it isn’t known whether the fell walkers who came upon their hideout truly believed their story of why they were spying on a group of children and following them through the woods.
Mrs Anderson and her group returned from their bike ride looking dishevelled and wet, having ridden through fields, bogs and streams. Mrs Anderson found to her cost that sheep dip is not the best thing to ride through on an uneven path. Unsurprisingly after picking herself up she struggled to find a riding companion who didn’t have an acute sense of smell.
The day finished as yesterday with the whole party – senior members included, revisiting the water park AKA the River Duddon.
Bags are packed and lights are out and hopefully the sandman is making his way from room to room.
The week has been everything it promised to be and more besides. Tomorrow will be an early start as one last adventure beckons …..
PS Fridays blog will be posted over the weekend