Year 6 - Lowbank Ground - March 2018
Monday 19th March
The journey up the M6 passed quickly and uneventfully – thank goodness. The senior members of the party were kept very busy quality assuring the vast variety of confectionary the party had – a job taken very seriously of course. After a quick comfort break at the services between junctions 35-36, the final hour on windy and undulating roads tested the effectiveness of any travel sickness pills taken. Much to Mrs Mills and Mrs Davies’ delight, they did what they promised to do.
A new record was set as the first time the shout “Are we nearly there yet?” went up was as the coach pulled down the drive to Low Bank Ground. The coach was emptied quickly and everyone gathered in the meeting room. Once bedrooms were allocated, the children had a quick 15 minutes to start to unpack before we sat down to our picnic lunches.
Mrs Anderson and her posse spent the afternoon exploring Tarn Hows and surrounding area. They did some rock scrambling and played foxes and rabbits (a sort of Blind Man’s Bluff).
Mrs Mills and her merry men explored the local area around the centre and climbed Crag How. At the trig point there was enough snow left to have a snowball fight whilst admiring the glorious views. More work is needed when the party returns to school on the native animals of Great Britain – beavers, alpacas, bears and chickens were all suggested as the wild animals that might nibble the young trees.
As always water of any kind is proving to be a magnet for the children. Mrs Davies is still struggling to understand the attraction of crawling through a culvert under the forest track on your hands and knees through six inches of freezing water. Even more puzzling is why anyone should possibly want to do it again and again.
Tea was spaghetti bolognaise with garlic bread and salad followed by apple crumble and custard – delicious.
Low Bank Ground photo quiz is currently taking place. In groups of twos the children are scouring the grounds with torches trying to match a numbered photo to a letter on a map. After half an hour Daniel and Kai have just managed to get their first correct letter!! Mrs Mills hadn’t the heart to tell them that one group had already found 8. It is hoped this activity will act as an aid to restful sleep, we’ll let you know tomorrow, but based on previous experience Mrs Davies isn’t holding her breath.
Tuesday 20th March
Sadly, the excitement of having a quiet and sleeping house by midnight was short lived as the day began shortly after four. WWF has nothing on the competition which was taking place in the boy’s bedroom at dawn. On the plus side the sunrise over Coniston Water was truly breath taking.
After a hearty breakfast of cereals, bacon barms and toast everyone took to the water in canoes. The wind was quite light which meant good progress was made across the Lake towards the infamous Crocodile Creek. With the sage advice of “flick the little ones away” and “bop the big ones over the head with your paddle” the party gingerly entered the creek. Such is the trust the children have in the staff that there was never any doubt in their minds about the existence of these reptiles in Coniston Water. This trust was not at all misplaced as one after another (including the most streetwise) reported bopping and flicking crocodiles away to aid a safe passage down Croc Creek. In fact, even Mrs Davies began to believe herself, when a couple walking on the banks reported they hadn’t seen any crocodiles but had seen some 2-foot-long alligators basking on the rocks!
Once back at the jetty, canoes and equipment were safely stowed away in the boathouse. Some brave and hardy souls then went swimming to acclimatise to the freezing waters before completing the mornings challenge – jumping into the icy water from the jetty. Sadly, the warning of not jumping in with wellies on fell on deaf ears.
Much to the children’s delight Mrs Anderson and Mrs Mills were successfully cajoled into flinging themselves off the jetty like a pair of lemmings. Both came back to the surface spluttering and gasping as the icy water had taken their breath away. Obviously Mrs Davies needed to remain on dry land as the official J and I photographer. As Mrs A and Mrs M swam and floated their way back to the shore, fishing for Aaron’s AWOL wellie began. Unfortunately, the wellie was proving to be very elusive so the call went out for Mrs “superwoman” Mills who didn’t hesitate to go back in the water to mount her rescue mission. After a few failed attempts up she came with the errant wellie in her hand to enormous applause and cheers. However, the owner didn’t seem that happy to be reunited with his missing footwear and was seen trudging back to the house carrying the prodigal wellie in his hand. Thankfully he was very adept at avoiding the numerous cowpats along the way.
Afternoon events took place on dry land, much to the staff’s delight, as there’s currently no room for any more wet clothes in the drying room.
After another delicious tea and a quick room check the evening’s activity “Alien head Hunt” began. Twenty pictures of Aliens with strange names and six digit numbers were hidden in the centre’s grounds 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 Captain Davies in the mothership who crossed them off her list. After a very active day fingers are crossed for a “lie in” tomorrow. We hope you all have a good and restful night’s sleep J
Wednesday 21st March
Whispering is definitely not in the skill set of the Y6 boys as Mrs Davies found out at 5.45am this morning. They were quite put out when she did not seem grateful for the extra lie-in as they described it. “But Mrs Davies it’s lovely and sunny and we’d just be wasting the day if we slept for longer”. Whilst not wanting to waste a minute in this beautiful place, sleeping until 7.00am wouldn’t be too much to ask for would it?
After breakfast, both groups went to “The Hawk” to orienteer. Local scout leaders please note if there is a badge for map reading it may be useful to do that next! Everyone eventually made it back to the mini-buses in various degrees of disarray after having waded through bogs, cut though bushes and skidded down muddy slopes.
Post lunch Mrs Anderson’s group went kayaking where Mckenzie set a new record for the number of times it is possible for someone to capsize in an afternoon. Mrs Mills and co went ghyll scrambling at Tilberthwaite. What other way would Mrs Mills and Mrs Davies want to spend the afternoon than wading through freezing cascading water and having wellies full of ice-cold water poured over their heads?
Who knew that the minibuses waterproof seat covers could double perfectly as bat caps and the sight of 12 children in wetsuits, hardhats and buoyance aids running round with their bat capes flowing behind them is a memory that will live long in the memories of the LBG staff. As Chris said “they’re all mad – lovely but totally mad”.
Kayakers and scramblers arrived back at the house at exactly the same time all in need of warm showers. Tired, hungry, wet and cold children do not make for a happy bunch and much help was needed to get them out of their waterproofs, wetsuits and wellies.
The evening saw the first rain of the week so it was with deep regret that the planned two-hour sleep inducing night walk had to be put on hold. Instead a general knowledge quiz was held in the lounge. The three older members of the party are still, some two hours later, laughing every time they think of the more imaginative answers – a few are too good not to share:
Q – What member of the camel family doesn’t have a hump?
A – The dad.
Q – What county is The Lake District in?
A – Columbia.
Q – What do we mean when we say the pot is calling the kettle black?
A – The pot is being racist.
Week’s like this are tiring and hard work but goodness me I wouldn’t miss them for the world.
Thursday 22nd March
After some slight mutterings, disturbance and movement at 5.00am it wasn’t until 6.30am when Mrs Davies shot out of her bed fearing the worst – shouts of “Help” and “I’ll get your coat and shoes” rang through the house. Thankfully there were no broken legs, injured children or unknown intruders, no just some of the year 6 boys deciding that they fancied a different view so had embarked on moving their possessions to another room on the upper floor. Mr Shifter and Sons have nothing on our boys, teamwork and support in abundance was evident as they made a chain and passed boxes and bags from one to the other. Not wanting to ruin what was obviously a wonderful example of co-operation, Mrs Davies suggested that maybe this “move” could be reviewed in another hour or so when the rest if the party were awake. But no they’d even thought of that, it appears not only do we have an excellent removal service but we also have a resident “knocker-upper”. Logan had very kindly been round to all the rooms and woke everybody up as it was 7.30am and they’d “overslept”. Children poured from rooms, fully dressed and ready for the fun the day had in store. Sadly, guessing what time it is by how light the day is hadn’t been quite as accurate as believed and it was a long wait until breakfast……….
Both groups spent the morning down a disused slate mine at Tilberthwaite. Whilst Mrs Anderson’s group took it all in their stride, there were tears and trepidation from Mrs Mills’ group, many of whom professed to be afraid of the dark. Progress was slow and steady but they finally made it into “The Cathedral” where they were amazed to find two goldfish in the small lake.
In the afternoon Mrs A’s angels completed a ghyll scramble at Tilberthwaite whilst Mrs M’s marvels took to Coniston Water to kayak. A game of tig in kayaks proved great fun with only a couple of capsizes. A strong wind was blowing across the lake and Annaya was blown round the jetty and down the lake at speed, Mrs Davies sped to the rescue and attached the kayaks together. The journey back may have been easier if both people had used their paddles!
After tea, bags needed to be packed. The surprise of the evening was the discovery of a six-foot-long furry green snake which to quote its owner had been brought to LBG because “there was a bit of room in my bag and I thought I might as well pack it!” Where it has lived all week is a question Mrs Davies is scared to ask.
Rain curtailed any thought of an outdoor evening activity so the lounge was turned into a bingo hall with much laughter as Mrs Anderson provided her own version of bingo calls – “one fat lady with a duck – 82” being one of the most popular.
The last morning’s blog will be posted sometime over the weekend when the sleep deprived haze has lifted a bit, on the basis of probability it will only be worse tomorrow.
One last gem to leave you with:
Q – Can you explain what is a food chain?
A – Oh it’s lots of restaurants – like MacDonalds.
The relief that J and I aren’t part of the Science sampling test is immense.
Friday 23rd March
Well Friday began much as the other days this week and for the first time in history Mrs Davies did not have the pleasure of getting her own back as the children were already awake before she’d managed to fling the curtains open and shout a cheery “wakey wakey”. Never in the history of J & I residentials have the children been up before the staff on the last morning but such is the resilience of these children that once again they were up and dressed before 7.00am. The staff wish they had such amazing constitutions!
After finishing packing and a hearty breakfast, the last activities of the week took place. Mrs Anderson and her group, once again took to the lake but this time in a speedboat. As the children took turns in steering the boat in very choppy waters, Mrs Anderson, who very quickly found out her sea legs were not as steady as the children’s, could be found sat on the bottom of the boat willing her breakfast not to make a reappearance.
The children in Mrs Mills’ group completed that old Lowton J & I favourite the “Self-Lost walk”. And on this day of firsts, the group completed the walk sticking to the planned path, without deviation and in a record time. So quick did Kiera marshal her group along the route (in an effort to win the battle of the sexes) that Mrs M and Mrs D had to jog to keep them in their sight.
One last brilliant general knowledge fact from our lunchtime quiz for you:
Q - What is a tributary?
A - It’s when someone says something really nice about a dead person.
The journey home was quiet and uneventful and still they didn’t sleep …. hopefully they slept peacefully and long in their own beds on Friday evening.
How would I describe my week?? Fun, fun, fun – the children have been wonderful company and I can only hope they enjoyed it as much as Mrs Mills, Mrs Anderson and I did. They were undyingly polite, never faltered no matter what challenge they were set, helped and supported each other through every day and laughed and smiled all the time. A very special week with very special people which I will remember for a long time x