Plas Pencelli 2020
Our adventure has begun! Traditionally, our journey to Wales unfolds with darkening clouds and precipitation the further west we travel. Not this year, though! Bright sunshine met us as we exited the coach and began our short walk up to Plas Pencelli.
Children were quickly given a welcome talk and swiftly made their ways up to their rooms where they were met with their first challenge. And what a challenge it was! Pillows in cases, covers on beds and duvets in sheets. Needless to say, a number of perplexed looks were exchanged. But with a great deal of effort (and a little help from their industrious new roommates!) these efforts were met with success.
Down to the barn was the next destination, where waterproofs and wellies were sized up and handed out. We were split into our four groups and set off on our first outdoor activity – the gorge-walk. A rapid descent down a waterfall, into a river, up a river bank and pretty much wading through water and mud helped decorate their new waterproofs a healthy brown colour. And as they explored the gorge and surrounding areas, it began to hail. Several times.
The return to the dorms left some cold, soggy children – but a warm shower and dinner (of pizza and wedges) were just what was needed before the evening orienteering. Armed with torches, wellies, a map and endless good humour, the children paired up and set off in search of stamps scattered across the grounds.
“Jumping off a little hill in the deepest water and then falling over twice,” was the response when Jacob P what he’d enjoyed about the day the most so far, delivered with a huge grin.
“We got very muddy and wet.” Wise words from Rebecca.
“As we went down the stream, we had lots of fun and got very wet,” mused Faye.
Adults couldn’t be prouder of how Y6 have embraced the challenges of today – great determination, good humour, endless resilience and impeccable behaviour and manners. We are sure it will be a week of making amazing memories. Keep checking back for further updates as the week goes on.
So firstly apologies for no entry yesterday evening. Read on and I’m sure it will become clear why! On Tuesday morning, the quiet chattering of children waking up slowly grew in volume until lights on at 7:15am. It was then that the house became a hive of concentrated activity. In a desperate attempt to win 5 points in the room inspection, beds were made, clothes folded and put away in the drawers under their beds, curtains opened and rooms hoovered. Needless to say, some rooms found this a little more challenging than others with points ranging from 4.5 down to a 1 out for five.
Breakfast quickly became a popular part of the day as a range of cereals and a cooked breakfast were all on offer. They then made their lunches and completed their morning jobs before being briefed about their days. Blue and Red groups got themselves set for caving and took the minibus on a short 40-minute journey punctuated with meaningful conversations and a chorus of terrible singing.
As we pulled up to the caving site, a rare site greeted us – sunshine! We took a wander around the outside of the cave and went for a quick crawl through some initial tunnels before settling down for lunch. The children ate what they had made earlier – many clearly were not impressed with their custom menu. Then it was time to dive right back in.
Crossing a river the children experienced pitch black deep under ground as they switched off all their lights and listened to the water gushing around them. Then, with different individuals taking lead, they were led through smaller and smaller gaps until eventually being posted through ‘the letter box’. Without exception they were all brilliant!!
The other groups, Yellow and Green, tackled their own challenge by heading to the Quarry for their climbing experience. Yellow group were praised hugely by their instructors for their skills in belaying – and enjoyed their scrambling, climbing and abseiling during the ongoing outbreaks of sunshine. Some faces even looked as though they had caught the sun very very slightly when they returned to the centre ready for 5pm…a real treat after the rain at home over the last few weeks.
Returning to Plas Pencelli, the day had, however, not yet finished. After showers (it was wet in those caves!) and dinner, children were back in their waterproofs and wellies for the Dingle Descent. Roped together with the rest of their group, the children were led in the darkness down into a ravine and made their way through a river. It was cold, wet and slightly slow going, but with a little teamwork and hard grit, the children all made their way through the challenge to be rewarded with their warm beds and sleep.
The 6am chatter from yesterday was this morning was replaced with silence as the children took full advantage of the 7:25am wake up time. They looked a little more bleary-eyed until the ten minute call led to a flurry of movement and hoovering. The first 5-point room inspection happened (complete with a smart salute and rehearsed introduction for the inspectors) and breakfast was served (bacon toast and spaghetti hoops! Very popular!).
Today’s activities were caving for the two groups who didn’t attempt this yesterday and canoeing for another two. The torrential rain through the morning made canoeing a little hard going…but a short lunch-break, run around and motivational talk meant both teams sailed through their afternoons. Although the cavers were underground, the cold and wet still had an impact on our spirits while pupils clambered into their cave suits…but, as soon as the crawling and wriggling began, any doubts were quickly lost and everyone soon warmed up. Everyone (including My. Guy and Mr. Shaughnessy) tackled all of the obstacles they came to, including the letterbox and the worm-hole. Great determination was shown all day – especially when getting back out of soaking wet caving suits to get back on the bus and enjoy a hot chocolate.
Isla: “The caving was a little easier than the climbing and the adventure walk because all you needed to do was go through small spaces and and you can balance on lots of little nooks and crannies.”
Lily: “I had to lead my group down this slippy mountain-hilly-thingie-majiggy and they had to hold on to a rope. The river was very fast and it was definitely very challenging.”
Zayn: “Caving was really fun and me and Jaden were helping each other get over rocks.”
Torin: “Canoeing was a really good way to spend my birthday because right at the end there was a huge tunnel and we had to canoe through it and it was really dark. At one point we started singing row row row your boat to fill in the silence.”