Year 6 Residential: Plas-y-Brenin 2024
Year 6 have had a fantastic residential trip to Plas-y-Brenin this week. All of the boys were a testament to themselves, and a great time was had by all. The daily report from the trip can be found below!
Day 1 – 05.02.24
The boys have had a fantastic first day in Snowdonia. After a smooth journey and a quick lunch, the boys were split up into their 7 days groups and then headed straight off on their first activity.
Four of the groups embraced the wet and windy weather and went for a hike around the local area. As the photos show, even staying close to the centre allowed the boys to experience a diverse range of scenery. The other 3 groups sheltered from the worst of the weather and tackled Plas-y-Brenin’s team building challenges, rope course and abseiling wall.
The instructors have been really impressed with the boys and are really looking forward to the rest of the week’s activities. After a hearty dinner, the boys have been enjoying their evening activities and I don’t see sleep being a problem when they finally get to their rooms later.
We endeavour to take as many photos as possible, but, in the weather conditions we are expecting, it may become very challenging to constantly be taking photos.
Finally, with Ms Curle not on the trip, please bear with the quality of these reports…
Day 2 – 06.02.24
Even the very optimistic Mr Doherty had to admit that this morning’s weather was… well, AWFUL! I think Forrest Gump best summed up today:
“We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin' rain...and big ol' fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath.”
Three groups thought that being underground in a mine would keep them dry. However, they soon realised that even a short walk to the entrance of the mine was enough to challenge the quality of their waterproofs. In some places, the path was more like a river, with the boys getting a taste of what gorge walking will be like later in the week. Even when one group got underground, they still got wet, wading up a waterfall to find the exit. This said, the three mining groups did brilliantly; spirits remained high throughout, teamwork was clear to see, and they even learnt something about the rich history of the area.
Two groups spent the morning in the climbing wall, so the instructors could inspect the gorge. The amount of water that has fallen over the last 12hrs had to be considered before deciding which gorge to head to. After lunch, they ventured out and really impressed the instructors with their teamwork, listening skills, and attitude to the challenging conditions in the gorge.
The final two groups drew the short straws and ventured into the bleak conditions with the hope of scaling a peak. It may sound strange to say, but this is exactly why we come in February. If these two groups had walked around Snowdonia in the summer in shorts and t-shirts, they would not have learnt half of what they learnt about themselves today. Mr Doherty’s group walked 12.5km, battered by the wind and rain, the resilience and maturity shown by the boys to do this successfully was excellent. And, despite some wet and tired boys, spirits were still high. The biggest complaint was in fact the lack of Mr Doherty’s jokes.
Day 3 – 07.02.2024
The Great British weather! Who would want to be anywhere else?
Yesterday, horizontal rain; today, beautiful winter’s day; tomorrow, SNOW…
As I have said to the boys, ‘control what you can control’. Today, they embraced that, and took full advantage of the fantastic weather. Four groups had an amazing time climbing the surrounding peaks. Three of these groups climbed Moel Siabod. At 2861ft, this is not an easy walk and one of these groups clocked over 15km of walking.
The mine felt like the short straw today. But a picturesque walk alongside a waterfall to a secluded lake allowed the boys to experience what a hike is like with more than 6ft of visibility. The unique experience of being underground gets the boys every time, and the two groups hung off every word Sam the instructor said. His knowledge of the geography, history and science of the area was so impressive that Mr Lewis only had to correct him twice.
The final group ventured into the Gorge, and at the end, five hardy souls - Maddox H, Timothy L, Theo BM, Amar G, and Henry G - even took a dip in the lake after climbing up the final fall.
The boys continue to exceed expectations and to a boy are enjoying the experience.
Day 4 – 08.02.24
The amber weather warning did not bring the snow that was forecast. However, the temperature had certainly dropped as tired boys rose from their slumber this morning. As snow began to fall at Plas-y-Brenin, you could also see that Moel Siabod now had a white top to it.
It was a perfect example of why we can't guarantee the same experience for every boy. Above are two group photos taken from nearly the exact same spot, less than 24hrs apart.
With only one group up the mountain today, most of the boys had to tackle the Gorge in some extreme conditions.
Due to the amount of rain that has fallen this week, we stayed in a smaller gorge; however the current was fast and fallen trees made the scramble very complex. This gorge is also next to Rhaeadr Ewynnol ‘Swallow Falls’ Waterfall, which is recognised as an area of outstanding beauty. You should have seen the boys faces when the instructor joked that this was the start of their gorge walk!
The four groups did brilliantly to embrace the challenge. I can speak from first-hand experience that when that water first went over your wellies, a sharp intake of breath was followed by a numbness in your feet. You then must battle your instincts and not take your wellies off so that your feet can warm the water up. It is the activity in the week that the boys really need to show some grit and determination.
Once in the gorge, the only way out is to keep going forward, embrace the cold, and support each other. Some of the more, hot bloodied boys enjoyed lying down within the falls and some even went for a dip.
The final two groups went underground; the mine they went to today has the unique experience of going on a dingy and paddling across a flooded cavern. The reward for their hard work was a hot chocolate by candlelight.
This evening sees one of the most hotly contest events of the week - the tidiest room competition! Due to the quality of the rooms in previous years, the award not only goes to the tidiest room but also the one with the most creative ‘towelgami’. Ms Sayers has been educating the boys throughout the day about this very important life skill.
Day 5 – 09.02.2024
Guess what - it is raining…
The boys really have taken everything the Welsh weather has thrown at them this week. What was fantastic to see this morning was how prepared the boys were to start their activities, with little to no guidance from us. They really have matured out of all recognition this week. They have become more independent and learnt some valuable life lessons. As they board the bus to come home, our main hope is that these skills they have demonstrated so fantastically this week are transferred back into everyday school life.