Early on the morning of Sunday 25th June, Year 8 took a short flight from Heathrow to Marseille, before making the long drive into the Ardèche region in Southern France. On arrival the boys spent their time unpacking and settling in to the campsite that would be our home for the next week.
On Monday, the whole group headed to the river for half a day’s kayaking, which enabled us to get used to the boats that we would be taking down river later in the week. In the afternoon, we went off to the town of Valon for a bit of relaxation, wandering through the streets, browsing in shops and also eating some enormous ice creams!
Tuesday was spent swinging through the trees at the impressive high ropes course. A mixture of cargo nets, obstacles and impressive zip lines meant the group were thoroughly entertained for the whole day. All the boys got stuck in, some looked like they had spent years up there whilst some were more hesitant but definitely conquered some fears.
On Wednesday we were back at the river as the boys began two days of kayaking, covering a distance of approximately 30kms down the river. There were various obstacles along the way in, including having to paddle through rapids, as well as rock jumps. The boys really enjoyed overcoming the challenges that they faced. That evening we slept under the stars at a bivvy site close to the river.
Thursday morning saw a slightly slower paced kayak after a fairly difficult night’s sleep, but by the afternoon the whole group had got back in the swing of things, and the boys were again able to enjoy a well earn ice cream, as they reached the bottom of the gorge.
Our last full day was spent back in the forest rock climbing and ‘weaseling’. This involves running through the forest, climbing over any boulders and rocks that are in your path and scrambling through small caves. It was great fun but also quite exhausting.
That night we returned to our main campsite and enjoyed the last night of our time in France. On Saturday morning we packed up our gear, said goodbye to our hosts and our new Spanish friends at the campsite, before making the long journey back to SHS.
It was fantastic experience for all those involved and an excellent, final residential trip for our Year 8 Leavers.
Mr S. Richards