I Survived SnowdoniaThe Snowdonia week started as soon as we got off the bus, which was great as we’d been on there for seven hours! After moving into the bunkrooms the children ate fish and chips, put on wetsuits then walked into the first river gorge. The rainy weather over the weekend meant there was more water than last year and we had fun splashing and sliding our way around. Halfway up was the ‘Washing Machine’; a waterfall that runs into a mine cavern, which we walked into and then saw how many could fit in behind. The team were working well and zoomed to the top of the river where we all splashed around in the lake which worked well to keep off the midges.
The next day saw us take on the big gorge, the Afon Ddu or ‘black river’. There was loads of water pouring down it and we climbed successfully through the now infamous ‘Elephant’s bum’! We carried on up to the impressive 40ft waterfall with only a few believing the staff that we were going to climb it directly! We then descended back to the minibus, headed to get changed then went out to enjoy free-time in the village of Betws-y-Coed. Back at the cottage the duty team swung into action and helped Mr Alcock cook everyone a really well deserved barbeque.
On the third day we woke to rain and wind, so most of the team took the option to visit the historic town of Conwy and explore the 13th Century castle. Mr Alcock, Mr Roberts and Miss Warring took six intrepid students for a very misty and wet ascent of Tryfan, a mountain slightly smaller than Snowdon but much, much steeper. A quarter of the way up the team split with Jack and Joe following Mr Alcock up a 600ft rock climb and the others taking the classic North Ridge scramble. Both teams overcame huge drops and exposure using ropes and climbing over tricky sections. Miss Warring commented that if it wasn’t misty it would have been very scary to look down the big drops! The two teams met up again after the summit and helped each other down the steep descent. Again the duty teams cooked a great meal, after which there was fun and games.
The Thursday saw our attempt on Snowdon itself, some very excited children stormed the first section of the Miners' Track, in very poor weather. We were making very good time and stopped to enjoy the views as the clouds swirled around the mountain. In the mist the temperature dropped to just 5 degrees. A huge effort from everyone saw us reach the summit in a very respectable three hours; quicker than the first year! We enjoyed the summit cafe for an hour then braved the worsening weather. Outside the winds had increased and the temperature had dropped even further. The team battled against the wind down to the south side of the mountain where it was slightly more sheltered. We made it back to the bus in two and half hours. It was a fantastic day that will stay with them for a long time and it was a fitting finale to a very challenging and adventurous week.
Thank you to all the staff (Miss Warring, Miss McCaig, Ms Akeroyd, Mr Marner and Mr Roberts) and to all the children who helped make it a safe, fun and rewarding week!
Outdoor and Adventurous Activities Coach