Once again the weather forecast was indicating that we might not make it through our adventure with dry socks and sunny skies. Despite this, all six groups were in a positive frame of mind and, as the majority of candidates had finished their GCSEs, everyone was in a relaxed, if somewhat bonkers mood. Recent heavy rain meant that the going underfoot was sometimes very heavy going, with many rivers and streams up and over banks and much of the flat ground boggy and waterlogged. This lead to some creative route finding for the groups and the addition of a few extra kilometres here and there. Another unforeseen consequence was the problem caused by soft, wet feet, resulting in many more blisters than we have seen in recent years.
We were lucky in that the rain held off most of the time while the groups were actually walking, but the weather eventually caught up with is in a truly biblical deluge on Wednesday night, complete with cataclysmic thunder and lightning. Several tents ended up pretending to be puddles and I felt rather like Noah in his ark, expecting pupils to bail out “two by two” and come and seek refuge in my van. I should have known that they were made of sterner stuff and only one very soggy tent had to bail before the morning.
As ever thanks to Gordon Bryant, Linda Baily, Gemma Bukowska, Steve Pidgeon and Becs Gibson for being out with the groups and supporting them in such inclement conditions.
Dr SAH Young
Head of Outdoor Education