Eighteen of our Year 9 students spent five days in the Peak District during the Easter Holidays.

The level one hill walking and navigation trip was organised through our outdoor education programme that is unique to King’s Ely Senior – Ely Scheme.

Mr James Houlston, who is our Director of Outdoor Education, said: “This course lays the foundation for navigational and camp-craft skills, such as map reading and associated skills, use of the compass and journeying, introduction to camp-craft, countryside etiquette, and how to thrive as part of an independent team.

“After arriving at the Foundry Adventure Centre, which was our base for three nights, the students went straight out into the hills to do some basic training. Unfazed by the rain, they worked hard to put their practical map reading skills to the test following theory-based training, which took place in school during the Lent Term.

“On day two, all teams spent the day in the vicinity of Castleton, conquering Mam Tor, Hollies Cross, Lose Hill and Winnats Pass. Pupils were rewarded with some stunning views from the top of the hills. In the evenings back at our bunkhouse, pupils had lectures which covered the skills needed for an independent expedition, including emergency procedures, first aid, and countryside code. Once the lectures were completed, they were able to have some downtime, playing games, chatting, and enjoying the warmth of the log burner with hot chocolates and homemade cakes.

“Day three saw the teams head south to the Youlgreave area, where they finished their training programme and refined the skills learnt in the areas that their expedition would go through. That evening, the groups worked hard and efficiently to plan their routes and produce route cards for their expedition, as well as packing their rucksacks.

“Day four saw the students start their expedition, which would cover in the region of 25 kilometres for each group, with over 500 metres of ascent. Their planning was excellent, with all three groups of students sticking to their route cards and arriving into our camp for the evening at Barn Farm, Birchover. Pupils enjoyed cooking their evening meals of pasta and sauce after a hard day in the hills.

“On the morning of day five, we woke to sunshine, frost and the resident peacocks’ alarm calls at the campsite! Students made their breakfast before packing up their equipment ready for their final day, with the finish set to be at Riber Castle via Matlock Bath. Once again, all the groups worked well and finished at Riber Castle at the time they had worked out on their route card.

“I would like to thank the Year 9s for their hard work and commitment throughout the five days. Thank you also to all the staff who made the trip such a resounding success.”

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