Every year we try and take the rockstars from our climbing club on a residential and this year the venue was close to home- the Peak District! With such a wealth of rock to choose from and fanatstic open spaces for adventure, it sometimes seems a shame not to use what is right on our doorstep.
We had a packed itinerary this year, which started with a walk (and scramble) up Crowden Clough, finishing on the Kinder Plateau. Climbing up through the waterfall at the top is always an awesome experience, and we warmed up our cold hands afterwards by placing them directly on the heated Gritstone which had been in the sun all day!
The views from the top were stunning, and a great place for a lunch break- Sam Riley even thought to bring his camping chair up with him! We headed down and (after a quick break at the Edale Visitor Centre) back to the campsite where we set up the tents for later. However, the day’s adventure wasn’t over yet and after a fantastic fish-and-chip dinner in Bakewell we headed up Stanton Moor in the dark to see if we could find the Nine Ladies Stone circle.
After a mystical and magical few hours contemplating the stars and our bronze-age surroundings we headed down and tried to get some sleep.
The next day dawned, windy and clear, and we headed over to Harborough rocks for some weird limestone/tufa climbing action! We headed to the trident area (the highest buttress on the cliff) and got ticking some of the amazing featured routes. Despite it being a bit cold in the wind, everyone got stuck in and it was a tired group we took for a quick visit to the National Stone Museum to find out more about the rocks we had been climbing on (and to warm up!)
Thanks to their group for giving it their all!
Before the Easter holidays, we had been working with a group of students to help them achieve their wider key skills level 1 qualification. Part of this process is completeing their “working with others” module, and we set them the task of planning a trip off-site from deciding what to do, to writing the letters home to their parents and uploading the risk assessments. After a few false starts (we couldn’t agree on a film for a trip to the cinema!) the ladies settled on ice skating as their activity of choice.
With the weather being so bad before easter, we had to put off the trip until this term and they were very excited on Friday morning to be finally going! Miss Prosser and I were incredibly impressed with the skills on display when we made it onto the ice, and everyone gave it a go!
We all had a great time, and well done to the group for finishing their working with others module!
With an improvement in the weather, we decided it was high time we starting heading back outdoors again on some residential trips. Greta Cottage is due to undergo some major refurbishment work in the near future but before it starts we decided there was time to fit in one more residential trip.
With this in mind we handed out letters before the holidays and monday morning saw us leaving early (7am, ouch!) to try and avoid the worst of the traffic. We were straight into it as soon as we hit the Lake District, out of the minibus and up to Scales Tarn below Blencathra.
The initial uphill is always a shock, but we soon reached the col, which was very windy! we walked onwards but it was clear at the river crossing that carrying on further was out of the question as the stream was higher than normal with all the snow melt- scales Tarn would have to wait for another day.
We weren’t done yet however, and the group stoically decided that we should focus on reaching the top of Souther Fell, a nearby high point. The views were stunning, and made all the battling that we had done against the wind worthwhile.
We headed back to Greta, stopping on the way to pick up the food that we would need for that night and the next day. the day wasn’t over yet however, and after spaghetti bolognaise we headed out for a night walk around a nature reserve where we listened to the sounds of the forest and attempted to walk by ourselves without our headtorches on!
the next day we ate breakfast, made luch and headed out to climb. Scratchmere scar is a beautiful sandstone crag in a sheltered woodland spot and we made the most of the clear skies, climbing as much as we could before heading back.
It was a great trip, and the students involved were brilliant, giving it their all and finishing the 2 days tired but happy. Thanks gang!
Recently Miss Prosser and Mr Clist have had some students on work placements, including Hazel Davidson from Norton College. Here’s what she has to say about her experience:
I’ve been spending two weeks with the outdoor pursuits department at Westfield and it’s been amazing. There has always been something to be done whether its on site or off site, like caving, preparing equipment, cleaning maps. This has been a great opportunity to gain an understanding of their unique job, including the organsation of residentials off-site and on site.
Also how to set equipment up correctly, ensuring all the students have been kitted up for the adventurous activity.
One highlight for me is to see the students do something new for the first time. Getting them out of their comfort zone and having an amazing time, as it gives the students an understanding of what other sports are out there in the big world.
Even though it’s been really fun, I haven’t enjoyed doing the paper work so much. However it’s like building up for the big event of the residential.
Plus the unbeatable carrot cake made by Heather Davidson.
Overall I have learnt more about the Outdoor pursuits industry and have worked with some incredible people who’s knowledge is just outstanding. Thank you
The PE department here at Westfield are a great bunch, and came to us last year with an idea- would we be able to start offering an alternative pathway in Outdoor Pursuits to students during PE time? Miss Prosser and I frankly love any excuse to take the students outdoors and gleefully set about concocting a prgram for the first groups of students.
We’re going to be doing expeditiion skills, orienteering, mountain biking, climbing and caving with them and are really excited to be offering this within curriculum time. so far the students have been learning expedition skills and have been putting up tents (and squeezing themselves inside!) and making hot squash on camping stoves. shelter and food- what more do you need from life?!
We hadn’t been to Giants Hole for a while to do any caving, so we decided to head there there other day for a wider participation session. It was a stunning day with blue skies but a still decidedley chilly wind which let us know that it wasn’t yet spring! the ground was incredibly dry, as all the recent snowfall had melted away, but we still got some pictures of the giant snowbank at the entrance!
A new year, a new Bronze DoE program! Its always exciting for Miss Prosser and I when the new DoE program starts, as its one of our favourite things to run, and the students get so much out of it!
Its a transitional year as the new online Duke of Edinburgh system no longer accepts year nine students, so we have focused on the year 10 students who haven’t already completed their Bronze awards. And boy, are they a keen bunch! we got them putting up tents (always a popular exercise) with very little input from us and they did brilliantly! not long until our first expedition to thornbridge where they’ll be putting them up and sleeping in them for real!
So it has been a while since we updated the blog… we have been very very busy!! A bad excuse I know, so anyway we are back and ready to update regularly again!!
So a quick update as to what we have been up to so far this academic year….
We have been running the BTEC OAA module every Wednesday which has been great and has included a fantastic couple of days at Greta Cottage scrambling and climbing outside in fantastic weather
We have also started running First Aid courses for school staff which has resulted in many more First Aiders in school and a lot of people shouting ‘Danger’!…
We have also been more involved with PE sessions this year – taking GCSE PE students orienteering and climbing, as well as working with groups of Years 8 and 9 giving them some taster sessions in various outdoor activities.
D of E has been going strong – we had many students completing their Bronze and Silver expeditions at the start of the year and were presented with their certificates by none other than Rebecca Adlington. We will be starting the Bronze and Gold training sessions after February half term with the new D of E students
Our Year 8 Wider Participation scheme has been going very well this year with small groups regularly taking us up on the opportunity to go caving, weaselling, climbing etc each Thursday and having a great time!
Asdan has also started up again every Friday with First Aid and navigation being looked at so far.
Mr Clist and I have very recently passed our Trail Cycle Leader Awards which means very soon we will be offering Mountain Biking sessions to our students, we can’t wait!!
Last but certainly not least we have just come back from a long weekend of Winter Walking up in the Cairngorms in Scotland which was superb! Amazing students, some good weather and just really good fun!! Here are some photos from the weekend.
During the last week of the summer term, we took 2 groups of D of E Gold students up to the Glencoe area of Scotland to complete their Qualifying Expedition. On the border of England and Scotland, everyone took on a Scottish persona – McAnsell, McBeard, McRutter, McChattaway, McClist, McProsser and so on…. From then on midges, rain, sunshine and Greenday took over!! We spent a day acclimatising to the Scottish weather which was enough time for McBeard to aggrevate a previous wrist injury so the next day whilst most of the groups set off into the rainy Scottish wilderness, McClist and McBeard headed to Fort William A and E to get it checked out. Fortunately McBeard was able to join the rest of his group later on that day, unfortunately he had missed out on the good olde Scottish tradition of bog trotting that morning but the rest of the group were able to fill him in on that. That evening 2 wild camps were set up, one slightly more midgy than the other but a good night was had by all. The next 2 days were beautiful – fantastic scenery, brilliant sunshine, excellent wild campsites, what more could we ask for? McProsser and McClist were able to spy on the groups from afar to check out their progress, so sneaky were we in doing so that none of the groups even noticed us…. MI5 watch out!! However it did have its’ pitfalls… we were slightly too far away to intervene with McAnsell on her mission to lead the rest of the group astray when she wasn’t satisfied with one campsite, she continued all the way into the next valley and beyond giving us an extra 10 kilometres to walk before McClist and McProsser could settle down for the evening with our gourmet dehydrated meals at Ben Alder bothy. The fourth and final day was not quite so pleasant and the groups were pleased to finish and head back to the base camp for another night of camping, hmmm…. However they were treated to an evening of caravan BBQing to celebrate. The next day was another beautiful day and most of the students were convinced that it would be a good idea to sit back and relax and spend the day walking up the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis. A Westfield speed record was set – 4.5 hours there and back, not bad at all!
All in all it was a fantastic week – the students were absolutely brilliant – very strong, not fazed by the challenge and they worked together really really well. We are both very proud of them so well done to McAnsell, McTatham, McEdwards, McEdwards, McChattaway, McBeard, McRutter, McHelliwell and McHallowes.
In the words of Georgie McEdwards:
‘It was super cool and we all enjoyed it despite the rain, midges and lack of decent paths.’
Here are some photos of the week.
Last Friday we worked with Mrs Ashmore’s year 10 group and took them to the Foundry Climbing Wall which was fantastic. They had a great time and really gave everything a go which was fantastic.
Here are some photos from the day.