Year 9 Adventures in Edale

24th May 2019

On Monday 13 May Year 9 began the long drive north to Edale. After an unexpected detour sightseeing along the outer ring road of Sheffield the students and staff of Stormont House School arrived at the Edale Youth Hostel, in the foothills of Kinder Scout Deep in the Derbyshire Peak District. The group stayed in Kinder Cottage, reached by climbing ninety two steps from the main hostel. The students were introduced to Kristy and Jamie the group leaders for the week and they began the first of their many activities and challenges. To begin they learnt the ancient Derbyshire art of welly wanging at which many students and staff were naturals. After dinner the groups hiked to the site of an Iron Age fort and watched the peaks turn orange as the sun set on their first day.

Tuesday: Weaseling is the sport of exploring the gaps in boulders while wearing protective suits and helmets and the activity requires agility and courage. The leaders were so impressed with the student’s enthusiasm that they gave them the most challenging routes of any group from our school. In the afternoon the canoeing session was not just about keeping afloat, everyone tied the boats together, stood up and balanced on the sides, raced each other and even created a diving board so students could brave the cold water and jump in while wearing life jackets. The reward for a great session was a visit to a farm that made its own ice cream and sells it quite literally by the bucketful. After dinner the groups had an orienteering competition in the hostel grounds.

Wednesday: The students had to build a raft with only wooden poles, rope and plastic barrels. The trainers were very impressed with how the students planned and worked beautifully together to create rafts that not only floated but carried the whole of Year 9 across the lake. Archery requires patience and skill. In the sunshine the students calmly waited to take their turns developing their skills trying to hit a range of objects including homemade targets, balloons and even cutlery!

In the evening the groups took part in a variety of problem solving activities, including throwing eggs out of a window without breaking them and building bridges using planks and plastic crates. Again teamwork was key.

Thursday: A challenging day. Both groups were taken down sporting caves, Giants and Bagshawe Cavern, rather than "show" caves which regular tourists visit. Bagshawe had never been attempted by Stormont before. The cave had tight crawls and demanded endurance and concentration from the students in their helmets, lamps and protective clothing. In Giants the students were rewarded with underground waterfalls and limestone formations built up over thousands of years. The high ropes course allows students to face their fears of heights by competing with each other to build towers to stand on. One group were able to attempt the notorious "Leap of Faith", jumping off a tall post that resembles a telephone pole, while secured by a safety harness.

Friday: Abseiling for many of the group this was the greatest challenge. Even though they were secured with a safety rope to a steel support the idea of launching yourself eighty feet off a disused railway viaduct was very daunting. The students followed all the instructions and safely made the decent while supporting each other with words of encouragement to be brave. 1pm and it was time to pack up and go back on the coach, in no time the granite peaks of Derbyshire were replaced by the concrete office blocks of London and the group were home