Anglesey Blog - Day 6

The day yesterday was so full that I didn’t really have time to stop and put down the words for the next blog post.  I made a special effort today to get comments from a number of children who were at the bottom of the massive abseil we do at Breakwater Country Park.  Aside from being in a beautiful ex-quarry, now turned wild-flower filled hollow it has brilliant views of Holyhead harbour.  Look here for some pictures of the park – the one with the chimney shows the cliff we use for the abseil behind it.

Here are the guest bloggers from Group D:

“I love being at Anglesey, it’s so fun!  I have such amazing group members and the two best group leaders in the world, without them my time here would not have been so fun.  My favourite activity so far has to be abseiling.  When I came here I had a really big fear of heights, but now, thanks to Georgia, Joe and all of my group members’ support I have overcome my fear of heights.  I have made loads of new friends and I have gotten closer to my other friends too.  I really love it here and I would like to come again soon.” Ellie Anne

“Anglesey has been really fun. This has definitely been my favourite year so far.  I think this has been because of: the quality of activities; encouraging and supportive staff; and my amazing group.  Hopefully I can come back and do it all over again.” Anon

“Anglesey is the best school trip I have ever been on.  There are so many activities and every one of them is so fun.” Ethan

“I have enjoyed every second here at Anglesey.  I’m so happy that I have been chosen to come here.  Although it is my first year I can’t really say that I was scared – but I was quite nervous.  Over the past week I have had the best time of my life.  Overall I have enjoyed every activity, especially sit-on-tops when we jumped from the bridge.”  Shauna

“This is my fifth year in Anglesey and my third as a leader.  It has been such a brilliant last year for me.  I am extremely proud of my group who have completed every activity with enthusiasm and ease.  I can already see promising leaders in this group of young people and encourage them all to return in future years.  Going to miss everyone involved in making these trips incredible for me each year.”  Georgia

“This has been the best school trip I have ever done.  I had the best group ever: Group D.  Thank you to all the staff for all this organisation.  It’s the perfect place to be in this beautiful country, Wales.  The activity I found the most fun was Sit-On-Tops because there are always so many games to do.  I really loved each moment of each activity even if it was hard.  Thank you to everyone for your helpfulness and kindness.” Noemie

The others from Group D did not get chance to write anything as we whipped them away to their next activity!

I cannot compliment the students enough for the way they are approaching the week.  In my experience of the trip I can’t recall a group so very content and prepared to throw themselves (sometimes literally) into the activities.  Thank you for lending us your wonderful children!

More about where we are staying for the week can be found at:

Anglesey Blog - Day 4

Day Four went well despite the weather.  As I was en-route to the gorge I asked Group A to join in with the blog and here are a range of the comments I received.

“My favourite activity was coasteering because I loved jumping off the cliff into the sea which is really fun.”

“My favourite activity was mountain biking because it is very challenging.  I also enjoyed sailing because we had control of the main sheet.”

“My favourite activity was coasteering because I loved climbing along the cliffs and then jumping back into the water; it was also good because it was sunny!  I also loved kayaking where me and my friend shared a double boat and we did a treasure hunt.   We had right fun.”

“My favourite time is when we all bond together and help each other out when we need it.  Also coasteering because that was the first activity we had together.

“My favourite activity so far was climbing because we all helped and encouraged each other.”

“My favourite activity so far was sailing because it is fun to have control of your own boat.  We did capsize a lot and lost a wet shoe.”

“I love being in such a lovely group.  We all get on so well and have bonded together wonderfully.  I am an adrenaline junkie and won’t say no to anything.  I love to have a go at everything.  After all… what’s the worst that can happen?  This was my mind-set for coasteering, my favourite activity: launching myself off towering cliffs into jellyfish infested water; choking on the overpowering taste of salt-water; trying to stay afloat amidst the waves to make sure that everyone had that perfect mid-air shot.  Everyone was helping each other to scramble over slimy seaweed-filled rock surfaces, encouraging each other to attempt the jumps.  Everyone was so brave and this made us leaders very proud”

As you can tell, the personal achievements of the young people on the trip are huge.  They are challenged in many ways to stretch their boundaries physically, mentally and emotionally.  As I write this I am sitting watching the students in the pool at the local leisure centre.  We could just let them swim, float, jump, play-fight and natter… but that is not the Anglesey way!  There is also a kayak where each student is doing a capsize drill, being turned upside down and escaping from the cockpit.  This is a real barrier for some of the students as the expression on the face of the current ‘capsizer’ attests!

The weather today was truly terrible.  Those on the ‘dry activities’ seemed to come home no dryer than those on the traditional ‘wet’ activities.  It was a good day to be on the bus to the gorge….  Despite this the spirit of the children is amazing.   They have participated with no real complaint despite the inclement weather – they have really shown their mettle.

We have been blessed again with a lack of serious injury or illness.  A few bumps and scrapes are inevitable.  I would sum this up with a few words that one girl said this evening.  She had a nasty graze during her cycling session.  This was shrugged off with, “It’s just a scratch.” Before launching into the next activity.

I am always immensely proud of the young people and their achievements and this year is no exception.

Anglesey Blog Day 2

With many thanks to our guest bloggers today:
Georgia Duffy, Laura Patterson, Ellie O'Neill and Abigail Riddle. There were only minor edits by Mr Belleini.

It was rise and shine in the Anglesey household, the sun was shining through our curtains, it was a great morning call. Wow, it was warm and we were tired. Although a skive of breakfast was considered, we roused ourselves to face another activity-filled day. After a full English (Welsh according to Stan the Cook) breakfast we were energised and ready to go mountain biking, coasteering, to sit on tops and gorge walking.

My good old friend Georgia was in the wars today, this is how the story goes "I jumped into the sea, when I emerged from under the depths of the water strewn with jellyfish, a current abducted me and dragged my fragile, weak body across the razor sharp rocks." That's how Georgia bruised her hip.

So we got lost... "Driving to the climbing wall, Mr Smith driving, I was in the passenger seat. Stumbled across unruly road, assuming this was the wrong road, we pulled a U turn... This was the first of many. We headed along a road that was unknown to us, ending up in a housing estate. Fortunately, I was blessed to have 3G so I google map my way to the climbing wall to meet our instructor Ryan. It only took 3 U turns, 3 stalls and we were at our destination. P.S I've lost my voice and have mutated into a walrus through the night" Abigail Riddle.

"I slipped on a rock, I stood up. I slipped on another rock this became the repetitive cycle of the day. But don't worry I live to tell the tale"

It has been great today to see the young people drawing closer together across the age groups. The evening reflection showed this with Group B talking about the friendships made and how they have supported each other more and more.

We were made extremely welcome at St Mary's church with their new Scottish Priest speaking very well about how important the Bible is to everyone. The first reading (from Ezekiel) was in Welsh as it is the first Sunday of the month – a real taste of the culture!

While the weather was not good for sailing (gusty wind is difficult to handle) the other activities went off without a hitch. The planned evening deep-water swim was postponed after an assessment of the sea conditions. This will take place later if it calms down out there!

Another great day.

Anglesey Blog - Day 3

Day Three was great.  We have some guest bloggers again who have written a summary of some of the day’s events:

Lucy Drennan and Rebecca Jarvis

“The weather has been atrocious here today in Anglesey but thankfully has not ruined anyone’s mood. Throughout today we have witnessed numerous people falling over at climbing and many sinking boats at sit on tops. Above all, we have seen Miss Wood be in the water more than her boat due to her capsizing. A special mention to Daniel Williams (year 7) and Hannah Webb (year 9) who successfully overcame their fears.  For the people Mountain biking today it’s fair to say that it wasn’t particularly a dry activity. On the other hand, it was excellent for those Coasteering as it was warmer in the water than on land. Thankfully the sun has come out this evening so able to do our yearly walk through Penrhos Country Park as a big community.”

From Josh Carr:

“Please mention the Mud Olympics.  The four events are:

1.     Human Curling – slide a team-mate as far as possible.

2.     Human Javelin – run and scream for as long as you can.

3.     Group Gymnastics Choreography – the more mud the better

4.     Spinny-Slidy running race – spin round then run and slide for the greatest distance.

The group leader’s team won today (vs the deputy group leader’s team).”

This evening’s events were the walk through the park (as described above) and some brave swimmers took a open-water swim setting out from Trearddur Bay.  This route was chosen in order to give a sheltered swim for much of the time and because there was a half-way bay where some of the swimmers could stop if required.  This is a real test of character and the swimmers were variously terrified, keen and determined.  The kayak support team were perhaps more nervous than the swimmers as the swell was quite rough!  Everyone gave their best and came off the water safely with a huge sense of achievement.

The walkers in the park were in good form with a ridiculous selfie count and great fun as we followed the coastal path.  The weather was windy, but warm and the annual picture at the scenic viewpoint was taken again.

The evening reflection from group D was themed around Earth, Air, Fire and Water which led to thoughts about the place of the young people in the world and the Creator who put us here. 

Anglesey Blog Day 1

This is a short entry to the blog to let you know that everyone has arrived safely and without incident. Planned stops went without a hitch and everyone arrived in good spirits in time to take part in the planned activities of the day.

I have put a copy of the week's activities with this entry so that there is no need to put a list of the activities of each day. Last year's blog has details of the nature of the activities, and that can be found on the school website.

Though there were a few minor scrapes (a knee bumped, scratched leg) there have been no problematic injuries.
The centre staff have been very welcoming and the weather has been perfect for the activities (apart from the wind being too light for sailing – though this is likely to change in the next few days!)

Interesting happenings:
A lizard was seen for the first time in the gorge. Thanks Nathan for spotting it!
Certain staff took advantages of breaks to catch up on sleep – sadly no cameras were there at the time.
Suggestions of cheating from Mr Whittaker in the Sit-on-Top competitions – though I can't believe it of him .
Fantastic efforts at jumping off rocks into cold water from all of the gorge walkers, coasteerers and Sit-on-Toppers.
Simulated capsize in the sailing as there needed to be action when the wind wasn't cooperating, though deliberately tipping over a boat seems to defeat the object! It was nice to have a female sailing instructor (visiting and working all the way from Australia!) to balance up the staff on this activity.

Evening Reflection
Group G led a lovely reflection which focused on God's part in creating the fabulous surroundings we are in, and how this week will help them to build a supportive community.
The McAuley Catholic High School, Cantley, Cantley Lane, Doncaster, DN3 3QF
Tel: 01302 537396