Day 1 - Monday
Today, we arrived at Derwent Hill. We had to quickly unpack and make our beds before getting straight into some tiring yet spectacular activities. We were lucky enough to see Beatrix Potter's house on Derwent Water, as well as visit 'One Tree Island' and explore the habitats of an array of wildlife.
After we spent the afternoon canoeing, we went on a beautiful night walk, where we were able to spot various constellations, lead the way using our own skills and even be brave enough to turn out our torches, adjust to the dark and walk without a light! After a busy first day, we settled down early to have our night time snack.
Day 2 - Tuesday
Today, our groups split off and we did different activities. Mrs Vernon's group went on an adventurous, challenging hill walk, climbing up Low Rigg and High Rigg in St John's Vale. They braved the wet, windy weather and even ate their lunch whilst taking in the picturesque mountainside views.
Miss Stoker's group did some orienteering, before going on a short mountain walk to Newlands Valley, where they explored a lead mine. They went 200m in and were extremely brave - even turning off their torches for a few minutes to experience how the miners worked when the mine was still in operation!
Day 3 - Wednesday
Today, Miss Vernon's group braved the 'big swing'; even in the high winds and driving rain the group were more than up for the exhilarating challenge! Orienteering around the house and grounds followed, and once we mastered orientating the maps, we were quick to find every marker with ease.
Miss Stoker's group started the day with a conservation project: giving something back to the environment by planting trees. We managed to plant a whopping 130 saplings (thanks to determination and teamwork). We like to think of this as our small but everlasting contribution to our planet's oxygen source. After a tasty lunch, we moved onto more testing adventures - gyll scrambling at the bottom of a thundering, majestic waterfall. We also got to shake hands underneath the famous Bowder Stone.
Tonight, we took part in a series of team challenges, which included: gutter ball (working as a group to transport a golf ball from one end of the building to another, using small pieces of guttering); origami animal making challenge (making different animals using only sheets of newspaper and a roll of masking tape); the harness challenge (where we had to fit our entire team through a harness in the fastest time possible) and also the swamp challenge, which tested our balance, teamwork and coordination skills as we passed a juggling ball across an ever-growing 'crocodile invested swamp'.
Day 4 - Thursday
This morning, Mrs Vernon's group were tackling the 'conservation' element of the John Muir Award! Working together in icy, cold winds and torrential rain, we planted over 100 hawthorn saplings in record time! We learned that over the next 20 years, these will grow into a thick hedge line, offering a safe home to birds, mice, voles and a variety of other animals! After drying off and grabbing a quick bite to eat, we then spent the afternoon off the ground in harnesses, attempting to conquer the high ropes 'gladiator challenge' and the 'leap of faith'. Trust, co-operation, teamwork and courage were our recipe for success.
Miss Stoker's group spent the morning sharing their unforgettable experiences with one another - all part of the John Muir Award. After learning more about the work of this prominent outdoor enthusiast, we went on a scenic hill walk, up a hillside known as Castlecragg. Unbelievably, we were able to eat our lunch in a cave! After quickly eating, we were able to explore, where we uncovered carvings left behind by the original settler - it was amazing! We then had a lovely, warm cup of hot chocolate before beginning our trek back down to the ground. We took a different route back, where we came across a few... mishaps - some of us had to be piggybacked over a flooded path as it was deep and we were wearing walking boots - it was a blast!
Day 5 - Friday
Today, to bring an action-packed, fun-filled and challenging week to a close, Mrs Vernon's group developed their bush-craft skills in the Derwent Hill grounds. After gathering sticks and logs, we built and lit three fires, before making and cooking our own pizzas, frying tasty sausages and enjoying delicious hot chocolate and marshmallows! Yum!
Miss Stoker's group finished the week with the 'big swing'. We overcame the mental challenge of climbing two sets of ladders and standing upon a platform that we had to step off in order to swing. Despite the nerves, we encouraged each other and every single one of us took the terrifying leap! We were incredibly proud of ourselves and one another!