Voyage en France
In the early hours of Sunday 1 July 2018, 38 of our (new) Year 9 pupils boarded their coach, along with 5 members of staff from across the school, for the journey to Normandy, France. This inaugural activity trip for Enrichment Week 2018 was action packed and pupils had the opportunity to practice their French, carry out a range of activities, learn important life skills – like how to get out of quicksand - and the chance to have new experiences and challenge themselves.
A quick coach journey down to Portsmouth and we were ready to board the ferry for our 6 hour crossing. We settled into our designated area and then spent the next few hours playing UNO, visiting the cinema, listening to music, chatting and exploring. A few of the boys, including Mr Cumming, had a table tennis championship and entertained themselves for hours.
After disembarking the ferry at Caen, we had a coach journey to our campsite and most of us used this time to catch up on some sleep, or sing along to Frozen. After a twelve hour journey we arrived at the campsite and met the staff that would be looking after us for the week including Laura, Tonge and Batiste.
Carly said "Much to everyone's surprise it was proper camping, not glamping, but it didn't matter because proper camping made it more fun!"
Once settled in we enjoyed our first dinner together before heading down to the local beach to enjoy some fresh air and a paddle in the sea, before catching up on some much needed sleep.
Following a delicious breakfast of fresh croissant we set off for our first full day of fun, taking part in the 10km Bay Adventure with our guide Woody.
"We visited the iconic Mont St Michel. After exploring the small village and having a picnic, we walked back from Mont St Michel to the mainland. We walked over marshlands, water and rivers and even had an experience with quicksand on the beach.” Katie
Tuesday morning started with a Laughter Yoga session on the beach for Miss Lillington and 13 of the girls taking part in the trip! The beach was empty, so we didn’t have to worry too much about really going for it on the laughing – it was a great way to start the day. Following breakfast, more delicious croissant, we had the opportunity to practice our French speaking skills and enter a competition for the best sandwich! The pupils had to work in teams of 3, with a budget of just 3€ each to come up with the most original and delicious baguette fillings. There was a little bit of confusion amongst a couple of the groups between a cabbage and a lettuce – I guess they will not make this mistake again, but some very high quality entries.
During the afternoon we visited an activity centre which had a high ropes course and a very popular toboggan run! After another fantastic day we returned back to the campsite and enjoyed playing football, watching the football (England v Columbia – with a victory lap around the campsite from Tyler J) or just talking and relaxing.
Wednesday was another busy day with the group dividing into two teams to take on the climbing centre and river canoeing. The first canoeing team opted for a more challenged and technical 5km route which they really enjoyed and they showed great determination, for some it was even their first time canoeing. Whilst the one team canoed, the others enjoyed the climbing centre and had the chance to work together as a team and practice various ascents which increased in difficulty but as the pupils gained confidence more and more took on the challenging routes. After a refuel back at the campsite, the groups swapped over and so everyone got to experience both activities. Wednesday evening was an opportunity to explore the sand dunes near in the campsite in an orienteering challenge – it was great to see a real team spirit, especially after such a busy day of activities.
Thursday morning started with pain au chocolate, could this day get any better? Yes, because this was the morning we visited a local organic goat farm. The goat farm gave pupils the opportunity to find out more about farming in the local area and the whole process of making cheese. In addition to being able to pet the goats, some pupils took the opportunity to try milking a goat and even try fresh goat’s milk!
On our last afternoon we went back to doing activities at the beach. Again, the group divided into two and we had the chance to try paddle boarding and also learn circus skills such as juggling and diablo – sadly it was too windy for plate spinning, but it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon. A treat of an ice-cream before heading back along the beach back to our campsite.
Before we could enjoy our BBQ on the last night, we had to make sure that all the tents were clean and tidy – this took some groups longer than others – but we got there eventually.
After a 4am wake up call and a strategic hedgehog removal, we were ready to get back on the road for our long journey back to Cirencester. Once again, the time spent on the ferry was relaxing and we even had the chance to have an awards ceremony for the best football pundit, best orienteering team work, best kept tent and pet hedgehog, a honesty award, best sandwich creator, best card shark, best Kermit the frog impression and loudest snorer!
"The days were action-packed: we canoed, did wall climbing, visited a goats' cheese farm and even did some orienteering. After long days we just wanted to eat! The food at the camp was amazing - spaghetti bolognaise, chicken and couscous and even beef bourguignon. We relaxed on the beach most evenings. Overall, this week with our teachers and camp staff was great." Katie and Marissa