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Hollowford 2017 Day 2

What a great day! Today was the first day of activities so, after a hearty full-English breakfast, we set off in different directions.

Bella and Elsie C, Nathy and Edward found themselves descending into the darkness of Bagshaw Cave – hundreds of roughly hewn steps down into an ancient mine. The cave involved wading through winding tunnels, many too small to stand up in, with dirty water sloshing over the tops of their wellies and up to ther knees. They loved it!

Jessica T, Amy and Grace, Erin, Jodi and Katie, Elsie F and Jess A were driven up into the clouds to the top of Higger Tor, a cascade of millstones, to go weasling. Their instructor Ian was really pleased with them as they squeezed and shimmied their way through tiny gaps. Jodi especially shone for conquering her fear of small spaces. In the afternoon it was the turn of Christopher, Declan, Kian, Phoebe and Elisabeth and I can personally vouch for their bravery and enthusiasm. Kian and Elisabeth were crowned King and Queen of the Weasels for their incredible skill at twisting and turning their way through narrow tunnels.

Edward and Nathy, with Mrs Deatker from Stradbroke Primary, really pushed themselves this afternoon on the High Ropes. Initial enthusiasm was replaced by wobbly legs and knocking knees when the realisation of how high the bars actually are hit home. Despite the wobbles, both of them climbed the ladder again, getting one step higher before leaping off for the dangle back down. Both Edward and Nathy claimed to prefer the tight spaces of the mornings caving: “I’ve got the opposite of claustrophobia, whatever that is” says Nathy.

Erin, Jodi and Katie took on the top-pole-challenge this afternoon: this involved climbing to the top of a very tall pole with a tiny platform at the very top. Once there, the children had to wait for the rest of the team to climb up one-by-one, with the pole wobbling with every step taken, until all four were at the top. Then, putting their faith in each other, they were asked to hold on to each other and lean backwards as far as they could go! It is a reflection of high opinion the instructors have of this year’s groups that they were given the chance to do this – I have never seen it done before.

Elsie F and Jessica built a raft this afternoon (and took on the zip wire whilst waiting for the other team to build theirs). Their raft was described as perfect – every knot pulled tight, each plank square, and the whole thing, sturdy and pond-worthy. Their next step is to improve their rowing skills though as they were soundly thrashed by the other team in the race around the pond.

This evening we had a lively game of Beetle Drive – and Katie, Elsie F, Kian and Erin won the first prize of half a kilo of sweets. Well done team Fressingfield! (I have made sure that everyone has brushed their teeth before going to sleep!)

Tomorrow we visit Castleton in the morning, then climb Mam Tor in the afternoon. We are hoping that the rain will stop.