9 October 2018

A Great First Term for OAA

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing club kicked off with two trips to the Dewerstone in and September and October, and attempts to climb three routes graded from 'Very Difficult' to 'Severly Difficult' in the guidebook to the area! We had 9 students each time and Mr Whitfield along to help. All the students had a good go on at least two of the routes and were really keen to try all three. Josh excelled by topping out on all his routes and setting the example for the others, showing them that it was possible. After some tentative starts all the students made headway and improved their high points, proving that with some determination they can succeed. Some students even managed to learn the technique for belaying and keeping their partners safe. Hopefully many of them will come along to rock climbing club at the Life Centre every Wedneday evening 3:05pm - 5:45pm (£3) in terms 2-4. Thank you to Mr Whitfield for his help in taking out the students.


Nine intrepid students went to Bovisand bay to have a go at coasteering this week. It was surprisingly warm, so they only complained about the water for a few minutes! Over the far side of the bay we found a cave only exposed at low-mid tides. We took it in turns to swim through the gap, timing it so that the outgoing wave zoomed us through. On the other side was a nice little zawn where we jumped into the deep water. The swim back was aided by ropes which the students began to use to help each other after watching Mr Alcock do the first one. The team did really well and encouraged each other throughout. Thank you to Mrs Evans for accompanying us and helping out.

Lake Jump

The Goldiggins quarry on Bodmin Moor has been visited twice recently by our teams of eager students, each one intent on doing their best lemming impression from the cliff edges above the flooded old quarry. Everyone did it, some many times from the highest (30ft) cliff, others psyched themselves up and managed to do a jump from a lower cliff, showing great bravery in the process. Many were really nervous about doing it but wanted to conquer their fears. Connor and Sam excelled with running jumps and some flips. A great effort from everyone in the cold lake, and especially pleasing to see everyone encouraging each other. Big thank you to Mr Saberton and Miss James for accompanying us. 

Learning Recovery

Learning Recovery have been out on many trips this term. The year 8s have been to Whitleigh woods, scrambling up Sharpitor, and to the river Plym for a gorge walk. The gorge was freezing but the team managed to wriggle through a hole with a waterfall for company and pop out laughing on the other side! They then swam and slid into pools all the way up to the top slide. They all had a go sliding down then tried to swim against the flow into the big waterfall; a good effort from all of them. The year 7s also went to Sharpitor, then the following week to the summit of Sheepstor in awful weather. They had a choice half-way up: either to the summit or to find a cave for shelter. They chose the summit by near unanimous vote. 
Both year groups have been using the trips as opportunities for a 'Word Hunt', writing down whatever comes to them on the trip: things they've seen, done, thought, or felt. They then use the words to write poems or stories. Many are close to finishing them now, and hopefully won't mind sharing them in a future newsletter!

Duke of Edinburgh

The nine Duke of Edinburgh Silver students successfully completed their official Silver Practice expedition. The students were dropped at a tiny hamlet called Zoar on Friday afternoon where they had a 5km walk in to camp which they completed with a huge dark cloud above them threatening rain as they summitted White Tor. Everyone was in high spirits and was rather excited about their beautiful wild camp. Saturday morning, they were eager to get going and had an 11km walk ahead of them. The first part of the day they took it in turns to lead the group, learning navigational skills with Mr Alcock and Mr Whitfield. They then were left on their own to lead themselves to eventually reach camp for the second night at a bridge on the old railway track by Ingra Tor. 

The final day (Sunday) was forecast to be cold and clear. The teams had decided to wake-up early to therefore get home early, so it was only 3 degrees when they got out of their tents. They zoomed along to Princetown then South Hessary Tor, did some first aid training with Mr Alcock then headed downhill to the minibus at Burrator Reservoir, showing eveb greater pace than the previous two days! They did superbly and didn’t put a foot wrong. A big well done to all! And a big thank you to Miss Warring, Mr Whitfield, Miss Morgan, and Mr Gilbert who gave up their weekend to come and camp out with the teams.

The Bronze Duke of Edinburgh teams in year 9 started in September with a walk around Burrator reservoir, which they completed in double quick time and in very high spirits! The DofE is always open for new starters so even if you've missed things so far you can still sign up.

Jamie Alcock
Outdoor and Adventurous Activities Coach