Year 9 and 10 enjoyed an array of exhiliarating challenges and activities at this year’s Westbourne residential at Parkwood Outdoor Activity Centre. The centre is set in the rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons, with spectacular views of Pen Y Fan and Pontsticill Reservoir surrounding it.
Day 1: After grappling with the absence of WiFi, the students quickly got stuck into making the most of the gloriously sunny weather and plentiful activities! One of the reasons for choosing Parkwood as the location for this year’s residential trip was the keen focus it places on teambuilding and relationship strengthening, which was put to the test in the first couple of activities: raft building and a challenge course.
Day 2: The second day saw the students take to the water for some paddle boarding (SUP) and canoeing as well as trying out their skills in archery and crate stacking. The students thoroughly enjoyed testing their skills and building confidence, and were enthralled with the amazing natural surroundings, complete with the Brecon stream train chugging past through the hills.
In the evening, everyone enjoyed several energetic games of rounders and football, as well as chatting with friends in the on-site common room.
The sky was crystal clear on night two, and the pupils were lucky enough to head out on a 5.5k night hike. The sky was in fact so clear, that the students could make out several constellations and even the Milky Way!
Day 3: The third day was just as action packed as the previous two, but instead of heading out on the lake, the pupils took to the caves! Kitted up in overalls, helmets and head torches, those students who wished to study the geology of the caves in more detail took time to explore and admire their natural beauty, whilst others waded through the gorges, even climbing up waterfalls!
Day 4: The last full day of the trip was non-stop once again with the groups swapping activities to make sure they all had a go at everything. The sun was still shining, making the water activities even more enjoyable, and from the reservoir the sun really showed off an incredible view of Pen Y Fan from a rare angle. In the evening, we rounded things up with the quiz of the week as a recap of everything the students had learnt and done.
On the journey home, there were certainly some very muddy clothes and some very tired teenagers, but the group couldn’t have wished for a better week. The centre leaders commented on the impeccable behaviour of the students, as well as their fantastic teamworking and communication skills. Well done, everyone!