An announcement by Chris Evans at 6.30am on Radio 2’s ‘Good Morning Chris Club’ officially launched Heritage’s 2016 Senior Camp to Cornwall.
After a smooth journey we arrived at 3pm and the newly acquired tents went up a treat (thanks to those who attended the camp fire last October) and the children set about identifying the whereabouts of the stinging nettles, brambles, mud pits and mosquito infested areas of the campsite while Mr Hulett cooked one of his trade-mark delicious feasts.
On Tuesday the camp programme really kicked off. The Year 7’s and 8’s and the ever intrepid Mrs Laube and Mr Appleyard went e-Coasteering (relocated to the north coast due to unseasonably high waves on the south) and the remainder of us set about depositing the DofE groups across The Lizard. Blessed with blue skies, albeit with a cold easterly wind, it was easy to see why Cornwall is so popular. The scenery enjoyed by all was stunning, if a little chilly.
Wednesday for the Year 7 & 8’s required a gentle bike ride by the side of the Camel Estuary on the Camel Trail. A two hour educational visit had been organised to the National Lobster Hatchery on the outskirts of Padstow, followed by lunch (sans Lobster, sadly) and then a return trip, stopping to play on a beach. For the DofE groups, Wednesday was much more challenging. It would seem that the Cornwall tourist board has not quite trained some of the farmers on The Lizard very well. Many of them have chosen to disregard their responsibility to maintain footpaths and signage. In fact several of the children encountered farmers who were adamant that no footpath existed, when one was clearly marked on the (new) OS maps. This created challenges, but the children as ever, rose to them. Quiet children became strong leaders, helping their friends when spirits dropped a little. When we picked them up they were in a great mood, with new stories to tell about being charged by bulls (actually cows) and smiles on their faces. Mr Seetharaman kindly provided the amazing healing power of ice cream from the village shop as a reward.
Thursday was the busiest day of the trip. The Silver DofE group had to complete their expedition by late morning, at which time they were transported to the North of Cornwall (high waves again) to do their E-Coasteering and Sea Kaayaking. E-Coasteering was fantastic and again we saw the ‘quiet’ children coming out of their shells and doing quite spectacular jumps into the sea accompanied by Mr Hulett. We also learned about much of the fauna that lives in the rock pools and explored some tidal caves. The Year 7 & 8’s spent the day circumnavigating the Roseland on foot.
In the evening the whole group congregated in Falmouth, where we had chartered the 1921 Pleasure boat M.V. Princessa for an evening cruise up the River Fal. Cornish pasties provided the food for the evening. The children, in spite of our best efforts to tire them out spent the evening line dancing under expert tuition from Santiago.
Friday was the only day that anything went wrong. Sadly a fatal accident occurred on the A30 ahead of us on our way back from Cornwall. This delayed us and meant that the planned trip to Wookey Hole could not happen. It is a testament to the children that in spite of the long (11 hour) return trip to Cambridge, spirits never dipped.
The camps are a source of incredible enjoyment to us adults. Thanks for lending us your children for the week. If anyone likes the sound of all this and wants to volunteer next year please let us know – you will be very welcome!