Y8 Liddington 2015
Report from a Year 8 student Jacob Benhayoun:
At around midday on the 19th October 2015 we gathered in the Sports Hall, lugging along our suitcases and bags in the process. We were swiftly escorted onto the coaches, which we travelled in for 1 hour before a quick stop at a service station with Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, Waitrose and KFC (who had to order extra fries due to high demand). After 45 minutes and a quick toilet break, we shuffled back onto our coaches for 1 hour more of journeying.
After we pulled into the Liddington Activity Centre we began gazing out of our windows and looking at zip wires and abseiling towers which we would no doubt be encountering within the next few days. We settled into our rooms to get ready before a tasty dinner of chicken curry with steamy rice. After dinner, we went back into our rooms to prepare for the evening activity of a game commonly known in the centre as ‘Ambush’ in which we had to hide in groups to stay out of sight of the seekers. When the game ended we were all ushered to our rooms to get ready for lights out and shower. We were all asleep quite quickly and were dreaming of the week that was ahead.
The following morning everybody was up very fast and dressing in anticipation of the day ahead of them. After lining up in the outside activity zone we led off for breakfast; a choice of sausages, beans, eggs, tomatoes, cereals and toast. After everybody was replete, we were conducted to our activities - my first of which was the zip wire.
We were shown (some of us for the first time) how to attack a harness properly and then we were onto the zip wire! As we each made our way to the top, the sheer scale of the height made some of us feel queasy, but once I got on to the zip wire I felt very free and proud of myself for doing it.
After the zip wire was the fencing session - which, admittedly, I wasn’t brilliant at. We were taught terminology and how to fence properly using various techniques. We were then fitted with equipment and had fencing matches -Jagvir Briah and Miss Clinton were most victorious in this area.
After a delicious lunch of beef pasta, we were onto the trapeze o which was a ‘leap of faith’ and involved us jumping from a small platform to grab hold of a trapeze, which we would then let go of and dangle from. We learnt how to belay, in order to tighten the rope so that when our partner jumped the rope was tight enough to dangle them high. Luckily, I made it on both times and everybody accomplished as much as they wanted to. We were progressively overcoming our fears.
Open canoeing was our next challenge and we were canoeing in boats of two, twisting and turning through the lake which was full of canoes. We played water polo (within the safety of our canoes) and then got out of our soggy vessels and onto dry land.
After this, around half of us were permitted entry to the shop and bought various things such as sweets, drinks, chocolates, mugs and balls. I bought sweets in anticipation of the evening activity which was a film (or playing/watching football) that night. For dinner there was Chicken Goujons and Potato Wedges which tasted very nice and then we were escorted to our evening activities. The film was hosted in PGL’s own theatre and we watched ‘White House Down’ for an hour before going back across to our accommodation and preparing again for lights out.
We started off the morning of Day 3 well, excited to experience the challenge of new activities. We started by abseiling down the same tower we had zip-wired off the previous day, and many of us accomplished it. The height of the tower gave the same uneasy familiarity felt previously and once we were onto the tower - there was no way out but down. After completing the abseiling tower with a satisfied feeling, we went on to the crate challenge. The challenge involved stacking crates on top of each other, as high as possible, to be then be knocked down and for us to dangle in the air until we were lowered. It was a fun team building activity which many of us benefited from and enjoyed and included us having to belay.
After a fantastic lunch of soup with rolls or bread we were on to the giant swing. We were strapped to our harnesses and lifted high up (with a metal bar to grab onto) and then told to pull a string which would release us (giving a thrilling fright) and swing us back and forth until we were pulled to a halt by the instructor. We were all allowed to select a height at our own preference which helped everybody to progressively overcome some fears.
Finally to end the day, we did a vertical challenge consisting of roughly a 10 ft. rope ladder, 10 ft. tyre climb, 10 ft. rock climbing wall and finally a 10 ft. rope net to overcome. Most of us completed it and were cheered on by our peers and group leaders who helped us to climb and complete the challenge, which also involved the newly learnt skill of belaying.
For dinner we had fish fingers and chips and finally finished watching the film that I was excited to see the ending of. We were then escorted back to our accommodation and into our rooms for bedtime which occurred quickly, looking forward to the next day of our amazing trip.
For our last full day of action-packed activities, we began our day quickly in order to make the most of our final activities. We started with a breakfast of sausages, eggs and tomatoes and then were led into the great feat of climbing the 40 ft. wall (a lot of us to the top) which looked scary and towering from the bottom but not so menacing once we had reached the very top.
After this we were escorted off to our 2nd activity of the day which was Aeroball. This involved being in a 2 x 2 trampoline grid and shooting into other people’s ‘hoops’ using soft balls which involved us having to jump, shoot, score-count and ball-fetch. The Aeroball was not such an intimidating game; it was great fun, being a nice break from the scary heights of most of the other activities.
After a delicious lunch of chilli con carne and rice, we were on to the raft building - a sometimes labour intensive exercise. We first completed several acquisition challenges to determine the materials and items that we would be able to use for our rafts - of which our group was very successful. With a lot of equipment, we were able to create a sturdy design where we learned a figure-8 knot and as a team, managed to create a floating raft (with the helping hand of a PGL Instructor) that did not sink. Unfortunately many of us got wet due to being splashed by sunken members of other groups.
After dinner (turkey escalope, which was very tasty) our evening activity was a camp fire (or football) I opted for the camp fire and we roasted marshmallows, listened to stories and witnessed a mind reading trick! Bedtime came quickly and with all of our bags packed we slept through our last night.
Awaking on our final morning we were all experiencing mixed emotions regarding leaving the activity centre, although we still had two more activities to go on that day.
After a cooked breakfast with some cereal, we headed off towards our penultimate activity which was ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, where we had to climb up a large ladder with thick rungs that became more and more spaced out as we progressed (in groups of 3). None of us managed to make it to the top, but smaller groups of 2 got further because of having not as many people to climb.
We walked from one end of the centre to the other to get to Archery, our final activity. It was much less daunting and everybody loved it and it was fun to learn how to use a bow and arrow for the first time and to shoot one properly.
We had an early lunch of a burger choice (beef or falafel) which tasted amazing - a good meal to see us out on. We got on to our coaches in our groups and left after a brief farewell from our session leaders, we departed the centre coach by coach, to arrive at the school after a smooth, uninterrupted journey and see our families again.