Form 3 visit Bala

Last week, Form 3 went to Bala in North Wales from Monday to Friday. We left promptly after taking the annual whole school photo, so we could arrive there at 8pm, which was a suitable time… We arrived on schedule and set up. Whilst we weren’t camping, it wasn’t an all-inclusive experience either, and we had lots of roles and responsibilities. We got split into groups and retired to our dorms for the night.

The next day, we woke up for 7am and had breakfast before being briefed for our activities. That day, I had kayaking and paddleboarding in Bala Lake. The day was not too cold and relatively clear. Kayaking was good, and not too wet… The same can’t be said for paddleboarding, though. Whilst I (and all, bar one) fell in, it was great fun! You can actually see a photo of me falling in on the official Concord Twitter ha-ha. The next day, I had climbing and abseiling. It was hard work, but amazing. And the views were to die for! The Welsh landscape is beautiful, especially since we were in a National Park. Abseiling was so fun, and really was an adrenaline rush. It did rain, but we didn’t let that rain on our parade. That night, we had a competition to see which group could make something that would keep an egg intact when dropped. Our contraption had a parachute and cut-up paper bits for cushioning. We thought we were so original doing this (spoiler – we weren’t). But, the egg didn’t shatter, and that’s a win in our book.

The next day was our ‘choice day’, which meant we got to choose what activity we wanted to do. I chose to sail instead of canyoning, caving and mountain biking. The others sounded fun, but I love activities on the water. Sailing was fantastic, and the day was pretty perfect. The wind was good, and the lake was like a mirror. I wish I had my phone to take some photos. The wind subsided near the end, so I needed a tow to shore, but other than that, perfect. Later, we had a (surprisingly serious) LEGO competition in which we had to recreate a masterpiece. My group made a giant tower. We didn’t win, surprisingly enough!

Onto the final day. The entirety of Form 3 went to the lake (after packing, of course) and enjoyed various watersports. My group went canoeing. We got to go around the lake and saw the other groups too. I don’t think anyone capsized their canoe, but we did watch the other groups fall in, in their activities. We then did final checks, ate lunch and left.

Although we experienced no signal, cold weather and damp wetsuits over the course of the trip, these ‘lows’ could often change in an instant, and weren’t dealbreakers. This trip surpassed my expectations massively, and I had high hopes anyway! I know next year’s Form 3 students will love it, and thanks to everyone at the Rhos y Gwaliau centre and thanks to all the staff too.

Nathaniel – F3

Form 3 Bala Trip

On this trip, I shared a dorm with 11 other people. This wasn’t the first time I’ve shared a dormitory, however it was a first for me sharing a dorm with people that aren’t all very close to me. It was a new experience and we learnt more about each other.

Our group did water activities on the first day. We started with kayaking and we tried to change kayaks whilst on the water. Although it was very challenging, everyone tried hard and had fun.

After that, we did paddle boarding. It isn’t actually as hard as what I had expected, but it is certainly amusing. We had two groups competing against each other – we pushed each other and even pushed the instructors into the water too.

The last activity of the day was gorge walking. The rocks were very slippery! Fortunately however, we got to choose our own route and there were lots of great views.

Over the course of the visit, we had different duties and responsibilities. Every day, we would make and pack sandwiches for lunch. Moreover, we tested our time management skills – as we had to be on time for all activities and be organised and prepared with equipment. We had ‘duty teams’ too, for instance certain teams had to help clear up at designated times.

In our team, everyone was actively involved with the activities and other responsibilities. Each member was willing to help, challenge themselves and respected one another. It was good working with different individuals for different challenges.

I liked the mining activity most during our time away. As our group was very encouraging, we cheered each other on and helped spot where to go together. Excitingly, we told ghost stories in the old mines and turned our headlights off. There was a lot of climbing to do, and also a part where we needed to take the canoe. At this point, Kachi’s action amazed everyone; he volunteered to push the canoe so everyone else in the group could move forward.

The last part of the mining expedition was memorable too. We went through deep, freezing water trying to find our way out… We doubted our route and navigation skills many times – especially when the water kept getting higher and higher. The water even reached my neck at its highest point. However, we eventually found our way out. The moment of reaching the exit was a very joyful one, and the warm sun shining on us made us feel both delighted and refreshed!

Perhaps the part of the trip that I had most difficulty with was dealing with spiders. I am really afraid of spiders and there were a lot of them in the mines. Despite that, mining was still the best activity I took part in at Bala.

Maggie – F3