In September this year, when the sun was shining brightly, the girls in Year 7 embarked on an exciting adventure – a three-day residential trip to Ford Castle.
Ford Castle is a medieval castle set in the rolling countryside of northern Northumberland. Whilst there, we had fun – serious fun!
Upon arrival, we explored our dormitories – each one is named after an important local person or place, for example, Delaval, the surname of a prestigious Northumberland family. The current owners of Ford Castle are the Joicey family who purchased the estate in 1907 and used the castle as their home until the start of the 2nd World War. In 1956 Ford Castle opened as a residential centre for young people, offering outdoor education courses and activities. Whilst there, we threw ourselves, quite literally, into a range of different ones.
From breakfast to bedtime, everyone was kept busy. We zipped down wires, fired bows and arrows, tackled an assault course, climbed Jacob’s ladder, learned the art of falconry and paddled canoes upstream on the River Till.
“I liked doing the assault course – a set of fun challenges designed to test everything – our brains, our nerves, our strength and our ability to stay clean and dry. The latter proved the hardest to achieve – we all ended up covered in mud and ready for a hot shower!” (Lucy Walton)
“I loved the initiative exercises – they were about brains not brawn! We needed to think hard, communicate effectively and work well as a team to solve a set of physical challenges involving tyres.” (Sarah White)
“Whizzing down the zip wire was the best part. I tried to hang upside down!” (Nuha Chowdhury)
We were entertained in the evenings, too. One evening we completed a treasure hunt in the dark and on the second night, we had a disco.
“The music was surprisingly good and let us tell you, the teachers CAN dance! But, when they were ready for bed we were still on the dancefloor!” (Mishka Bari-Jones, Ella Kovuk, Laylah Yazdani and Rosie Thomas)
On our final day, some groups explored the castle, its grounds and its history, looking at the medieval dungeons and the local church and graveyard (shudder) while others learned the art of falconry and met some feathered friends. When the last of the canoeists returned, it was time to say ‘goodbye’ to the amazing instructors and pack our very muddy clothes into our suitcases.
“The whole trip was brilliant and it was great to make some new friends.” (Olivia Harper and Gabriella Spann)