On Thursday 13th October 20 Court Fields students from Years 7, 8 and 9 went to Snowdonia for the school’s annual residential trip.
On Friday 14th the group took on the challenge of scrambling up the North Ridge of Tryfan. For many students this was the first time that they had visited North Wales and also the first time they had climbed a mountain. The group were accompanied by 3 experienced members of staff who were all very impressed by the team work and resilience shown by the students.
Maya Thompson-Gardiner and Micaela Sellick take up the story
At the top of Tryfan we stopped for a summit photo at two large rocks named Adam & Eve and Mr Jenkins entertained the group with some mountain poetry before we headed down the south ridge and back to the Ogwen valley. On the walk back to the minibus the group found a sheep with its head caught in a wire fence but Mr Greenfield came to the rescue and managed to free the animal. Back at the centre we were provided with hot chocolate and Mrs Robertson’s cake and later on an evening meal before an early night to rest our tired legs.
We were up early the next day to explore the Rhiw Back slate mines and find out more about the history of mining in North Wales. We discovered that North Wales slate was once exported around the world as a roofing material but these days’ slate has some more unusual uses such as bulking powder in makeup and toothpaste!
Our underground trip started with a paddle through a flooded cavern on an inflatable boat. Next we went on a zip wire across another pool which was great fun. Wherever we walked there was water and the adults in the group had to duck their heads to avoid some of the low roofs. After the zip wire we abseiled into another chamber and stopped to eat our lunch. We then climbed up another level and found out more about the dangers of being a miner and what it was like having to work by candlelight without the benefit of any of the modern safety equipment.
Whilst we were underground we watched a film that was projected on to the side of the chamber about the work of some Welsh miners this was one of the earliest Welsh language films ever made.
Our final challenge was to exit the mine by climbing metal steps up a waterfall which was very exciting. We were lucky because during our time in Wales there was no rain and it was sunny so there wasn’t as much water running down as usual so we didn’t get as wet!
After saying goodbye to our instructors we headed back to the centre to wash the slate off our faces, pack the buses and start the long drive back to Somerset.
Many thanks to Mr Jenkins, Mr Dickson, Mr Greenfield and Mrs Robertson for organising the trip and looking after us while we were away.
Through their commitment in training the Year 7 Rugby Squad were able to field 2 full teams of 12 in a recent Central Ventue Event at Bishop Fox’s.
The teams played against the other schools in the area and showed bags of enthusiasum and commitment. Both teams should be proud of what they have achieved. For many of the students this was their first experience of playing competivtive rugby. Definitely some boys to watch out for in the future.
In their first match of the academic year, Court Fields School under 16’s came away with an emphatic 52-0 victory over Preston School (Yeovil). Noticeable performances from Finley Pocock with 5 tries and Jai-Leigh Sears who was outstanding in defence.
Left to Right (Back): Ryan Henwood, Jackson Wilkinson, Will Hodgeson, Cristian Satu, Finley Pocock, Rowan Blazeby, James Blackmore, Rohan Poulsom, Harry Roberts, Josh Thorne.
(Front):- Jai-Leigh Sears, Jayden Bowerman-King, Corey Perry-Jones, Freddie Coles, Harry Hanaford (captian) Ethan Osbon, Travis Baker-Way, Jack Payne
On Saturday 11th June 24 Year 9’s and 10’s were up and about early, in school by 7.30 pm, for the start of their Bronze DofE Assessment Expedition. We set off in two minibuses to Simonsbath on Exmoor and met our assessor who weighed our bags to check they weren’t too heavy! Despite them feeling very loaded, they were all about a quarter body weight or less, which is a DofE requirement. Then we set off in four teams, going in different directions. The assessor checked on us (and our navigation skills) at the source of the River Exe and then we were off again. It was one of those annoying weather days when every few minutes it would rain briefly and then get too hot again for waterproofs, but the scenery was great, with some very steep hills – at least the worst one was downhill! From about 4 pm on wards groups started arriving at the camp in Malmsmead, and once again the assessor was there checking on our camp craft skills and watching us cook up tea (pasta and boil in the bag rations being the preferred options). It was a nice night and we had a campfire and chatted until about 11 pm, when everyone suddenly realised there was a 6 am start the next day and went to bed quickly.
Sunday started with a bit of a downpour, wetting the tents nicely, but we had breakfast and had all the tents down and were off again before 8 am. Once again we had different routes, with two groups following parts of the coastal path and others the Lyn Rivers. Eventually we arrived at the final destination – Lynmouth. There we had a debrief with the assessor who picked out strengths and weaknesses in our teams – thankfully more strengths. We all passed our expedition.
This year, for the first time in a number of years, students at Court Fields are working towards their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award. The four Silver teams have been out and about doing their training – map reading on Exmoor and putting up tents, cooking and practising some very cold outdoor first aid. Hopefully if they ever really need to put a teacher into the recovery position, they now know how not to roll them down a hill by accident!
The Silver teams were also out on a three day practice expedition on Exmoor on the weekend of the 11-13th March. Four groups set off from different points and made their way to Cloud Farm campsite by the beautiful Badgworthy Water, the last group arriving just as darkness dropped in. The weather was kind to us but next morning the tents were coated in ice and could probably have stood up without any poles. After a breakfast (cooked on gas stoves by the students, just like their previous night’s meal) everything was packed up for another hike across the moors, this time to Porlock. The third day saw everyone heading off on different stretches of the coastal path towards Minehead.
A number of lessons were learned for the next camp – not over packing backpacks, thinking carefully about food, being tidy in camp and taking time over route decisions. However everyone did really well for a first time out camping with all the gear needed for 3 days and the only people who seemed to get really lost were some of the staff helpers!
On Saturday 7th November Mr Dickson and Mr Greenfield went for a hike on Dartmoor with a group of Yr10 students as part of their Ten Tors training. The weather in the morning was very wet and everyone had to wear full waterproofs to protect themselves from the elements. After practicing putting up tents in the relative shelter or Fernworthy forest the sun eventually came out and we were able to enjoy our sandwiches on the top of Kes Tor with views of Castle Drogo in the distance.
On the weekend of 13th-14th June, 31 students in Year 10 took part in the expedition for their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award.
The training for this began in November and included meetings on map reading and navigation techniques, first aid and camp craft. Everyone also successfully completed a practice expedition on the Quantocks. The students were in five teams and planned their own routes on Exmoor. They had to be entirely self-sufficient for the weekend, carrying all their camping equipment, food and changes of clothes. Luckily the weather was a lot better than on the practice and wet weather gear was only needed briefly.
A record 10 teams and 40 students from Court Fields took part in the Rotary run Exmoor Challenge on Saturday 2nd May. The students have completed three practice walks to get to this stage and, armed with maps, first aid kits, emergency equipment and the blue Court Fields Challenge T-shirt, set off from Dulverton school at varying times from 9 to 10.30 am. The weather wasn’t kind to them but they did brilliantly. The challenge is a complex one, with seven key checkpoints and points deducted for arriving too late OR too early at them – the aim is to walk the 16 miles in exactly five and a half hours.
The results are available on the Exmoor Challenge website, but we did really well with two teams coming 3rd and 6th overall (out of 145 teams who started) and one team coming 2nd in the all girl category.
Well done to everyone who took part.
On Friday 20th March our Ten Tors teams went to Dartmoor for their first taste of overnight camping and carrying a large rucksack. The group set off at 3pm and arrived at their wild country campsite at 6.30. Tents were quickly put up and cookers were soon on and producing a variety of tasty meals. As the sun set the temperatures dropped quickly and cooking had to be finished by torch light.
After a cold night the group were up early but still had to cook breakfast, pack up all their equipment before setting off to do another 20km. The weather on the Saturday was excellent and both groups demonstrated some good navigation skills and are looking forward to the next camp in April.
A group of thirty-five year eight, nine and ten students from Court Fields were fortunate enough to be able travel to Austria last week to go and enjoy the fabulous skiing and mountain scenery that it had to offer. We set off in our coach on Friday evening with a long journey ahead and the excitement and anticipation aboard was amazing. No one could wait to get going! By midnight on Friday we had made it to the ferry and began our ‘voyage’ across the channel towards France. From there we would go through Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland before finally making it to Austria. The amount of snow and mountains visible from the coach windows grew and grew as the journey went on and a steady supply of films and food kept all on-board entertained and happy.
By Saturday evening, we pulled into the drive of the Aktivhotel Ederleiten in the town of Bruck in the Ziller valley. The hotel and view were masked by the night and as we made our way inside we were greeted with a much needed hot meal before going to find our rooms. It was all very welcoming and friendly and we were delighted to get to bed and get some real rest!