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Snowdonia Adventure Training 2024

Posted: 24th April 2024

students under a waterfall

After the easter bunny had visited it was time to burn off those calories for CCF cadets and staff as they embarked on adventurous training in Snowdonia. Adventure training is designed to take cadets outside their comfort zone. Its aim is developing leadership skills, resilience, decision making, courage, physical fitness, managing risk and most of all teamwork. This was achieved under the watchful eye of CCF school staff and our Boulder Adventure instructors in progressive and safely managed training.

After the long trip cadets safely arrived at their accommodation for the week where they grouped together to share rooms, perhaps their first challenge living in a small space with their peers.  Mr O’Connor our resident chef for the week, set his own bar really high with a meal ready for when the coach full of hungry cadets had arrived. That evening was a brief for the outline of the week followed by evening activities which also included the start of our “Traitors” game inspired by the TV series which would run every evening.

Wednesday saw the first day of activities with the cadets broken down into small groups and would disappear for the day with the relevant staff. On the agenda for the next few days rotation was a small drive to Trefriw, a hotspot for a Gorge scrambling. Once changed into wetsuits, buoyancy aids, helmets and their game faces, cadets would take a small walk to the bottom of what could only be described as lots of waterfalls. Their task would be to get to the top, and in their way was lots of rapid free flowing water, undulating rock, and rock pools.  Cadets had to work as a team to help each other to scramble and navigate over, under and through the obstacles that mother nature was putting in their way. Now and again our instructors stopped us at some unique points where cadets had a chance to show off some backflips or other improvised ways of jumping into deep rock pools.  The Gorge scramble really tested the cadets leadership qualities, communication and definitely took most out of their comfort zone.

Other activities throughout the week involved rock climbing, a new venture for some and others a chance to test themselves on a different challenging rock face. Once again cadets had to work as a team and place their trust in one another as they took it in turns in belaying one another as a point of the climber’s safety.  Our instructors set up three different routes and if that wasn’t enough, some of the cadets tried a one-handed climb. Once at the top of the cliff face and on a nice clear day there were some stunning views of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) in the distance.

Not far from the rock climbers was on old slate quarry where another group of cadets would test their nerve on an abseil.  With roughly 100ft drop into the quarry once cadets had braved stepping over the cliff face and into an into an unnatural position dangling that high up made their way down to the bottom. Where many had failed before as they experienced wobbly legs at the top, we are proud to say that everyone was brave enough and attempted the abseil.

If being on dry land didn’t float your boat, then cadets had a chance to get their feet wet on Lake Llyn Padarn.  An amazing spot where we had use of canoes and kayaks and cadets also got a chance to put their imagination and building skills to the test as they were given tools and equipment to build their own raft that would stay afloat.  Competitiveness sometime brings the best out of people, so they were obviously put into equal teams and raced against each other, which entertaining under the watchful eye of staff and instructors.

Due to weather warnings we had to swap some of the days around and instead of hiking up Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) later in the week we tried to beat Storm Kathleen.  However, mother nature had other ideas about our plans.  After a kit check in the morning, we drove to a nearby car park and proceeded on our hike along the Pyg trail hoping that would lead us to the summit.  This trail was chosen as it was more sheltered from prevailing winds, however the higher we climbed the stronger the winds became.  This then became a challenge in itself as we all tried to stay on our feet and not get swept away from the wind which was now reaching +70mph.  There was a point of no return and unfortunately for safety reasons, where the Pyg trail meets the Miners track we had to turn back down.  Although the cadets never got to the summit, they were still hugely tested due to the conditions and did extraordinary well.

More of the same the next day with a rotation of our activities but still the winds were high which then forced our hand for the final day where the programme had to change, but some would say for the better.  We had a surprisingly interesting day with a morning visit to National Slate Museum, the cinema room enlightened us with the history with the area and conditions people used to work in.  This was followed by a slate splitting demonstration by a former slate minor.  After a tea break, we then proceeded with a low-level hike but visiting some of the old quarries and the disused buildings that still stand proudly hidden in the Welsh mountains.

Despite mother natures best efforts, a fun week was had by all, and the cadets did tremendously well and worked hard as a team throughout the week.  Special thanks to all the staff for their support during the adventure training with special thanks going out to Dr Smale and Mr O’Connor.

Photos of the trip can be viewed on our Flickr album below.

Snowdonia Adventure Training 2024

Categories: Senior School Trips