It was an early start for a dozen Year 8s on a chilly morning in late November, as they set off for a canoe journey on Ullswater, Lake District. This was the latest in the series of exciting Outdoor Education opportunities on offer to students here at Emmanuel College.
With kit sorted and the boats lashed together in two rafts, our teams set off from Stybarrow Crag, into the wind, towards Glenridding. The conditions proved more challenging than expected and it took some real determination and teamwork to battle against the elements before resting by Glenridding House and planning a route across the lake to the sheltered Blowick Bay for a well earned lunch stop.
As the group ate, the sun came out and the wind dropped, allowing students to refine their skills and practise paddling the canoes in pairs in the shelter of the bay. Whilst some gathered round the fire to toast marshmallows, others challenged themselves to paddle standing up, and one or two had a go at paddling solo.
Everyone had to work together to perform a quick portage of gear and canoes across the spit of Purse Point, before reforming the rafts and paddling with renewed confidence to gather in the lee of Wall Holm Island. A last skill was learned as sails were hoisted to assist the paddle back to base.
Having learned to work with the elements rather than against them, there was just one last opportunity to put this into practice as everyone waded into the lake to cool down.