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This year the planned expeditions for Forms 6, 7 and 8 went out of the window with the Covid restrictions but government changes meant we had enough time to put plan B into action.

Sunninghill has developed a good relationship with Rock and Rapid over the years and they were delighted to welcome us back to North Devon. A couple of the instructors can still name children from Sunninghill that are now in Year 11! I have stolen some words from Mrs Fernley who wrote an account of the Form 7 trip. This gives a feel for all three residentials which followed a similar programme.

Last week Form 7 went on expedition to Exmoor. Our first stop was the Great Western Canal, where we paddle-boarded and canoed for several sunny hours.  The main attraction seemed to be pushing each other and staff off the raft! I, however, somehow managed to leave the canal unscathed. We arrived at the South Molton Rock and Rapid Adventure Centre later on Wednesday afternoon. The evening’s activity was a session of silly Olympics on the field.

On Thursday morning we drove to Croyde for a surfing lesson – once again we were favoured by glorious sunshine.  I was impressed by the skill and style of several young surfers who showed grace and flair. I was also pleased to see everyone persisting until we were all exhausted.  After lunch, in slightly cooler conditions, we went coasteering a little further along the bay. Once again, the whole group worked together, encouraging and helping one another up the rocks.

Friday morning was spent back at base, on the climbing walls and at the bouldering centre, and practising archery. Now truly exhausted, we packed the bus.

The children have been reflecting on their time away and the following are some thoughts and advice from the experienced travellers:

‘Take every chance you are given. You will see it’s definitely worth it.’

‘A courage growing, exciting and amazing adventure.’

‘It was so fun to discover the other side of people.’

‘Taking risks is the stitching to a large quilt of success. It holds it all together.’

After hearing their child’s stories one parent simple summed it up as ‘Brilliant!’

Thanks to the team who made this such an unforgettable experience

Ian Stazicker

Author Ian Stazicker

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