Year 8 Bushcraft Weekend

6-8 September 2013

Report by Amy B, Year 8 

Last Friday, the Year 8s went on a team-bonding experience to Oxfordshire with The Bushcraft Company. 

The trip officially started at 2.00pm when we received a motivational talk from Mr Mitchell.  We then filed onto the minibus, along with Mrs Baker and Mr McCormack.  The journey flew by and was spent chatting and laughing.

When we arrived, the Bushcraft team - Alice, Richard and Ash - greeted us.  This was followed by a twenty-minute walk to our camp.

Our camp was amazing - situated in the heart of the forest.  It was brilliant for playing games like 'Predator' in the dark for there were so many trees, hiding was easy.

We then met Loupie, our cook. She was really nice and welcoming and her food was so tasty!

We were shown to our tents, which were canvas bell tents and very spacious and cosy.

At around 7.00pm we ate dinner which was Spaghetti Bolognaise, garlic bread and cheese followed by apple crumble for dessert.  It was simply amazing.

After that, we played a few games in the dark, then settled down with hot chocolate and marshmallows to listen to a story. 

The next morning, we woke up early and had breakfast which was bacon, eggy-bread and beans.  This was, again, delicious.  We then split up into two tribes: the Hatters and the Nut-Pies.  In our tribes, we learnt how to build and light fires, then had a race to see who could build the best fire.  As it turned out, the Nut-Pies (which consisted of Amy, George, Freddie, Michael, Jack, Ollie P, Ollie N, Elizabeth and Matthew) won!

For lunch, we had pizza cooked for us in a pizza oven, which resulted in the occasional frying of a pizza, but nobody seemed to mind.  They were all equally fantastic.  After we had stuffed ourselves with pizza, we had a break.  Then we set off for some archery.  To get to archery, we walked for about 45 minutes through the forest which was very interesting as we learnt about fires and tree types.  We were each allowed 3-4 arrows at archery, while we played some 'sentence' games with Ash, much to everyone's despair!

When we arrived back at camp, a big salmon was waiting to be prepared for our dinner.  So we were shown by Richard how to prepare it and were able to help out by taking out the spine of the fish.  By the time we had done everything it was about 5.00pm, so we played some games while the salmon was being cooked over the fire. 

While dinner was just finishing cooking, we learnt how to camouflage objects in the wild, which was great fun.  We then painted our faces brown so we could hide better in the dark.

Dinner turned out to be exceptionally tasty and was eaten enthusiastically.  Afterwards, we played a few games in the dark then, as the night before, settled down with hot chocolate and listened to a story. 

The next day we had another early start for we had much to fit in between 7.30am and 3.00pm.  Breakfast was really scrumptious - bacon sandwiches and bannock bread, a sort of Scottish donut. 

We then revised how to light fires, then played some more games which was harder now it was light.  As it started to get cooler, there were many quick dashes to the tents for extra layers - we were very glad of the fire!

Before lunch, we split up into our tribes and went on a hunt through the forest for certain supplies we needed to bring to our camp, such as special types of leaves from trees.  This resulted in a surprising draw as the Nut-Pies were very behind at the beginning, but we caught up!

Lunch was a barbecue - burger and buns.  This was wolfed down by many hungry pupils! 

After lunch, we were taught first aid.  We learnt what to do if we saw someone in need of help in an emergency - danger, response, airways, bones and secure.

By then, unfortunately, it was time to say goodbye, pack up and leave.  The hike back to our coach seemed to go by very quickly and, before we knew what was happening, we were back on the coach headed for Colchester. 

Overall, it was a really great trip and I would like to say thanks to Mrs Baker and Mr McCormack for coming with us.