“What a total ripper of a day. Every year I think how can this possibly be more fun than last year – and then it is!”
This comment from an Ardvreck parent encapsulates the sentiments of everyone who participated in The ‘Ard Challenge 2017 on Saturday. The ‘Ard Challenge is an 11 mile yomp through a Scottish Glen in which the entire Ardvreck community participates – pupils, siblings, parents, friends and staff. It culminates with an enormous carnival and celebration on the shores of Loch Tay!
After a 6:30am breakfast for the boarders, and despite the frightful forecast, the teams mustered in the Crabbie Hall at 7:30am. Lunches and score cards were distributed, final equipment and medical checks were undertaken and, before long, the teams were being transported in a fleet of Ardvreck and Glenalmond minibuses to the start of the ‘Ard Challenge at Loch Freuchie, Conichan or Auchnafree, depending on the age of the teams. All along the route, the teams were challenged by various command tasks on which they were judged and marked for their teamwork and resilience. These included the Gutter Ball, the Toxic Waste Team Move, the Blind Trail Course and the Matrix.
The teams were all thrilled to arrive at Dunan, the highest point of the route, where the rifle shooting challenge took place. Whilst their fellow team members shot at targets outside, those waiting inside the bothy were able to rest their weary limbs on sofas and dry out a little before the roaring, log burning stove, whilst enjoying a comforting cup of hot soup.
Once each team managed to drag itself away from the cosy bothy, the remainder of the route was all downhill, with just one further stop at the Recognition Task. On arrival at their final destination, the teams were delighted to behold an exceptionally jolly jamboree in full swing on the stunning shores of Loch Tay. Further tasks had to be completed before the teams could submit their score cards to the adjudicators and these included the Inflatable Assault Course, Den Building, Bread Making, Whittling, Paint Balling and Archery.
Meanwhile, a fabulous feast was being rustled up in the giant marquee. The Headmaster was churning out scores of freshly made pizza from the school’s mobile pizza oven which also doubles as a BBQ from which the Friends of Ardvreck were producing award winning burgers kindly donated by the Galloways. Delicious salads and outrageous chocolate cake completed the culinary experience and parents were able to enjoy a cup of cheer from the barrel of real ale or indulge in a glass or two of fizz!
No gathering is complete without the bagpipes and, as the sun sank and the gigantic bonfire was lit, we were delighted to sing Happy Birthday to Imogen L and Mrs Arbuthnott before the final announcement was made: huge congratulations to the winning team of the ‘Ard Challenge 2017, Schiehallion, captained by Hamish Tuffee.
This exceptional event is the brainchild of David Fox-Pitt who hosted and masterminded proceedings. The fox-Pitts’ generosity is immeasurable and we owe them a vast debt of gratitude. Tremendous thanks are also due to Glenalmond College, various members of the Friends of Ardvreck, a multitude of parents and, of course, the incredibly committed Ardvreck staff.
What very lucky children to be pupils at such a cracking little school! (Mrs Ali Kinge)
To watch the SUPERB ‘Ard Challenge video (produced by our gappies Miss Burling and Miss MacLeod) please click here. Are you ‘Ard Enough?
There are 100s of photographs to enjoy. There are four galleries, so please do scroll down to find each gallery and do remember that there can be many pages within each gallery (numbered at the bottom of the initial gallery page):
Photographs from Mr Gore: