Ardvreck’s annual sixth form leadership and teamwork challenge is designed to measure and nurture the Guts, Resilience, Initiative and Tenacity of all the children entering their last year at the school. This year, once again, the challenge was held over the first weekend of the new academic year with the intention of encouraging the children to bond,
to work together and to respect each other in order to lead the rest of the school successfully.
Straight after lunch on Friday afternoon, the children loaded the van and boarded minibuses bound for the shores of Loch Tay where, on arrival, they pitched the school’s bell tents. Whilst the Headmaster fired up our mobile pizza oven, the children explored the grounds and some staff drove minibuses to the end of the big challenge which faced the group the following day. Everyone devoured delicious, home-made pizzas before retiring to sleeping bags for an early night.
After what seemed like just forty winks, the slumbering campers were rudely awoken at 5am by the generator, thoughtfully kick-started by our very own Head of Geography and outdoor guru, Mr Robertson. The children filled their tummies in the giant marquee with jam sandwiches, cereal bars and fruit and loaded their rucksacks with hearty packed lunches. It was time for the adventure to begin: Mission Munro – in fact, six of them! Mr Fox-Pitt shuttled the groups across the loch by speed boat just before day break. The sight of the pale moon gazing on the still water as we travelled in awed silence was very moving.
Meall Greigh was our first Munro and the ascent from the loch was long and steep. We eventually made it to the summit in just under three hours and posed for our first photograph. Number one: bagged! After the shock of the initial ascent, the group fell into a good walking rhythm and in no time we were at the summit of Munro number two: Meall Garbh. We enjoyed lunch in the saddle between Munros two and three before tackling an exciting scramble to the peak of An Stuc which most of the children voted to be their favourite peak of the day due to its fantastic conical summit and craggy ascent. The views down over Loch Na Cat directly below and to Ben Nevis to the north west were also particularly stunning. Mr Kipps added further excitement when he pulled out a drone from his rucksack and flew it high above, capturing our adventure from a very different perspective!
A great measure of GRIT is when limbs begin to ache, blisters appear, fatigue sets in and there are still 3 Munros to go! Ben Lawers, Beinn Ghlas and Meall Corranaich were all conquered by this feisty gang of twelve year olds, not just through the determination of each individual but through the mutual support, encouragement and respect of the entire group. After 11 hours on the hoof and six Munros in the bag, fish and chips from the van at Killin have never tasted so good! We returned to camp and ended the day with hot chocolate and marshmallows around the campfire on the shores of Loch Tay.
Sunday was quite a slow start but, once out of our tents, we were soon wide awake due to a spot of wild swimming in the loch with Mrs Kinge. On returning to the marquee, shivering, a storm of a breakfast was awaiting us cooked up by the Headmaster which included sausages, bacon and eggs. After a group effort on the washing-up, we were given a very informative lesson on whittling, axe-handling and fire building from the Headmaster. The group was divided into four teams, with each member of the team assigned to one specific job in the camp fire-making process. The teams dispersed to choose the location of their fires and were then judged by all the teachers, over a period of two hours, on a long list of criteria. The task culminated in the teams cooking their own lunch over the fires they had built.
After lunch the heavens opened just in time for us to strike camp! We packed all our very soggy equipment back into the van and set off in convoy, pleasantly weary and proud, singing all the way back to school.
Enormous thanks to the endlessly enthusiastic and generous Fox-Pitts for hosting the entire weekend, shuttling the party across the loch at dawn, providing back-up on the hills and for being so passionate about this memory making weekend! (Mrs Kinge)
To watch a video of the weekend please click our You Tube link (viewable only from a pc)