Derwent Hill Trip Blog

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Tuesday, 28th June 2016

Good morning from Derwent Hill!

We arrived safely yesterday and since then there seems to have been absolutely no time in which to write this! So busy!

We timed out arrival perfectly yesterday, just in time for a delicious lunch – I can tell we’re not going to go hungry this week! After that we all attended a meeting to find out dorm rooms, groups and activities for the remainder of the day. We unpacked and had a go with putting the sheets on our beds – with varying degrees of success!

After that it was time to do what we came here for… get out in the beautiful countryside! My group explored the nearby hills and enjoyed some spectacular views over the countryside and River Derwent and tried to decide which of the hills to explore on our Big Country Walk later in the week.

Right now the children are getting ready for breakfast after a fairly good night’s sleep – I think everyone will be well and truly worn out by today’s activities which include the death swing for my group (eeeek), canoeing for Mrs Fowler’s group and gorge walking for Mr Kitching’s group.

Check back later for more updates and hopefully some photographs.

Wednesday, 29th June 2016

Good evening from Derwent Hill!
What an action packed two days we’ve had! Absolutely no time to blog at all!

Miss Burns’ Group

Yesterday my group faced so many fears by grappling with the famous DEATH SWING! Deep within the trees in the groups which surround the house lies the much-discussed and greatly feared feat of engineering which is named…The Big Swing (which doesn’t sound nearly as fearsome as the Death Swing… so we’ll just go with that). Well parents, bravery was in high supply yesterday as the children kitted themselves up with helmets and harnesses. In my biggest show of professionalism to date, I disguised my all of my fears… shaking legs, etc and saddled up. The children were fantastic, leaping up the ladder to climb the nine metres to ledge of the swing with ease and enthusiasm. Leaping from the ledge surely would provoke bloodcurdling screams of mixed fear and glee… but not from my group! Silently they leaped from the ledge as their friends cheered them on. It was truly wonderful to see the children supporting each other and conquering their fears.

After a fabulous morning my group headed off for a gorge walk. We entered a fast flowing rocky stream kitted out in wetsuits and wellies and progressed upstream. The teams had to work together informing each other of the best routes to take and of any hazards in their way. Once again, the group approached this task with boundless enthusiasm and demonstrated such impressive leadership qualities! It’s always hard to please everyone, but so far, Derwent Hill are getting 10/10 from the children for every activity!

Mr Kitching’s Group

Yesterday morning my group had the task of orienteering, which kept the children within the boundaries of Derwent Hill. At first the children had to search for small sets of numbers in the house using a map and a key. This progressed to finding objects hidden in or behind trees around the centre estate. Year six used their excellent map reading skills to work out where each item was and note it down. Finally they had to search a much wider area taking into account roads and buildings to find a series of letters. The children finished the task well and displayed excellent team work and enthusiasm throughout the morning.

After working so hard as a team they then experienced the excitement of gorge walking. The children were taken to a gorge usually reserved for senior school children and they were really up for the challenge! As a group, the children were faced with many obstacles to overcome. They had to negotiate gullies, waterfalls and whirlpools which they all were all very successful at. They had a fabulous experience with many overcoming personal goals, and all said it was the quickest hour and twenty minutes they had ever experienced (time flies when you’re having fun!)

Well everyone, that was just a small insight into some fantastic activities we’ve experienced so far! Check back for more updates soon!


We’ve had another two action packed days at Derwent Hill. Not sure if I’ve already mentioned just how stunning the views are from the bedroom windows, but I know the children have loved waking up to see the lovely lawns with the many bunny rabbits grazing there. We’ll definitely miss it when we go.

What have we been up to then? Well, yesterday we had… (how can I put this) variable weather…! Thankfully Derwent Hill have some amazing wetsuits (which they call tomato suits) and wellies so the weather is never a problem – thankfully they come in adult sizes too! Our main activity yesterday was canoeing – quite tricky given the conditions, however did my group moan? Not once!!! Which obviously meant I couldn’t moan when Brandon kept flicking the water in my face, haha! We paddled out over the beautiful Derwent Water taking in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains which were partially lost within the clouds. Every so often we paused for a rest, a chat or a little game so we could rest our tired rowing arms. All in all a very enjoyable experience which challenged the children, required group motivation and encouraged them to work as a team…which they all did a super job with as we ended up getting back to shore!

Yesterday evening the staff arranged team challenges for the children which once again built on many of the skills the children have been utilising this week: teamwork, effective communication, motivation and challenge. The children worked together to complete various timed challenges and were given a score out of ten for performance and out of ten for effort. My team did exceptionally well with this, gaining many effort points. We came second, with the winning team only three points ahead!

It was a very special evening last night too, there were three birthdays! Our lovely Oliver turned 11, lovely Katie from Dame Dorothy turned 11 also and our lovely Mrs Fenwick turned 21 (seriously, check her ID!). Derwent Hill’s amazing chef created a fabulous sponge, biscuit and marshmallow delight of a cake for everyone to share. We sang happy birthday to the special people and enjoyed eating cake and drinking juice together. Afterwards we decided to have some circle time and had some lovely chats while Oliver kindly handed out sweets for everyone. It was a very special day and I know the birthday boys and girls really enjoyed themselves.


This morning we woke up refreshed after a lovely long sleep, ready to face the day ahead. I had some mixed feelings about how today’s activity would pan out with my group… mountain climbing would either be an extremely enjoyable challenge or a struggle to try and entice 11 children up a very high mountain…! Thankfully the weather was on our side and everyone was in high spirits – maybe something to do with the exquisite breakfast we’d filled ourselves with!

Negotiating a mountain is by no means easy. Standing at the bottom and looking up and towards the path we were faced with was intimidating to say the least! Thankfully we were well equipped for our trek, mountain boots, tomato coats, hats, gloves, hoodies, jumpers… you get the idea! The children loved every moment and it was an absolute pleasure to watch them encourage and help each other, I was filled with pride…and definitely didn’t almost cry… not at all…!!!!! Lunch at the top of the mountain was a special moment, the children chatted about how happy they were that they’d conquered the mountain and I took photos to prove what they’d accomplished (bare with us as we try and get them uploaded!). Not surprisingly, the journey down the mountain felt far easier than the journey up. We stopped every now and again at points of interest: medicinal plants, larger than usual caterpillars, a rather friendly frog, brave sheep, a mining area…to name but a few! We had an excellent day and really felt like we’d accomplished a lot!

Right now the children are enjoying their final night, we’ve had free time and are now settling down to a quiz…Mrs Fenwick isn’t making this easy either!

It’s been a very enjoyable week at Derwent Hill, possibly the best part for me (apart from the Death Swing) was seeing the children really working together, supporting each other, looking after each other and developing their independence! I’m sure when they return they’ll remember these skills and be leaping up at the dinner table to clear it for you and keeping their bedrooms spotless!

I imagine the children cannot wait to see you all tomorrow and we look forward to seeing you when we pull up to the school gates.

Goodnight from Derwent Hill :)

Showing 11 comments
  • Gemma Viveash

    Hi all! Hope everyone is settling in and your journey went well – make sure you have a marvellous week! Xxxxxxx Brodys Mam xxx

  • Debbie

    Hope you all have an amazing time. Miss u lots already Mia (but it’s nice that your room will stay tidy!). Enjoy the rest of your time away xxx

  • Donna Devine

    Hope you’s are all having an amazing time can’t wait to see all the pictures, enjoy! xxx Georgia’s Mam xxx

  • Andrea Henderson

    Hi Leon, hope you and everyone else are having fun xx Andrea (Leon Henderson’s mam)

  • Gaynor Jones-pescod

    Hope you’re all having a fab time! Can’t wait to hear all about it xx Rhys’s Mam xx

  • SImon Skinner (Harvey Skinner's Dad)

    Hello Harv, hope you’re having a great time and enjoying all the activities, did you watch the England match, very disappointing wasn’t it. Enjoy the rest of your week and look forward to you writing on the blog, take care love Dad.

  • Lisa Wilson

    Happy Birthday Oliver, hope you are having a fabulous time xx

  • Tracey Mias Loughs Mam

    Hi Mia missing you so much, hope you’re all having a great time doing all the activities. Can’t wait to see you Friday Mia love all of us xxxx

  • Mark Crossley

    Hope you’re all having a great time and behaving! Ha. Hope to see some pictures soon!

  • Joanne Hardy

    Hi Josie hope you’re having a great time, missing you loads and see you tomorrow xxx

  • Gemma Viveash

    Great to hear more updates! Gorge walking sounds fab! Enjoy every moment! Brody- we are all missing you heaps, especially Fynn. The house is very quiet (and tidy) without you! See you tomorrow xxxxxx Brodys Mam xxxx

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