They said it couldn't be done: "Take a whole year-group camping?!" but Mrs. Helm believed it could be done and after months of preparation the dream was realised.
The idea for a camp was concieved in a corridor by Mrs. Helm before Christmas. In a year with trips to France, America, Iceland, Russia and China (to name just some) Mrs. Helm heard a student say that they could never afford to go on trips like these and so year 9 summer camp was born.
With years of experience as a guide leader, Mrs. Helm set straight to the task and this was the result...
Possibly one of the most difficult tasks that faced the camp was catering for everybody - but we had a secret weapon in food technology teacher Mrs. Hughes who planned the cooking and we enjoyed chicken curry, tomato pasta with a choice of additions and, of course, beef stew.
The local Tesco were warned in advance of our arrival, but nothing could prepare their customers for the sight of BRGS teachers walking through the shop with trolleys filled to the brim with bananas. One innocent customer assumed that Mr. Edwards, who was carefully filling his trolley with bread, must have been stacking the shelves and took bread straight from his basket!
The sheer scale of food eaten was amazing and year 9 collected for flowers at the end of the camp to thankMrs. Hughes and Mrs. Hutton who had done all the cooking in stifling heat and humidity.
In addition to the teachers on camp, students welcomed back some of their former prefects who had volunteered to help even though they have now finished at BRGS: James Edwards, Kieth Lavell, Matthew McKenna, Oliver Kelly, Graeme King, Andrew King, John Syers, Neil McRobert, Jenny Corrin, Daniel Bower. They were joined by some current sixth formers who also offered their invaluable help: Sally Shufflebotham, Kerry Parkinson, Jason Pawluk.
The final day sports events were organised by the prefects whose time and efforts were much appreciated by both staff and students. It was great to see such involvement and commitment from ex-BRGS students who are keeping their ties to the school as alive as ever.
There was a wide range of activities available that were run either by staff and prefects, Waddow Camp or Alternative Adventure. It meant that after the first night's sleep (or lack of it!) the remaining nights were relatively quiet after the day's exertions. Activities included: climbing, abseiling, boulder walling, shooting, archery, mountain biking, grass sledging, kayaking, swimming, sports, team-building exercises, volleyball, table tennnis amongst others dreamt up in students/prefects spare time!
Nestling in the trees and hills in the distance, the climbing wall may not have looked particularly big, but as soon as you stood at the foot of the concrete face with the prospect of climbing up it or abseiling down, it was a different matter!
It may have been slow getting up the face, but coming down was a lot quicker. Here we can see Kate and Joanne showing how it's done.
Different to climbing vertically, boulder walling requires you to traverse (move horizontally) around a wall. Some thought that this looked easy at first, but because you are not allowed to place your feet above the red line there are some difficult choices to make. Each person on the wall is accompanied by a buddy who spots them at all times. It really tests the strength of your fingers which take a lot of your weight in this activity.
It was a stunning setting for the kayaking and perfect conditions. Mr. Morris, a keen sailor, made this his first activity on camp and quickly became acquainted with a number of year 9 students by name as they made it their mission to get him wet!
The sun sparkled across the water as pupils and teachers raced their way up and down the river that makes its way to the weir that can be seen from Waddow Hall (see panorama at top of page).
On the last day Archery was replaced with shooting at Bowley scout camp where the clinbing took place.
Volleyball could be played at any time and with the stunning views across the valley from the court it proved a popular activity.
With such a large campsite the opportunities for mountain biking were great.
Of course, the activity was made much more fun by Polish activity instructor, Peter, whose stamina on a bike was second-to-none. Who can forget his immortal words upon reaching the summit of an incredibly steep hill: "We are ready? Then, let's go!"
Teams rotated around a number of exercises that included Spider's Web, crossing a radioactive swamp, retrieving a cannister of secrets from a minefield, crossing a series of perilous stepping stones and more!
Groups learned a lot about themselves and working successfully as a group.
With their caterpillar tracks and ability to be steered by the rider, these grass toboggans were a great piece of engineering. All that is needed is now is a way of getting back to the top of the hill without walking up!
Fortunately we were blessed with some of the best weather that we had had all year for the duration of the camp which meant that sleeping under canvas was an enjoyable experience.
On the final night at camp there was a karaoke and disco as Waddow vibrated to the beats of the BRGS marquee.
Highlights had to include two of the duets. Mr. Edwards and Mrs. Heywood proved that they will make an excellent partnership as Head and Assistant Head of Year 10 next year! Next on the list had to be the unique performance by Miss Johnson and Martin Peel which truly stunned the audience (although not perhaps quite as they had hoped!).
What BRGS event could be complete without a disco? The mixture of too much sun, dehydration and the evening meal of beef stew meant that some people were lucky enough to engage in multi-coloured yawns! Mmmm!
Af ter the tough exercise done during the day, lunch and dinnertime took on a new significance. Filling up with liquid to avoid dehydrating was also very important.
Whenever possible people just relaxed - glad of the chance to sit down. Here are a couple of the (rare) quieter moments.
The Last Day
The final day was organised by the sixth form to free the staff to check the site. A range of interform activities took place and prizes were awarded at the end.