The Perse School

Students go on first-ever PES Hibernation Camp

6 Feb 2015

Last weekend saw the first ever PES Wilderness Group Hibernation camp. Despite high winds, snow and temperatures dipping to below freezing, students still managed to take part in a range of activities. Students Ailis Halligan (Chief Elder) and Charity Pickup (Shaman) share their experiences of this inaugural trip.

“On Thursday 29th January, an advanced party of year ten students and staff made the journey to Bradfield Park Campsite in Bury St. Edmunds to set up camp ready for the younger students to arrive the next day. On arrival, despite the dark and cold, a tepee and a number of small quasar tents were successfully put up. The tepee is a concept brand new to Perse Outdoor Pursuits so to put them into use so soon on a camp is a huge achievement. After dinner and a briefing on the following day by staff, students were dispatched off to bed.

The next morning 25 year 7-9s descended on camp and were quickly put to work setting up sleeping tents, unpacking kit and helping with the construction of the other 3 tepees – quite a challenge in such windy weather! That evening dinner was prepared by the students in their clan tepees on Swedish fire boxes. Despite these giving off rather a lot of smoke, students still managed to cook Hoisin Duck with rice, which was greatly enjoyed by all!

Saturday dawned cold, windy and snowy. Despite the sub-zero temperatures, however, students participated in carving, bow and arrow making and archery, shelter building and even learned how to truss a pig for that night’s hog roast. These activities were enjoyed by everyone involved, archery proving to be very popular not only with students but with staff and leaders as well! That night, everyone on camp gathered round the fire in the huge ‘great hall’ tepee to enjoy a hog roast, hot chocolate and campfire songs.

The next morning proved even windier and snowier than the last so, much to the disappointment of everyone, laser paintball proved impossible. However, with all members of camp getting stuck in and working together, pack down of camp was fast and thorough and soon, two minibuses full of children and 3 vans full of equipment were on their way back to Cambridge. On arrival all kit was unpacked, cleaned and put away – a huge operation that took real teamwork and persistence. However, the task was enthusiastically embraced and finished remarkably quickly.

As student leaders, we can say we are proud of what we achieved on our first camp with Wilderness group. We very much hope that students enjoyed taking part in activities as much as we enjoyed leading them.”


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