Perse students savour Isle of Wight summer camp adventure
Year 11 pupil Jonathan Black reports on the Perse Exploration Society Ascent & Wilderness Groups’ recent Summer Camp in the Isle of Wight.
Following the end of the school year, PES Ascent and Wilderness groups set out on the largest camp ever run by the school. With almost 200 students, 28 staff and 15 student volunteers as well as over 12 vehicles and 5 trailers, this camp to the Isle of Wight was unlike any other the Perse Exploration Society had seen.
The location for the camp was Corf Campsite on the Isle of Wight. We had sole access of the 23-acre camp, which is a stunning Site of Specific Scientific Interest that is situated on the banks of Newton Creek, a tidal estuary. The setting of camp provided both Ascent and Wilderness Group with a perfect place to get involved in a wide range of activities.
The first day of camp involved each patrol and clan set up their individual campsites, where they would sleep and cook, before students prepared their first evening meals. On days two and three, Ascent Group took part in a rotation of different activities.
The first of these was orienteering, in which pairs completed an orienteering course around the campsite. Patrols also took part in Backwoods Cooking, where they had to cook a roast chicken main course and rocky road dessert only on open fires. Other activities included water sports on the estuary and helping with the restoration of the assault course PES built three years ago.
Whilst Ascent Group remained on site, Wilderness Group travelled to their Bushcraft Camp. Here they cooked everything on open fires, slept in natural shelters they had built from the woodland, learnt about fire lighting, woodwork and carving as well as stalking. Students demonstrated their resilience skills on the second night whilst the rain poured down into their hand-built shelters.
For the next two days Wilderness group returned to the main camp to take part in watersports, orienteering and the restoration of the assault course. Subsequently, Ascent Group began their two days of hiking. Patrols had to hike from the main camp to their survival camp, and they then built their own natural shelters to sleep in for the night before returning back to the main camp the next day.
For the final three days of camp both Wilderness and Ascent Groups took part in the same activities. Day six was enjoyed by everyone together as the whole troop took part in this year’s epic wide game. The theme was Mario Kart, and sections had to work together to complete as many laps of a track set out around the campsite. With 12 individually decorated karts racing around a 400m track, four bonus zones where extra laps could be gained from completing challenges and a number of boosters and obstacles, the game was full of excitement and energy. Congratulations to fire section and mountain clan on their narrow victory.
Day seven included some of the closing events of camp. Most notably Cordon Bleu, in which patrols and clans had to cook a grand meal for three or four guests, and the Awards Ceremony and Campfire. Here awards were awarded for individual and group achievements across the week and the new Year 10 student leaders (Bears & Stags) were appointed for 2017-18. Following a final night of camping, the final pieces of kit were packed up and everyone travelled back to school.