Prep IV set off from Bridgewater this morning, for Castleton on the coach. “Ooh leather seats!” gasped the children. “Ooh no mini bus to drive!” said Mrs Seward, equally as excited. As we got on our way the rain thankfully eased off and the sun even made a rare appearance. About an hour and a half later, numerous “ are we there yet?” and a couple of tense moments as the coach squeezed past lorries on the country roads ( if you could have seen Mrs Booth’s look of relief as we made it with only centimetres to spare)we arrived at Losehill YHA. The children then enjoyed their packed lunch looking out over the gardens and then gathered outside to meet the lovely Tim our guide/leader/ local historian and all round entertainer for the next two days. There was a brief flurry of excitement as we were greeted by chickens. Tim assured the more nervous of the children that they were perfectly safe and weren’t killer chickens from out of space and actually just wanted food. Raj, of course, was very cool with it all. A quick safety talk and we set off down the lanes into the beautiful little village of Castleton, passing sheep, other walkers, more chickens, ducks on a stream and some gorgeous cottages, prompting the annual conversation between Mrs Booth and Mrs Seward of how they’re going to pack up and come and live here.
Just one main road to cross, organised very efficiently by Tim and we were at Peveril Castle of which only the keep remains, built by Henry II in 1176. A quite steep ascent and a fair bit of huffing and puffing, we reached the top to admire the outstanding countryside of the Peak District. Then over to Miss Kelsall our David Bailey for the trip to get some cracking group photos. Tim took small groups up to the keep and soon we made our way back down via the gift shop. The boys did a good job of clearing the stock of swords and bows and arrows whereas the girls bought up all the slime. We headed back through the village and returned to the hostel.
A short toilet break and it was straight on to the next activity… gem panning. Judging by the oohs and aaahs from the children as Tim demonstrated how to find precious stones, this was going to be a great activity. And it was. After Ava’s hilarious “Ow that splash of water hurt me” the children approached the gem panning with great enthusiasm. Mums, be prepared to receive small chunks of Blue John, amethyst and quartz… sorry no diamonds.
Finally after wanting to know ALL day, Tommy Jack and Samuel got to find out who they were sharing with. Unfortunately for them they drew the short straw and along with Blake, Alexander, Raj, Frankie, Hamza and Anton were in rooms either side of Miss Kelsall and Mrs Seward, putting an end to any ideas of midnight feast shenanigans!
The children had some time to settle in and unpack before heading over to the main building for our tea. After a friendly reminder from Mrs Booth about choices of lasagne or jacket spuds (they were picked in June) the children tucked in, to restore energy levels ready for the evening’s activities.
The first adventure of the evening was a crawl through Losehill’s very own man made lead mine which terminated in a small attic room where the children learned about mining and the life of a miner told by Tim under the eerie glow of candlelight.
The children were then able to make their very own candles in the workshop. Miss Kelsall was so excited that she joined in too. As Prep IV had been so good throughout the evening Tim once again escorted them through the tunnels of the lead mine before they headed over to the West Wing (very posh) for showers and pass on.
After a bit of chill time the children settled down with very little fuss, with some reading and some chatting quietly, resulting in what turned out to be the easiest first night of a residential. Thank you Prep IV for an amazing first day.