Row, row, row your boat… gently down the canal
After an excellent night’s sleep (no, really!) both staff and children woke up refreshed and raring to begin our next challenge. First, we needed to fuel up for our next day’s adventure, and the ladies in the cafeteria did us proud with cereal, cooked breakfast, toast and jam. Some of us bravely tried hash browns for the first time and we were entertained by Mr Suter’s musical rendition of “Underneath the Arches” as we queued up… he promises to learn the second line for next year.
Then it was time to return to our dormitories to pack and strip our beds, expertly supervised by Izzie and Mason whose domestic training proved very useful! With our cases outside, it was time to don buoyancy aids and helmets ready for canoeing. We drove through the pretty village of Tattenhall (Mrs Sweeney will definitely be returning to try the tearoom) and down to the Shropshire Union Canal, where we received our safety briefing.
Our next challenge was to tie two canoes together; especially well done to Emily whose reef knot was spot on. Once we had selected our teams of five, it was time to launch our boats into the water. We climbed gingerly aboard clutching our paddles, and after a few unintentional 360 degree rotations, we managed to head down the canal in the right direction. Now and again, we had to pull over to the left side as colourful canal barges sailed past. Some of us zigzagged a little closer to the banks then we planned, but the wild berries and autumn leaves were very picturesque at close quarters!
After stopping to inspect the rope marks on the bridge, evidence of the many canal horses which pulled the heavy boats in the early days of the Canal Age, we returned to our canoes and made our way rather more purposefully back up the canal. We climbed out and returned to the Conwy Centre, where we had a picnic lunch and a final play before it was time to load the minibuses and set out back to school, tired but happy, in true Enid Blyton style. As we travelled, the minibus gradually grew quieter and quieter, as a bevy of Sleeping Beauties caught up with their beauty sleep!
A huge thank you to all the excellent staff at the Tattenhall Conwy centre for looking after us so well, and to Mr Rooney for organising the trip. We’re also grateful Mrs Tunney for driving, and Mr Suter and Miss Gregory for their cheerful and unstinting hard work throughout the two days. We are already looking forward to next year!