PGL 2013 Winmarleigh Hall
On Wednesday 18th September, we piled onto the coach, nervous but excited, got our seatbelts on and chatted happily to each other as we were waved off.
Lily gave us sweets to get us into the holiday mood and we looked forward to our adventure. We arrived at Winmarleigh Hall at 11:50am and Mrs Priestwood went to see where we needed to go. Mrs Priestwood met Jenny, our ‘groupie’. We quickly unpacked the coach and dragged our cases and sleeping bags to Patten House, a very smart, 2 storey, modern building opposite the main hall.
Jenny checked us into our rooms. We were in rooms with 2 bunk beds and an en-suite shower room. Soon we were downstairs in a large room enjoying our packed lunches, wondering what we were going to be doing in the afternoon, or rather what had we let ourselves in for!
Jenny met us after lunch and took us for a guided tour of the PGL site, giant swing, zip wire, vertical climb, a lake, a quad track – it looked amazing! Between light showers, blue sky and warm sun welcomed us. We lined up in our new group names – Unicorns and Voles, sang crazy songs about a moose and a banana and started our first activities.
Our first activities were with Adam doing orienteering and Lewis doing Fencing. Orienteering was great fun as we got to explore the grounds freely; however the long grass meant our feet were soon wet through. Fencing was hysterical as we had to wear chest protectors in our suits!
After warm showers, and a change of clothes we met Jenny to go to spend some of our money at the tuck shop across in the main building.
Sweet, drinks, chocolate, pencils rubbers, teddies, footballs… we were spoilt for choice and with arms full of goodies we returned to our rooms to secrete our bounty ready for our midnight feasts! (2am for those in room 504).
We had our first evening meal at 6:20pm. The choice was excellent – 3 courses including chocolate angel delight! It was very filling and just what we needed.
In the evening we played Robot Wars. In 3 teams we competed against each other to win cardboard. Every task completed won you an amount of card that we would eventually use to dress up one member of our team, protecting them from a flour and water fight that we were going to have.
Who can blow up the balloon until it pops first? Who can do the best impression of a cave girl/boy? By the end of the evening Kim, Thomas and Ben were in the robot arena, dressed in cardboard armour of various degrees and ready to do battle.
Everyone was soon covered in wet flour, giggling hysterically, wet and cold, outside in the dark and rain at 8:30pm, congratulations were given to Kimberley’s team: Lauren, Paige, Isabella, Ethan Healey and Dylan and we piled back inside to get dry and warm.
At last we went up to bed – got on our onesies and started to settle down. We chatted and giggled for quite a while but eventually fell asleep, looking forward to a packed day of activities starting the following morning (except for room 504 who settled down at 2am).
Breakfast at 8:30 included: cereal, toast, beans, scrambled egg and sausages – we were going to need our energy!
In the heavy rain we built shelters in the woods with branches, tarpaulin and rope. We worked together as a team, blindfolded, guided by a rope to explore a very muddy assault course of tyres and ropes.
Between morning and afternoon activities we peeled off our saturated clothes and hung them in the drying room, praying that the sun would shine, so we might dry out in the afternoon.
Our prayers were answered and in the afternoon we wore our harnesses and helmets to abseil and complete the climbing wall. Words of support and encouragement meant everyone went away proud of their achievements (Mrs Sage was particular pleased – fastest ever descent of the abseiling wall – she practically ran down – Was it skill or was it fear?)
Evening meal and a fabulous donut competition – could you eat your donut without licking your lips? The answer for most of us was NO! But we had fun trying.
Last night, and it was disco fever in the main hall. We conga’d, limbo’d, and macarena’d and even thriller’d, until the last dance.
A bit of table tennis, more chatting and visiting each other’s rooms before it was lights out again. No one was staying up until 2am because we were shattered!
Friday morning, 6:30am and Mrs Priestwood spent half an hour knocking on doors trying to wake everyone up, particularly room 504!
Another great breakfast, we did our packing ready for our return to school and set off, with Jenny singing crazily, to begin our final activities.
The Zip Wire was very high and very long. We had to sit on the edge and when we were ready… we could set off – hurtling through the air, the wind rushing through our hair – superman impressions were very popular.
Next was the ‘Vertical Challenge’ – ropes, tyres and ladders vertically stretching to the sky.
We had our last lunch, loaded up the coach and relaxed for the journey home, knowing that the memories we had would be with us forever.