Training For Snowdon – 1,085m of Ascent!

On Thursday May 4th, Year 10 met after registration, put on their rucksacks and tied up their boots. They got on the bus to Pen-y-Pass to begin their walk to the summit of Snowdon.

They were: Leon Hodgson, Matthew Budd, Kaci Allen, Romy Biehler, Aina Gomariz-Fernandez, William Zhang and Harry Li.

The excitement and nervousness was almost palpable in the bus. The whole group wanted to reach the summit and required no encouragement from me. This is exactly what I have been trying to develop in our students: self-motivation, striving to be the best they can.

At Pen-y-Pass, the group looked at the map; the plan was to take the Pyg Track up and the Miners’ Track down. The sky was perfectly clear and very few other people were on the mountain. The group started off at a very good pace, reaching the view of Llyn Llydaw within 45minutes. It was a really hot day. Self -regulation is a key aspect of the students’ learning including adequate clothing, drinking water, food and sun protection.

The group continued to walk at a very good pace. Although the sun was shining, as soon we came into open ground, the north-easterly wind made it feel cold enough for warm jumpers. The path began to zig-zag and steepen towards the saddle. The determination of the students was impressive. They dug deep and pushed onwards and upwards.

We reached the saddle and had a short break for some water and snacks. The winds were even stronger on the ridge. We chatted about other challenges they had faced this year, as Myddelton College opened in September 2016; everyone was new and very few knew each other. I asked them what else they find difficult and how they might overcome such challenges as we continued to the top of Snowdon. Learning Through the Outdoors is not purely skills driven; personal and social development in a realistic, challenging situation is an important part of it and we take care to make these learning experiences relevant to school, home and pupils’ futures.

At the Cairn marking the highest point, I shook each of their hands as they arrived, to congratulate them on their achievement. The views at this point were dramatic – 360 degrees of clear sky, allowing us to see all the way to North Anglesey Snowdonia National Park. The week before, this view from Snowdon was voted the best in the UK, and it certainly showed us its true beauty that day.

We took some wind-swept photos of the group. They were tired but full of smiles. The team decided that we should wait until we reached the bottom of the zig-zags to eat lunch out of the wind. We made good time and relaxed in the sun to eat our sandwiches. The view across to Y Lliwedd was stunning.

As long as the walk is up, it is a long walk down! The group were in high spirits. We stopped on the Miners’ Track at the Llyn to drink some more water. Harry said ‘it’s so beautiful here!’. We were back at the bus by 2.15pm – it had taken us four and a half hours. A typical walking party takes between five and six hours – so we did not do too badly! On the way back, we picked up some ice creams to celebrate the team’s achievement.

These are the first Myddelton College students to reach the summit of Snowdon. They have set the standard for future Myddeltonians, not only in achieving the task, but in how they completed it, together with kindness and compassion for each other, with relentless determination and appreciation of the beauty of the place we are lucky to call home.

In the spring term, the group also tackled Moel Famau as a ‘warm-up’ for Snowdown. It is the highest hill in the Clwydian Range (1,821 ft or 555 m), which we are lucky enough to overlook from the back of Myddelton College. Not content with reaching the summit, the group also decided to take on the additional challenge of making their own way back to Myddelton College by foot – a total of 19km of walking – and with that, the Moel Famau to Myddelton challenge was born!

Myddelton has three pillars – Scholarship, Resilience and Fellowship – at the heart of student experience. These walking challenges, which require leadership, navigation and team building embody all three. Our Year 10s have triumphed, showing determination, resilience and support for one another.

*We are currently fundraising for an AED machine for the school. This is being bought from Mountain Rescue as they are getting smaller more portable ones so we are helping to fund their new ones and give a good home to one that has been replaced.

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