A school trip for year 7 in the first three weeks. Daring perhaps but the best fun I have had as a teacher possibly. We got on the coach a little after 9:15 and were dumping our bags in the youth hostel by 10:30. Kids were surprisingly efficient and I found myself being the last team member ready trying to locate my map and tying my walking boot laces.

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The scenery is beautiful even from within the boat. Reflections are not ideal but the trip was great. One girl pointed out the boat her parents owned, another part of her parent’s farm a third where he camped last year. It was fun having pupils so engaged with the outdoors so early. We got off the boat near Keswick at the north of the lake at Nichol End.

Our group set of last and I deliberately had them try and build a shelter nice and early. I didn’t want to be walking as a group of 50 and enjoyed my dozen or so. I also wanted an excuse to pick up the pace later in the journey. Phrases like “we’re losing to Mr Thompson” might not have been in the spirit of the team building relaxed walk but it helped me to quicken up some of the grumpier ones.

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Not so much time for photos for me, I got to practice counting up to thirteen instead. This is well beyond our lunch stop. By this point the two teachers (me included) with OS maps had whizzed ahead. No matter how much gymnastics, human pyramids, ask a stranger where they have come from, chanting or dancing could slow us down enough. It turns out the best trick to slow your party down is to get lost. Alas nobody had advised me to do this.

We stopped at this bridge (which had a name that hasn’t stuck with me) for about 45 minutes for a snack break. Only as we were leaving did the second group arrive. They looked suspiciously covered in mud. A chat with their teacher later that evening revealed he had accidentally taken them across a bog where some of the smaller individuals had gone very deep indeed. I was less convinced on the accidental nature of the incorrect map reading considering it was a teacher of geography.

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The end of the walk, back at the hostel. I had promised the pupils a paddle and was strict on them only going to go knee high. This worked out well until one pupil (from another tutor group I might add) decided to ‘accidentally’ fall in pulling her friend in too. Before we knew it half the pupils were soaked and at risk of not being allowed into the hostel.

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Even I had a paddle. Isn’t it nice to be in a school where I had no qualms about lending my phone to a pupil to take this photo.

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When: 22/10/16          11:00-16:00
How far: The walk was 5.5 miles
How long: Far too long in my opinion. I think we started paddling at 16:30. Walking as a group causes slowness. As does walking with 11 year olds. I was doing both.
How hard: Very easy assuming you aren’t in the group with the teacher that takes you waist deep in mud.
Who with: 13 Year 7s constantly shouting “Mr Brown” in a most annoying voice.

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