An Amazing Extreme Ardeche Adventure
By Zak Minett - Year 8
In the last weeks of term, after a gruelling 29 hours of travelling, including two coach journeys and a ferry crossing, 44 budding, and tired, year 7 and 8 students finally arrived to their destination – Camping La Savane in the Ardeche valley, France. The campers were designated a school 'village', a campsite just for the students, where they would be sleeping for the next week, with four to a tent and a volleyball court set up in the centre.
Greeted by Acorn's more than accommodating staff, including village manager Christy, the students took part in various challenges over the course of the week and were kept amused throughout by the instructor’s hilarious songs and jokes. The first challenge was a two day decent of 26 kilometres down the Ardeche River, where they faced rapids and 6m rock jumps and enjoyed canoe games such as “boat gladiators.” The students camped overnight, under the stars, in “bivvy bags”, settling down to hot chocolate and whipped cream, and bracing themselves for the day ahead.
Other activities included a high ropes experience, including the Gladiator Wall which was a vertical obstacle course, Caving, where you squeezed through tunnels and sat in pitch blackness, Raft Building, where students used barrels, poles, and strings to create their own raft, Mission Impossible, an obstacle course which made good use of the mind, Rock Climbing, which also let students practice their bouldering techniques which are useful for getting around tricky edges, Nightline, where blindfolded students had to follow a piece of string around an obstacle course and finally Kayaking. There was also an excursion to the market town of Vallon, where a selection of goodies were to be found, ranging from apricot lollies to slingshots, and a visit to three underground caverns which were discovered by Robert De Jolie. The guide told the group about the history and formations of the cave and the trip climaxed in a display of light and music and an elevator ride up to the top.
Jools Clarke, year 7, said of the Ardeche Adventure trip: ''the best school trip you could ever go on, save the twenty-nine hour bus trip, definitely''. Sparkle Rice, also year 7, added '' I think the best activity was the river trek because we had the best instructors, Will and Pabs, who are hilarious, but the main reason is because we got to do a rapid.''
Personally, Je prefer le high ropes!