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Residential Visits 1

By litherlandb, Oct 18 2015 05:16PM

I always enjoyed school residential visits. From the first with Longridge County Primary to Waddecar to the very last with Canisbay Primary School to Orkney I always found them a delightful (and utterly exhausting experience). I tended to do it the hard way – self catering was essential. I organised the itinerary myself. It was never just a school trip. At my best I could organise much of the year’s curriculum around a residential visit. I took parties to Seahouses and the Farne Islands several times, to Silverdale and Arnside at least three times and to York once.

Silverdale always posed particular problems. To begin with there were no shops within five miles. Catering required the advance ordering of daily requirements at outlets en route, bread from here, milk there. The logistics were a nightmare and the food, as a consequence, rather limited in range. It also required us to take as much as possible on the back seat of the coach. Planning for that visit often began at Christmas. We stayed in a Quaker Hostel. It was very basic. Two large rooms offered the boys and girls a floor and mattresses. There was one small, private room which I always longed to take. Unfortunately it inevitably ended up the domain of the bus driver who had to stay with us. I ended up sharing a floor with a dozen snoring, sleep walking, sleep talking, sleep farting boys who seemed to take it in turns to walk maliciously across me on their way to the bathroom. Sleep only came with exhaustion.

It had great advantages though. However, the shared preparation of food, the washing up, the drying and the clearing away offered children a whole range of experiences and an opportunity to display aspects of character that could be revealed nowhere else. It was most enlightening. The opportunities for outings were also extensive. The RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss was only a few miles away, the coast and hill at Arnside a little further. The Southern Lake District, White Scar Caves and Ingleton were within easy reach. There were country houses and castle too. There was never a shortage of places to visit.

We went to Silverdale there from my lovely Devon school at South Tawton. I still don’t know what possessed me to go so far. There were just two teachers, a bus driver and the children. It was exhausting. I do remember the coach journey back down the M6 and the M5. Just past Bristol I noticed one of those now ubiquitous signs: TIREDNESS CAN KILL. I remember laughing out loud. They got that right.

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