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Y6 Residential visit 2023

Day 1

The day began bright and early as we left a rainy Norwich and headed North. It was a very smooth journey with the services providing huge excitement as the children chose what they wanted for lunch. As we entered Yorkshire, the landscape started to change and as we left the motorway, every hill got a cheer. We received a warm welcome from the lovely staff at the centre,  who gave a site tour and helped us to settle in our dorms. Who knew that putting a duvet cover and a pillowcase on could be so challenging! But, we got there in the end! After a hearty tea, we changed into our waterproofs for sledging and the alien game. It was great to see huge smiles and excited laughter. An exciting day was finished with hot chocolate and a biscuit! Here’s to a good night’s rest...

Day 2

We had a great night’s sleep and were rewarded with a clear blue sky and sunshine. We were raring to go! Breakfast was delicious and we all tucked in. It was then time to get kitted out for either canoeing or climbing. Our excitement levels were now at their peak.

The canoeists had a short drive to a beautiful spot on the River Esk at Ruswarp. We worked together to unload the boats, raft them together and listen to the final instructions before being launched onto the river. The children had to talk to each other and work out how to turn and steer. They soon worked it out and were on their way. We saw sheep, cattle, herons and, of course, seagulls who noisily accompanied us to the sea. The highlight of the trip (well there were several) was coming down the weir which was exhilarating. We then had to negotiate very shallow water due to low tide but we soon arrived at our lunch destination, fondly known as ‘Sandwich Island.’ After our lunch and a stone skimming competition, we resumed our journey.

There is something very special about arriving in Whitby harbour by canoe with the ruins of Whitby Abbey welcoming us. I have to say, we were delighted with the children because it had been a long and challenging journey and yet they still helped empty the boats and reload them onto the trailers. What fantastic resilience and teamwork!

The climbers had a steep hike to get to their spot and were stunned by the rugged, yet beautiful, terrain of North Yorkshire, quite a contrast to Norfolk. The children had a fantastic opportunity to scramble and explore the rocks and tunnels which really gave them the chance to feel more confident before they began their ascent. They were able to choose what rock face they climbed on. All children had a part to play as they had to belay for each other and offer those all-important words of encouragement. By the end of the session, everyone had climbed which is testament to their determination! 

This evening, we were able to visit the Tuck Shop and buy a little snack or souvenir. The activity was called Nightline which had all the children trying to guess what it actually was. They had to get into small groups and nominate ‘eyes’ while the others were blindfolded. The ‘eyes’ of the group had to lead the others around an obstacle course hidden amongst the trees. Of paramount importance was teamwork; they not only had to give clear instructions but wait to follow them. It was very interesting (and funny) watching the ‘eyes’ trying to keep their group on track as they either turned the wrong way, got in a tangle or refused to move because they were unsure. One child turned to me at the end and said, ‘I guess this is what a parent feels like!’ 

The children are certainly tired out and glad to get to bed tonight - plenty of rest so that they are ready for tomorrow’s adventures!

Day 3

This morning, the children were feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Once again, the sun was shining. How lucky are we!

After breakfast, we always meet in our groups with our leaders to talk about how we are finding the activities. It is great to hear the children talk about how important it is to communicate clearly with their group when completing a challenge rather than just arguing. Others have said they have realised how important it is to try a challenge as it is so rewarding to succeed at it.

Today, yesterday’s climbers had their canoe trip to Whitby. Once again, staff noticed growing confidence as the journey progressed. This time, lunch on Sandwich Island was accompanied with a sculpture competition. The children then used their new skills of steering and turning to continue their trip. This was broken up with a few games and it was brilliant to see children standing up to play, forgetting they were in canoes!


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The groups that had canoed yesterday were beck scrambling this morning in the beautiful village of Goathland. It involved crawling over, under and around large rocks whilst watching out for roots, branches and slippery moss. It involved different challenges as this time some of the spaces were very claustrophobic, involved sliding down rocks into water and one even went under water, fondly referred to as the ‘washing machine.’ This is really one of those activities which we cannot do in Norfolk!


Still image for this video


Still image for this video

The afternoon activity was a trip to Runswick Bay to explore the rockpools and search for fossils. Whilst we have a beautiful coastline, the children were quick to notice the differences and contrasts. We found a sea-hare, a squat lobster, a scorpion fish, a prawn, shrimp and a surprising variety of crabs, including hermit, shore crabs, velvet swimming crabs. The fossil hunt was even more meaningful, following our Evolution enquiry and the children were able to find their own souvenirs.

Day 4

As we settled down last night, I thought that surely our luck with the weather must run out. This is North Yorkshire after all! However, an early morning peak behind the blind revealed another bright and dry day. What a difference experience makes as many children could be heard saying that they needed to eat plenty as they had a busy day ahead. Over breakfast, they shared last minute advice about the activities as all groups were having their final sessions.

Two groups had their adventures at the beck scramble at Goathland and the seashore visit to East Runswick Bay. They had certainly heeded their friends’ advice and wore several warm layers so they were ready for the thrill of the cold water. They helped and supported each other through the beck, noticing that clambering over rocks in the water was very different to scrambling over rocks on dry land. Many took up the final challenge of sliding down a large rock into the freezing cold water and were rewarded with cheers and shouts! Lunch was back at the centre so that they could dry off and be more comfortable for their final activity of the week - a visit to the beach to explore the rockpools and find those all-important fossils. It never fails to impress. Exploring rock pools and discovering a variety of sea creatures is always so rewarding but our visits have been enhanced by the expert knowledge of the East Barnby staff.

Three groups headed to the hills. We had a picturesque journey through the North York Moors to reach either Scugdale or the Cleveland Way. There was plenty of talk about the lambs, dry stone walls, cattle grids, wild broom and the lichen. The children were then divided into groups so that they could take turns carrying the climbing equipment to our destination. There was a brisk and somewhat bracing walk up ‘Hasty Bank’ to reach the climb but it was worth it for the breathtaking views of the moors. The children spent a good hour weaselling and bouldering - scrambling under and over rocks! Playground games like sardines and hide and seek took on a whole new aspect as they did so amongst magnificent rock crags - the Wainstones. An early lunch helped them refuel for their climb and they  helped each other put on harnesses before the instructor checked them. The children worked in teams and it was great to see them naturally organise themselves into confidence groups rather than friendship groups. This shows how their relationships have really flourished and they are showing greater independence. Watching the children climb, belay and offer words of encouragement was incredibly impressive. Hopefully, the photos show how brave our children have been. It felt incredibly exposed on the rockface and the children really persevered with their climbs. I’m sure their cheers, as they celebrated their individual successes, could be heard all around the moors.

We have rounded our week off with rousing campfire entertainment courtesy of Mr Wegg. He had set a challenge for every dorm to perform either a song, sketch or jokes. Is there no end to the talent of the children of Hillside school?  We were certainly entertained in a variety of ways. All good campfires have marshmallows and hot chocolate and ours was no exception. A lovely end to our day!


What a wonderful week we have all had. East Barnby has once again exceeded all our expectations and we have been guided and supported by an amazing team of staff here at the centre. We have all been impressed with the children’s enthusiasm, resilience and how they themselves have noticed how they have changed this week:

‘I now have much more stamina.’

‘It is worth trying something I’m unsure of as I might be surprised!’

‘I didn’t think that I could climb.’

‘I now know about layer management.’

‘My mum did a good job of my case as I can’t get it done up.’

‘Sleep is very important.’


Just as importantly, we have had a lot of fun with the children and hope they have enjoyed it as much as we have.