We started the day with a traditional hearty breakfast from the East Barnby catering team. A selection of cereals and juice were available. The “main” course was sausages, hash browns, mushrooms and tomato. There was plenty of toast, too.
Our groups split in to sailors and canoeists, each receiving a detailed briefing on what to wear and what to bring.
A short minibus trip took us to Scaling Dam Reservoir and the sailing club where East Barnby keep their Laser Pico sailing boats. We had to set them up with daggerboards, rudders, booms and masts. Luckily, the masts already had the sails on ready to unfurl.
Then it was into wetsuits and out into the lake. First, a quick dip to get used to the water. Second, pushing the boats out on their little trailers. Finally, into the boats and out across the water.
There’s definitely a knack to sailing and we all tried hard to get it. The weather was certainly being kind; sunny and warm but with a fickle twist. The breeze was gentle and just the right strength for beginners. Figuring out which way it was blowing, while simultaneously guiding the tiller and adjusting the sail was an important and tricky skill. It didn’t help when the wind suddenly changed direction!
After a nice sandwich lunch, we spent most of the afternoon out on the water. Soon, some were really scudding across as they picked up the feel of their boat.
The first job facing our canoeists, on arrival at the river Esk, was to unload the long canoes from their trailers. Next, it was time to learn some paddling techniques on dry land before taking to the river.
Once full control of each canoe had been achieved by its crew of three, it was time to head off down the river towards Whitby Harbour. There were plenty of games and skill drills on the way, not mention a picnic lunch on Lunch Island.
The visual highlight of the trip might well have been the impressive brick built Larpool Viaduct that used to carry the Whitby and Scarborough railway over the Esk. The excitement highlight could easily have been shooting white water rapids at the Ruswarp wier.
The sight of Whitby Abbey, high on the hill above the town, was the ultimate reward for all the hard paddling, as the group arrived in Whitby Harbour. The final task was to tbe boats back on their trailers.
Everyone had a healthy apetite on our return to the East Barnby centre in time for tea at a quarter past five. The choice today was between a pulled chicken curry with rice and naan bread or a burger in a bun with wedges and salad. A chocolate slice and custard followed up for pudding. There was, soon after, a chance to spend a little pocket money on sweets and souvenirs at the tuck shop.
Suitably refreshed, we began our evening activities. Everyone had a go at shooting down the dry ski slope on little saucer shaped sledges. The funny thing about a dry ski slope is that they aren’t dry! Lots of little nozzles, space out all over, constantly sprayed water onto the surface, reducing friction.
The night line was a difficult challenge to navigate a obstacle course while blindfolded, following a guideline. We worked in teams with a sighted guide and a blindfolded person. The obstacles included; dodging trees, netting and tangle ropes, old tires both on the ground and hanging from trees, a tunnel and planks. Some children fell into a little mud, others got tangled in ropes, but everyone tried hard and managed to complete the course.
Soon, it was time for hot chocolate, a choice of biscuit and calming for bed. Some have said the bunks are comfy, sturdy and warm. So much so, that at half past seven on Wednesday morning, one child is still sleeping soundly.
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