25th October – 1st November 2019, Europa ESU travelled up to Yorkshire for our later than usual annual week long camp. We drove through the evening and arrived at our accommodation that Friday night. To kick things off we had to create some games for good old entertainment purposes during the week, and my personal favourite was whenever someone said the word ‘mine’ they had to do 10 push-ups, we also took every opportunity to wax someones leg unfortunately Alex seemed to be the victim far too often than he would like to admit.
On Saturday we kicked the day off with the Rugby World Cup, England vs New Zealand and let the buzz of the England win take us through the rest of our day. We embarked upon a ‘leisurely stroll’ which we definitely underestimated as we found ourselves jumping over rivers and climbing up rocks to get back on track, and you can’t forget sitting above a cliff and seeing people walking up with harnesses and us naively thinking we could get down them to see the waterfalls unequipped, embarrassingly it took us about 20 minutes to realise we weren’t up for the challenge which led to us turning around and embracing the walk of shame back.
On Sunday we celebrated Alex’s 17th birthday and went to Lightwater Valley Theme Park. We spent the day on rollercoasters, walking through horror mazes, and playing crazy golf where there were absolutely no rule breaks. We finished our day out on the chair swings and watching the fireworks over the lake, oh and you can’t forget the birthday cake when we got back.
On Monday we went to How Stean Gorge and our day was split into two different activities. We spent the morning completing the Via Ferrata which was a high wire activity course which consisted of cables bolted into the rock on the side of the gorge and we had to traverse along the sides which ended on a massive zip wire over the fast flowing water below . The second half of our day involved Gorge Walking, we put on our full wetsuits ready for the plunge into the freezing water, it kicked off with a 45 foot abseil from the bridge down into the water below. We worked our way up the gorge against the flow of water, scrambling over boulders, walking under waterfalls and of course jumping into the plunge pools, I think a hot shower was well deserved after that.
On Tuesday we ventured into the city to represent Horsham’s finest. We spent the morning at York Railway Museum and I can confidently say the only thing I learnt was that there was a train that perfectly captured Miranda – Copper Knob, but other than that it had some great aesthetics for an impromptu photo shoot. We spent the rest of the day in York completing a trail which led us around the city and once we all completed the trail we had some free time to explore York ourselves. Once we had returned there was a shock night hike for the troublemakers who were in the boys room the night previously when they said they were in bed, we all honestly thought the leaders were bluffing with their threats but they followed through, but at least the ones who got to stay behind had all the hot water to themselves.
On Wednesday we all returned to How Stean Gorge for another action packed day full of caving, which had mixed emotions to say the least. We split into two groups so the advanced wouldn’t get held back. We got our suits and wellies on ready to begin the ordeal. We waded through water, slid down masses of mud and squeezed through the tighter spaces. Safe to say we learnt valuable lessons such as confidence, self-belief and trust during these unique caving experiences as they gave individual challenges to each person. Joe also lost his pants so had to return the next day to retrieve them as I don’t think the centre would have wanted them. Later that evening we all sat down to carve our pumpkins ready for Halloween, and of course a bit of healthy competition to see who could create the best pumpkin doesn’t hurt.
On Thursday we headed to Brimham Rocks, as usual our journeys aren’t always plain sailing and this was no exception, the blue whale minibus started to smoke so we had to pull over and investigate, after the AA gave us the all clear we were well on our way . The day didn’t get any simpler, as soon as we had arrived we kicked it off with a lovely demonstration of first aid due to one of our own decking it down a rock face, at least you know we listen during those meetings now. We explored the rock formations during the morning, climbing up and jumping from one rock to another. After lunch we played a game of man hunt in a quieter section of the moorland. After finding the person who we may have lost for a substantial amount of time, our mini search party returned to the meeting point with all limbs somehow still attached. We then went back late afternoon to prepare for our ‘Halloween Party’ that evening
Our final day, Friday. We had a lazy morning packing up, ensuring everything was left clean and tidy. Then we set off, said goodbye to our accommodation and hit the road. We had a pit stop in Nottingham unaware there was an escape room planned. We hopped onto the city bus and set our sights at central Nottingham, obviously had to stop by Robin Hood’s place for lunch. Then fancied our chances in the escape rooms. Once these were completed we got back on a bus and carried on our long journey home. We arrived back at HQ at around 10pm after an action packed week that’s for sure.
Thank you for putting this all together for all of us. It definitely did not go unnoticed all of your hard work throughout this fun fuelled week. I believe a well earned rest is deserved now, but only until we start back up again next Wednesday.
Caitlin Gill – Europa Explorer