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Students from Sheldon School in Chippenham recently visited the Brecon Beacons for a week of outdoor education and adventure activities.

48 students from Year 9 and 10 participated in activities including caving, canoeing, climbing, mountain walking and gorge walking at the Plas Pencelli outdoor education centre in South Wales. The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the young participants to develop their personal and social skills, as well as gain a better appreciation of the natural world through outdoor adventure activities.

Rob Humphreys, Head of PE at Sheldon, said, “The trip was a resounding success. Every single student was a credit to the school. They threw themselves into every activity in challenging environments and conducted themselves superbly all week.”

During the cold, windy week, the students split into four groups exploring different areas of the region. Each group completed a 13.5km walk across the Brecon Beacons to the highest peak, Pen y Fan. They also canoed 6km along the River Usk and explored the Porth yr Ogog cave.

“My favourite activity was canoeing,” said Luke, a student in Year 9. “I fell in the water and it was really cold! I’d never tried mountain climbing before and that was fun too.”

Other activities included climbing, gorge walking and orienteering. At night the students had a Fun Olympics and an egg drop challenge. They also participated in the infamous Dingle Ascent, a team building exercise in which each group has to navigate a through a stream bed in the dark. This event requires excellent teamwork and communication – and inevitably leaves everyone a bit wet.

“We are very proud of our students that attended the trip and showed great Sheldon spirit as they engaged in activities many had never tried before,” said Sheldon Headteacher, Peter Lynch. “They expertly demonstrated our school values to ‘Be Kind’ as they worked together as a team, to ‘Be Brave’ as they took on new challenges and to ‘Be the Best You’ as they showed resilience during difficult activities.”

Plas Pencelli is an outdoor education centre owned by Swindon Borough Council that has been operating for over 40 years and has strong connections with Wiltshire schools. Students from Sheldon have been visiting Plas Pencelli for many years and it continues to be one of the highlights of the Sheldon experience.