Plas Menai 2011
In September all the new First Form boys visited Plas Menai. This was our 14th visit to the National Water Sports Centre in North Wales and it proved to be as enjoyable as any of the previous trips. The entire year group accompanied by six staff arrived after an early start at a very sunny but rather windy Plas Menai. With no time to unpack the boys were sent off to their 1st activity, leaving the staff to ensure the rooms were ready for the boys when they got off the water.
Unfortunately, the remnants of Hurricane Katia meant that the sailing was off, but the boys still managed to have fun on the water with power-boating, body-boarding, wind-surfing, kayaking and raft building, whilst one group enjoyed climbing and mountain biking. Over the next two days groups rotated so that by the time we came home everybody had a chance to do each activity.
On day two we woke to a sunny and much less windy North Wales which encouraged both Mr Eastham and Mrs Howard to join the raft builders. After building the rafts and a long, hard paddle against the tide, Team Howard won the race back to base. An envious Mr Eastham then took great pleasure in dunking Mrs Howard into the cold Menai Straits, which the boys found very amusing!
Meanwhile I joined the mountain biking group who started off by learning how to handle the unfamiliar bikes on a flat grassed area and finished after just under two hours by taking on the rolls, dips and bumps of one of the trails set in the grounds. A personal highlight of the trip for me was to see one of the First Year boys (who shall remain nameless) ride a bike for the first time, which was fantastic!
In the evening, the boys had a choice between watching Manchester United play Benfica and taking part in an orienteering challenge. It was pleasing to see a good number of the boys choosing to take on the challenge of finding checkpoints and features around the centre whilst learning a little of the history behind Plas Menai.
Despite an ‘almost' broken finger, a couple of upset tummies, and the sighting of a "strange scary man, with half a face" lurking near Mr Eastham's bathroom, the boys had a very enjoyable few days learning new skills and making new friends. They wholeheartedly embraced the challenges of each activity and were even praised by a member of Plas Menai staff for the cleanliness of their rooms!