West Bridgford Junior School


Year 4 Dukes Barn Residential 2012 - An amazing time was had by all!

Year 4 Dukes Barn Residential 2012 - An amazing time was had by all!


Monday 6th February


And so here we are. Despite the weather's best efforts, the coach set off pretty much on schedule and we arrived in Beeley at 11.30. Once we had settled in and lunched, we split into our groups and headed off on the first of our activities.

Miss Ranger and Miss Rimington's group headed off into the surrounding hills for a 3-mile hike through the snow, of which there was plenty. Lily Beiley bravely scrambled up some of the trickier inclines whilst Michael selflessly returned to help Will Duncan, after freeing himself from an especially captivating, muddy puddle. Once they had reached the final descent into the village, Phil the Instructor kindly provided the group with plastic sheets with which to sledge their way home. Will Davis decided that head-first was the best way to pick up speed, and Miss Ranger recaptured her adolescence, albeit with a degree of 'gentle' persuasion from the others.

Mrs Brown's group were thrown in at the deep end by heading off to the infamous abseiling bridge. Sharika and Nell overcame initial misgivings to fly down on their own, then with others. Lola approached it all as she approaches most things: cool, calm and collected. Mrs Brown, herself, claims to have been similar on her attempt. The rest of the group begged to differ.

Mr Simmonds' group began their hill walk with enthusiasm and managed to maintain such an attitude despite the conditions. Jonny lead the way by heading slightly 'off piste', exclaiming at one point that the whole activity was 'funner' than he expected. Phoebe enjoyed the hot chocolate break at the top, followed by the tree-climb. Francesca won the award for falling over the most by some distance and everyone sledged the final field with aplomb, with the possible exception of Mr Simmonds, who soon realised that he was possibly a little old for such an end to the walk.

Miss Hunter and crew headed off to the local cave, via Chatsworth, which looked fabulous in the perfect winter conditions. Once they arrived, and following an impromptu snowball fight, Joe Everitt overcame an early fall to conquer his pain, encouraged warmly by his team. Lily Clarkson enjoyed the experience, accompanied by Prabh and Bea. The latter also made time to assist Miss Hunter, whose claustrophobia came to the fore.

After a welcome dinner, we headed out back into the cold for our night walk, before sharing our thoughts on the day and settling down. Every single child has been a credit to all and, without exception, are looking forward immensely to Tuesday.


Tuesday, 7th February


As the children settle down to a well-earned sleep, all will have yet more stories to tell.

Sadly, the morning came with news that Will Duncan had had a tumble during the night. A visit to the local hospital followed, with the result being that he returned wearing a cast for a suspected fracture in his wrist. Everyone has been hugely impressed with how he coped with both the pain, and the disappointment of missing out on certain activities. He has now returned home with our best wishes.

Breakfast was consumed with gusto, perfect preparation for the activities to follow. Mrs Brown's group spent the morning on and around the site, climbing and negotiating the nature trail. Magnus, Lov'Ell and Alex 'boluldered' on the climbing wall with great enthusiasm and agility. Miss Rimington accompanied the group in the afternoon on the walk, avoiding the ice and enduring the cold with a smile.

Miss Hunter's group walked this morning, incorporating some sledging on the ever-diminishing snow, Chrissy and Charlie finding numerous methods of reaching the bottom. After lunch, they tackled the climbing wall, with Jacob Crew displaying pronounced problem-solving skills. On the trail, the group respected the local community whilst reading maps with understanding.

Miss Ranger's group spent most of the day away from the site. Isabelle was brave enough to look down on her very first descent. Meanwhile, Euan, having being second down, pleased Phil the instructor immensely with his team work, assisting others with their harnesses and warmly encouraging the group. The afternoon saw them caving, during which Ben showed great interest in the geology of the area.

With Mr Simmonds at the hospital, Miss Rimington went caving with his group. Fay had a slight panic half way round but managed to negotiate the rest and was beaming by the end. As Mr Simmonds stood at the bottom of the abseiling bridge, the children up above showed remarkable courage in swinging down onto sheet ice. Maisie could be heard encouraging others, Matthew and Joe made all sorts of strange noises as they flew down, whilst Arbaz used the rope to clamber up the steps to the top, a challenge as great as the abseiling today.

Although Group One all too quickly approach the end, more adventures await in the morning. We shall keep you posted.


Wednesday 8th February 2012


It was with a measure of sadness that the first group awoke this morning. Normal service was resumed once the rooms had been cleared and breakfast arrived. Promptly, we set off for our final activity.

Mr Simmonds' group began with the climbing wall. After a slight issue with clockwise and anti-clockwise, all confidently embraced each challenge, Fay rightly being especially proud of her achievements. They then moved on to the rope course, Coby leading the group with maturity in attempting to balance the large see-saw at the end.

Miss Ranger's group also remained on site, negotiating the rope course and flying through the underground tunnel. Gabrielle whizzed up the climbing wall and Harriet had an inventive way of climbing the rope ladder.

Miss Hunter's group headed to the bridge. Adam Beach loved the abseiling itself though, like everyone else, found the icy steps a real challenge! Maggie kept everyone entertained with her jokes, even as she actually abseiled down.

Mrs Brown's clan went caving. William H and Olivia were enthusing about the experience, encouraging others as they went, and returning to the Barn suitably covered in mud.

Eventually, and unavoidably, our final lunch was served and we bade farewell to the instructors before walking down to the bus, whilst Miss McQueenie and Ms Stephenson completed the arduous task of loading all the cases. Each and every member of Group One can be proud of their time at Dukes Barn and will have tales to tell forsome time to come. We were also sad to wave off Mrs Brown but look forward to seeing her when we return.

As one group departed, another arrived, full of anticipation at what may come. After the obligatory tours and drills, we headed out into the cold.

Miss Hunter and Miss Rimington's new group walked around the fabulous Chatsworth. Joe K loved every minute, carrying twice his weight in snow. Freddie kept everyone entertained with his comments whilst Liberty enjoyed exploring the surrounds.

Mr Simmonds and group went to the caves, accompanied by Mr Unsworth. Dhruv and Harry impressed with their knowledge of geology, Faraday lead the entire group through some particularly small gaps whilst Martha refused to panic as she and Mr Simmonds got lost, unlike the latter.

Miss McQueenie seamlessly entered the fray, abseiling with her new group. Ella overcame her fears by descending twice, followed closely by Vince, who managed to abseil despite his better judgement. Jewel took the whole experience in her stride, first to go and clambering through the fence without blinking.

Miss Ranger walked with her new group. Clare the instructor was mightily impressed with how Emma assisted the rest of the group with getting ready. Adam found a useful stick to help him as he went and Daniel practically bounced around the snow-covered hills.

Dinner was devoured before we headed out for the night walk. On our return, we headed to bed and settled down quickly. Our thanks to Mr Unsworth and Miss Roylance for their help today.


Thursday, 9th February


Another cold day awaited us as we ate another filling breakfast and collected our gear for the day to come.

Miss McQueenie’s group spent the morning caving. Everyone was impressed with Vince who, after some concern initially, negotiated the depths and even admitted to enjoying himself. Alice, meanwhile, led the group in a calm, methodical manner. After lunch, Sacha climbed with panache and Stanley persevered with the climbing wall after finding it rather challenging. In fact, by the end he was tearing round.

Mr Simmonds’ clan spent the morning on and around the Barn. Isaac Segal led his team to victory in the Village Trail quiz and Emily almost completed the climbing challenges before she began. As the weather increasingly deteriorated, Ellie overcame her fear of heights by giving the abseiling a go. Followed by another. And another…

Miss Hunter and Miss Rimington took their crowd abseiling this morning. Liam panicked initially yet, with great support from the rest of the Rabbits (especially from Joe K), he enjoyed his first attempt at the bridge. Maddie pleased Colin with her assistance in tightening the all-important harnesses. Once they were caving in the afternoon, Priya was rather wary but managed to complete the route fully whilst Niamh flew through the activity as she has done all week.

Miss Ranger and the Foxes started the day with a caving adventure. Annabel deserves a special mention for overcoming her fears, despite having some worries. Every time she said she wanted to leave the cave she took another step forward, and even became chief photographer. The afternoon saw them abseiling with great confidence. Though Oli was a little nervous, he sailed down on the rope and even conquered the infamous slippery steps to get back up. Zara also found the steps challenging but slipped with a smile and loved the abseiling too (even though she admitted to keeping her eyes closed on the first time down).

After a sausage and mash tea, we saw previously hidden talents on the stage before letting our hair down at the disco, with Amy’s moves particularly appreciated. And now, as the weather closes in, we are all more than ready for bed.


Friday 10th February


An early start was necessary today, with packing and leaving rooms before our usual breakfast times. Despite a few wayward wellies and the like, we pretty much remained on schedule.

The Badgers and the Foxes stayed together on a walk through the woods. Rather than sticking to the path, we scrambled up and down icy banks, through streams and over branches. Alistair and Dylan both decided huge sticks were required to negotiate the route. Meanwhile, Connie saw the opportunity to describe her love for Coronation Street, whilst Oliver F spent his time counting the number of falls within the group, proud of how he remained on his feet. Most of the time…

The Owls and Rabbits rotated around the site and village activities. Miss Ranger noticed Hannah-Maria achieving something few others managed by traversing the rather slippery swinging beam on her first attempt. On the climbing wall, Isaac Savage was particularly adept, enjoying the harnessed game in particular. Rosie initially worried about climbing, largely due to the fact that her hands were cold but gloves prohibited. However, as time passed, she found the wall great fun and completed all the tasks with great skill.

Miss Hunter and Miss Rimington were both impressed with Alex on the climbing wall. He displayed a balance of competitiveness allied with team skills, taking pride in his team in both victory and defeat. Mia led her group with confidence on the village trail, reading her map effectively and eloquently sharing her knowledge of nature.

Eventually, a tired group ate their final lunch as the staff brought through a seemingly endless line of lost property! Thanking the wonderful Dukes Barn staff, we wearily trekked down to the bus and headed home, full of memories but also anticipation of home-cooked food and our own beds.

Each and every member of year 4 has been wonderful in every respect and the staff would like to thank them for a wonderful week. Happy half term to you all.