As I arrived in Stackpole for the Giving Nation awards winners’ trip, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’m not what you would describe as a lover of the great outdoors; I’m a born-and-bred city slicker so naturally I was a bit apprehensive at having to spend a WHOLE week here with no mobile phone reception and a dairy farm as a neighbour!
However, the sun was out, the sky blue and the company great so I was optimistic.
We went bike riding. This was a bit traumatic for me as it was the first time I’d been on a bike since I was around 12. At the grand old age of 24 I can safely say that that old adage “you never forget riding a bike” is a load of tosh! I had forgotten and yes I did fall of it. I managed to ride into a tree and fall sideways of the bike. Luckily, aside from a few cuts and bruises the only thing that was hurt was my pride!!
Woke up feeling very sore! The Award Winners were in good spirits and were looking forward to a day of creating wonderful art pieces in the studio using natural resources that they’d found at the beech: leaves, twigs and things that had been washed to shore by the sea.
Stackpole’s Artist in Chief Kath Levell was on hand to help us create our master pieces.
Whilst we were channelling our inner Picasso the other half of our group went rock climbing, an activity I was to do the following day….
In the evening we all went on a night walk and participated in a team building activity. We were partnered up and took it in turns to be blind-folded whilst our partner guided us around an assault course using verbal instructions. My partner, Cameron, thought it would be funny to lead me into a tree…..twice. To be fair it was pretty funny but I didn’t tell Cameron that!
RC Day aka Rock Climbing Day: it was my group’s turn whilst the other group channelled their inner Monet.
Climbing was a challenge to say the least and not at all as easy as it looked! Thankfully our luck with the wonderful weather was still running so that made the climbing a bit easier. I discovered a lot about myself during the afternoon we spent rock climbing. I discovered that no matter how drained, terrified of heights or exhausted I feel, my pride will always see me through. The climbing didn’t come easily to me and I did lose my grip and fall more than a few times (don’t worry folks, we had harnesses) but I didn’t want to look pathetic in front of everyone, after all if an 11 year old could do it, so could I!
I eventually made it to the top and was promptly told I had to abseil back down. I felt like Super Woman!!
Everyone went canoeing whilst I did lots of filming and interviews for the DVD I’ll be putting together.
They all had a wonderful time canoeing in the sea going from one beach to another (and only a few people capsized!).
Those of us not canoeing had a lovely lunch on the beech and then took a leisurely walk back to the centre where we had a delicious barbecue. We stuffed our faces and took it in turns to tell ghost stories late into the night around a camp fire.
On our final day, we all went on a beech clean after breakfast and were amazed at the sheer amount of rubbish that gets washed up on shore. After the beech clean we had breakfast and said our goodbyes to all the staff at the Centre.
I’m a bit sad to be saying goodbye to Stackpole, it is an absolutely beautiful place and the National Trust has done incredibly well to maintain the centre and the exceptionally high standards!
I didn’t think that I would survive a week in the country, let alone enjoy it, but I’d go as far as to say I had an amazingly magnificent time! I experienced some things that I may never do again and got to spend some time with a group of exceptionally remarkable young people who give their time to raise funds for people less fortunate than themselves.
All in all it was a fantastic trip and an incredible experience!