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It takes a very speedy brain to keep up with the conversations of 17 excited children. Sadly, this morning I didn’t have a speedy brain and I was on a back foot for most of the day!  It’s only now, whilst they’re writing their diaries and sipping hot chocolate that they’ve started to calm down, take their time and actually listen to each other!

It was a lovely crossing on the MS Oldenburg and only one child was (a little) sick. Compared to the year 3s from Ilfracombe Juniors who were on a day trip, we faired a little better.

Landing on the jetty we immediately saw on the horizon three large and loud, black boats coming our way! Coming into view some more we saw the enormous turbines at the back of the three camouflaged hovercrafts. Several Isis-related storming-of-the-island comments later we recognised that they were the ones from Instow (sometimes go up the Taw) and they parked up on the beach that we’d already highlighted for our quiet picnic … how dare they. They took up so much room they even stopped us from playing our skimming competition… and what brilliant skimming stones they were! However, we were offered a tour of the hovercraft and some of the children were even allowed to place their heads close to the vent and we had long hair flying skyward – they loved this bit but I’m not sure if I should blog that as their bosses may not approve?  (Keep that bit quiet.)

The children were introduced to Lundy Letterboxes in St Helena’s church and I told them that the letterboxes formed most of the format of their trip around the island the next day – them reading the map and guiding us round the island too!  We have high hopes too since during the village orienteering exercise we had several children rotating (orientating) the map correctly and finding the markers I’d placed out earlier. Looking hopeful!

The Assistant Warden, Chloe, gave us a talk about the island and I think the other tourists were impressed with the answers to her questions and also the quality of the children’s questions to her. I was very proud of them 🙂

So, group 1, the ‘Fudge Burgers’ made us our dinner of pasta and sauce, garlic bread and salad too. The ‘Watermelons’ set up the table and then washed up afterwards.  This is part of what the Lundy experience is about, making sure that you’re part of the group, pulling your weight whether it’s making sure the Barn is neat and tidy or the team work of getting the group to the next destination. So far, they’re doing really well!
A quick game on the green where we lost 2 of the 3 tennis balls, a short diary writing slot and we’re about to go for a short walk back to the old lighthouse in an attempt to get it working again, Mexican wave style with torches! (Wonder if parents are keeping an eye out?)

Excellent Deer spotting by Molly Symons by the way! She spotted them on the horizon with an impressive torch beam, probably a dozen or so that then scarpered once someone shouted, “What is it?” We’ll perfect our stealth mode by tomorrow evening, practicing creeping up on the seals at North light.

Wednesday…

I’d normally write things on the go whilst on the island to paste into the blog when we get home, but the day walking the island took up the day (and what a day it was) and then I was just a little busy for the rest of the trip with no let up until I got home.

Letterboxing in groups all the way to the top of the island was great.  Since breakfast that morning the groups had been working excellently together with great communication and only the odd selfish act here and there – all a learning experience.  After sandwiches at ‘North Light’ we showed off our stealth skills by huddling on a platform less than 10m away from 2 baby pup seals, asleep and snoring, floating at the end of their zawn. After 20 minutes of silence we walked back to the top.  The first word was from Daisy at the top step, “That was beautiful,” and I could have just hugged her.

Letterboxing back down the rugged, west coast seeing how different it was, stopping at many things; Devil’s Slide, fog canon station, the Earthquake area for some safe scrambling but also Jenny’s Cove where we spotted loads of Puffins!  Beau also used the compass and found the ‘proved-almost-impossible-to-find’ Jenny’s Cove Letterbox.

It was only as we got close to the Old Light again that Beau started to complain of a bad stomach.  We all got back to the Barn but Beau wasn’t faring well and wasn’t keeping his liquids down. Upon advice from the warden we had to send him to the doctor but that’s difficult when you’re on an island and the boat’s not till the next day… hence he really excitedly told the gathered children, “I’m going home on the helicopter!”

Sadly it wasn’t just heat exhaustion but we heard later that they were treating him for a bug.  This was all confirmed after two more were sick in the evening, another two more in the night, another one on Thursday, and it seems another three after getting home.

Rather than leading a trip exploring the island, it was more like managing a group of children – look after and provide somewhere to lie down and sleep for some, but somewhere for the others to run, enjoy, skim stones and play.  Parents will have their water coloured postcards arrive in a couple of days too – some lovely drawings but I didn’t manage to take a photo!  They’re all just great as even the ill children have said it was the best trip ever!

Knowing about illnesses on an island and the outcomes it can have, we’d already talked about keeping clean and washing hands – I was fine (and still am) and luckily we have several children waking up, feeling fine, obviously bug-free and in school today excitedly sharing their stories.  We’ve talked the class about keeping clean and showed them how you should wash hands; it really is a skill you have to learn.

This year then, we missed out seeing the Castle, Benson’s Cave, Benjamin’s Chair, Rocket Pole and the new statue, but also being banned from coming into the tavern, we didn’t get our Lundy Burger for lunchtime; just more sandwiches in the shade on our way to the jetty.  These are things that are quite close to ‘the village’ that the children could experience when they take their parents in years to come!  Nearly all of them want to go again!

Enjoy the photos!
Mr T

Hi
Thanks for inviting me on the Lundy trip 2015. I hope everyone who was ill is recovering now and all those who weren’t ill have stayed that way.
It was quite a trip from the moment we set off on a sunny morning. We saw so many things. Some of them we expected to see (seals and puffins) and some we didn’t (hovercraft and a helicopter winchman).
Well done to all and keep up the teamwork. As a group you saw yourselves through quite a lot of adventures and your concern and help for each other was very impressive.
Thanks again.
Roger
(the man with the beard.)
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