Shell OA Week

From leaping off sheer rock faces to scaling the peaks of the Brecon Beacons, no challenge was too great for pupils on Marlborough College OA Week.

All of the 180+ pupils in the Shell had the opportunity to round off their first year at the school by participating in the Outdoors Activities trip.

The week saw pupils head off in house groups to stay in bunkhouses near Brecon, the Gower peninsular, north Wales or the Dorset coast.

Whilst there, pupils agreed to abandon their mobile phones in order to focus on challenges aimed at building teamwork and self-confidence.

Joshua Umeh (C1 Sh) spent the week based near Brecon. He said his year group had benefited hugely from the experience.

“It was great fun,” he said. “Some of it was tough though! For instance the two-day trek when it was pouring with rain and we were all tired – that was really difficult.

“But it was satisfying that we came through it and we were proud of ourselves for having achieved something. It has definitely brought us closer together as a year group.”

Like other houses, Joshua’s cohort took part in a broad range of activities ranging from rock climbing and caving to gorge walking, hiking and overnight camping. They also visited coal mining museum The Big Pitt, in Blaenavon, to find out about the history of the region. Other groups went sailing, canoeing and surfing.

“My favourite activity of the week was the caving as it was a new experience which put me out of my comfort zone,” added Joshua.

Whilst on OA Week pupils were responsible for cooking their meals and keeping their bunk houses tidy. Often this meant getting up at 6am to make breakfast.

Josh Renton (C1 Sh) said: “The most fun part of the week was the gorge walking. Everyone enjoyed it because of the high jumps and getting over the fear factor.

“I also enjoyed getting up and cooking breakfast in the morning. I can now do a pretty good Full English so might do it when I’m at home!”

OA Week has been a popular fixture in the calendar at Marlborough College for decades and is a vital step in the development of those who take part.

Russ Tong, Marlborough College’s Head of Outdoor Activities, said: “OA Week is a chance for Shell pupils to be away from the technology and the pressures that many young people are under and just be themselves.

“The confidence and learning that they take from the activities is something we hope stays with them and stands them in good stead throughout their time at the College.”

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