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Tales from Pendarren 2023

Monday 6th of November

Day 1

We arrived at lunchtime, after an easy coach journey.  The children cheered as we swept through the gates and saw Pendarren House for the first time. The staff welcomed us warmly and talked us through what to expect over the next few days. Then we were all fitted with waterproofs and fed a delicious lunch, before the children were set free to play in the beautiful grounds in the autumn sunshine.  Everyone felt very happy.


Next came our first activities – Rob and Edie’s groups climbed one of the local mountains, getting to the top for sunset. It was quite magical!  Rhoda, Jimmar and Emma’s groups took on an orienteering challenge in the Pendarren grounds – we discovered it is important to hold your map the right way up… After that it was time for showers, dinner and fun in our bedrooms before bed.


We are looking forward to another exciting day today (Tuesday). Most of us have had seconds of cooked breakfast and tea, and we are raring to go.

Pendarren – Day 2

After a surprisingly good night’s sleep, we were awoken by Neil (our Pendarren leader) ringing a bell loudly in our rooms. We jumped up bursting with excitement for our first full day of activities. A delicious cooked breakfast was devoured hungrily, and washed down with bucketloads of tea, before we gathered all our kit for the day ahead.

Emma’s and Rhoda’s groups did a day of geography field work. We dressed in warm clothes, all-over, waterproof suits, wellies and helmets and set off in the mini-bus into the hills to the source of a river.  The weather was damp, but the scenery was stunning and it soon cleared. We followed the river down the valley, noting how it grew in size and force, before following the river underground into a network of limestone caves.  We clambered over rocks, strode through underground streams, and squeezed and slid through tight spaces. It was brilliant!

Rob and Edie’s groups went canoeing and climbing. The sun shone and the children got the hang of it brilliantly, paddling like professionals up and down a beautiful, calm stretch of river. Jimmar’s group investigated wildlife habitats in the grounds of Pendarren and then visited Big Pit, one of the vast coal mines that used to bring prosperity to the Brecon Beacons. They wore head torches and protective gear like real miners, and travelled down the shaft in the original miners’ cage.  It was both exciting and fascinating!


We returned to Pendarren in the late afternoon for hot showers and time hanging out with our friends, before a huge dinner of curry or baked potatoes. Pudding – waffles, banana, ice-cream and chocolate sauce – was very popular indeed.  After dinner, we did a star-lit walk in the darkness around the Pendarren grounds and played torchlit games on the grassy playing field behind the house.

It has been a fantastic day!

Day 3

Once again, Year 6 children and teachers slept like proverbial logs and were ready for a fresh day of fun and thrills.  A new addition of tasty potato puffs was on the breakfast menu as well as the usual fare.  The children are really getting into the swing of the routines, helping with chores, getting themselves ready for activities and improving at finding their ‘lost’ bits and bobs!

 It was Jimmar and Edie’s groups turns to do the River Study.  They too followed the course of the river as it snaked down the valley and were in awe of the beautiful scenery to be found in the north of the National Park. In an underground cave they were surprised to find loads of spiders! They clambered down to a magnificent waterfall and thoroughly enjoyed being showered by it whilst being held very tight by our brilliant instructors.


Rhoda and Rob’s groups descended to the depths beneath the Welsh Mountain at Big Pit.  We enjoyed listening to tales of the the lives of miners who worked there over generations  – the conditions were grim but he miners’ memories were mostly happy ones.  It was fascinating to hear stories from the ex-miners who showed us around. In the afternoon we pond-dipped for minibeasts – the children gave that activity 10 out of 10.

Emma’s group perfected their paddling skills on the canoe and then tested their strength and agility on the climbing wall.  Their exertions made them good and hungry for the evening meal  – spaghetti bolognese followed by delicious apple crumble and custard.  To round off the evening, the children became detectives in a murder mystery game.  We weren’t surprised when they solved the crime – what a clever bunch they are!

Day 4 

Yesterday was another fun packed day with groups catching up on those activities they hadn’t yet done.  None of us were deterred by the torrential showers that poured down on us as we climbed, canoed, followed the river, caved and dipped for mini beasts. When the sun did come out, we really appreciated it! Dinner was fish and chips which went down a treat, followed by jelly and ice-cream.  The long awaited opening of the tuck shop heralded the start of our party evening.  Our common room was transformed into a dance floor with Emma’s disco lights. Jimmar provided the tunes from a list of song requests supplied by the children that was several pages long!  Year 6 did not disappoint with their dance moves and sang along to almost every track (thanks to Hilla’s brilliant training). Everyone enjoyed a really joyful evening.  With the dawning of our final day, the children are now packed up and ready for one final activity before we jump on the coach and head up the M4 to London.  See you all soon!