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March 4-5 witnessed nine students and two staff endure sub zero temperatures when they spent the night in the New Forest cocooned in survival shelters.

Aiming High is a project run in partnership with Tile Barn Activity Centre based in the New Forest. Throughout the year ten students chosen from Yr7 will be presented with a series of physical challenges designed to help them grow in confidence, endurance and respect for others. This was their second and most difficult challenge.

The day started with an 11km walk through the New Forest, where students learnt map reading, how to use a compass and the value of supporting each other when the going got tough. Upon their return to the activity centre students then faced the immediate ordeal of constructing shelters where they would spend the night ‘sleeping’ in woods situated at Tile Barn. Following this everyone lent a hand in preparing the evening meal – skinning rabbits, plucking pheasants and preparing vegetables to create a broth that was enjoyed by all. Participants then talked round a camp fire about what they had achieved during the day and then retired to their shelter for a night when temperatures dropped to below -6!

Morning woke with the sound of bewildered laughter as we rejoiced at our survival. Breaking through a crust of frost we fought our way out of two sleeping bags and began the process of warming up by frying a hearty breakfast. Shelters were dismantled and all borrowed items accounted for before returning to Harrow Way.

Throughout both days students displayed encouraging levels of respect and support for each other. Everyone admitted it had been tough but thoroughly enjoyable. Next challenge: Kayaking. BRING IT ON!!

A gallery of photos is available here.