Antics on the Ardeche!

During May half -term, 39 students and 4 staff from Hedingham School travelled south through France to Vallon Pont d’Arc, where they spent 3 days canoeing down the Ardeche River amidst spectacular limestone scenery.  Along the river there were a series of rock jumps with some capsizing too to entertain the students and develop their self-confidence.  The water level was high and rapids were challenging; however all 39 students completed the 3 day course with smiles on their faces and pride in their hearts.  Fifteen year old jack Cushney from Gestingthorpe said,’ It was brilliant fun, despite the fact that we capsized multiple times!  It was the first time I had ever been canoeing and I would like to do it again.’

 On the fourth day they travelled to Aigues Mortes, a beautiful 700 year old fortified city, with rambling alley ways, street cafes and quaint shops.  The students had a great day taking in the French way of life and even tried their hand at speaking French to buy sweets from the amazing Knight’s sweet shop there! 

From Aigues Mortes, the group then travelled to the south coast and spent 3 days on the beach at Mimosa where the students took part in sailing and windsurfing activities and also had opportunities to go on banana boats, and play beach games.  Many of the students were left in charge of their own sailing boats with hilarious consequences due to a lack of GPS! They kept the safety boat well used tracking them down. Olivia Baldwin, aged 15 from Halstead, commented, ‘Sailing was great fun but we had to be towed back by the safety boat because we got lost! Two students, who shall remain nameless, even managed to capsize their boat and lose their rudder to’ Davey Jones’s locker’.

Despite busy days on the high seas, students still had enough energy to dance the night away at the beach disco every evening and also try their hand at abseiling on the climbing wall. All the students had an excellent time learning water sports in brilliant sunshine and they enjoyed our last evening together with pizza and games on the beach while the sun was setting on what was a fantastic trip.