On Sunday the 8th of March, twelve students (the majority of whom are from the junior school), and two staff members braved the icy cold, tidal conditions of the River Esk for a day long canoeing expedition.

Arriving at East Barnby Outdoor Education Centre a little before 10:00am meant that the group had plenty of time to get kitted up with extra layers, waterproofs and all the necessary safety equipment, all of which was provided by the centre.

The group then ventured down to the river where the students’ teamwork were tested in the unloading and preparation of the canoes. Once preparations were complete, the voyage was underway – and after several of the vessels experienced steering issues early on, the fleet was on its way towards Whitby Harbour!

Just after lunch the students’ survival instincts were put to the test when they put themselves ashore onto a small island near Ruswarp. Once they had walked off their weary sea legs, they were instructed to build a fire ring and collect dry timber. Soon, with the help of the staff, they had a roaring blaze on which to roast marshmallows and boil water for hot chocolate.

From the island it was smooth rowing right into the harbour, and after the students engaged in a friendly water fight, it was time to call it a day.

After a quick stopover at the Outdoor Centre, just long enough to return borrowed equipment/clothing, thank Chris (the expeditions guide) and regret the water fight, the group returned to school.

A great day was had by all but special thanks must go to (Captain) Ian Richardson for driving the minibus and to the East Barnby Outdoor Centre, especially to our wonderful guide Chris.

Justin Mayne (Gap Student)