Alton Castle

26th October 2018

Year 6 Visit to Alton Castle
On 24th October, Year 6 were invited to spend 3 days on retreat at Alton Castle. 50 (very excited) students and staff boarded the coach and set off to Staffordshire.
As we pulled up, the autumn leaves gently fluttered to the ground and the sun shone on the green roof above the chapel. The team, led by James, were there to meet us and helped us to unload the luggage from the coach.
First impressions of the castle... "Are we staying there? It's actually a castle!" "WOW!" "Thank you for bringing us here."
We found our rooms, met for prayers, grabbed our coats and had a chance to explore. After a very nice dinner of lasagne, rainbow cake and custard, we set off for our evening activities: night-line, exploring the beautiful church of St John the Baptist, playing bucket ball and creating contracts. We had a brilliant evening.
It took a while to settle down to sleep as everyone was so excited, but eventually the castle was quiet... until a room of boys got up at 3am to tidy their rooms ready for inspection! Perhaps watches need to be on the Christmas wish list!!
A very sleepy group of students made their way downstairs on Thursday. They soon perked up after a nice breakfast and after a lovely prayer service, everyone was ready for a full day of activities. We split into groups and went biking, trekking and climbing. We also had the chance to build a camp fire and toast marshmallows.
Everyone needed the 'Shower Hour' and then it was dinner with chocolate crispy cake. We enjoyed hymn practice before going to Mass in the beautiful church of St John. Students read beautifully, helped Fr The and everyone enjoyed the singing. 
Then it was back to the castle for a quiz and a disco. We have a talented bunch of dancers! (Including the staff). The day went really quickly and unsurprisingly, everyone was settled into bed a lot more quickly than the previous evening.
Friday morning brought rain which was not required, but no-one's spirits were dampened. Loved the beans on toast for breakfast and we headed out for our final activity. The sun came out during the morning and it was another beautiful autumnal day - if a little chilly. We definitely needed that camp fire. 
We have had a brilliant time. It's been a super opportunity to make new friends and get to see different sides to everyone's character. This year, the theme was 'discipleship'. We've really seen how so many of our friends go out of their way to help and support us and we have had the chance to reflect on those people at home who put others first. We hope that we can give something back to our families and communities.
We have also found out new things about ourselves. Some of us have been challenged, physically and mentally, and we have shown resilience and determination to succeed. These are life skills that we will take away with us and that will really help us in the future. 
What an amazing experience!