Thanks to a new Atlantic College school calendar, the entire school received a well desired 1 week break between the 23 and 31 of October. Most people decided to go on holiday, the Europeans went home and some people stayed with Brits and Europeans. A lucky 40 or so people however, choose to stay at the school and spend the week living in St. Donat’s castle; including me. I stayed in a guest-room in one of the many castle towers. As you may have read, the place was infested with flies.
For me, part of the reason or staying was that I would have more time to finish work and catch up with the murderous IB schedule and demands. To that extend, the week went reasonably well. Of the 32 items I had hoped to finish, I completed almost 22 of them. Given the holiday nature of the week, I’d consider that a reasonable completion rate. Certainly, I ought to have been more productive and had worked faster and harder, but it wasn’t a bad effort all-things-considered.
During the week, the school’s Extra Mural Center or EMC organized a range of activities for us to do. There weren’t too many people that signed up but that actual made the groups smaller and better since we each got more opportunities. On Monday, I went climbing at ‘boulders’ [www.boulders-climbing.com], just north east of Cardiff. Along with 3 other students, we went scrambling hands over heal on all types of walls. We did slabs (forward leading walls), walls (vertical walls) and overhangs (walls that leaded backwards). As you can see from the photos, the place is absolutely massive with all kinds of climbing walls. We had a speed competition later on in the day with me and Vera beating the ‘other team’ (A Scot and a Bahrainian, both from Gwynedd). Simon, the head of EMC, was undisputedly the fastest, beating both me and an AC alumni by more than 3 seconds.
On Tuesday, I signed up to go caving, most only the advice of others since I had absolutely no idea what the hell caving was all about and what it would entail. It turned out that it involved exploring an underground cave system in all shapes and forms. We spent parts of it wading through water, climbing on all fours and getting pushed through a tiny slit. We had the pleasure of going deep down into an inner cave where no light could penetrate and enjoyed a minute or two in complete darkness. To be honest, the water was f***ing cold, I found myself struggling to unzip my dry suit, change and to put on new clothes once we were out. Nevertheless, caving was a cool experience, and certainly one I’m glad i tried since I may not get the chance to do it again anytime soon.