Year 9 Watersports Holiday – Ardeche, South of France. August 2018
Beth Martin-Nixon reviews the recent Year 9 Watersports holiday to the Ardeche:
Watersports PGL 2018 – France
We arrived at school on a rainy Sunday afternoon, not how I pictured the start of our long sunny holiday in the South of France. The French flag was flying outside of school as we boarded the coach and set off for Dover.
We arrived at Dover, later than planned due to the motorway traffic and boarded the ferry at 10 pm. It didn’t take long for us to find the dining area for our evening meal. We were soon feasting on peanuts, Starbucks chocolate coins and Italian breadsticks. We had a look around the onboard shop, but as the boat was rocking we tumbled into the shelves of overpriced chocolate.
We soon arrived in Calais, and all fell asleep straight after driving off the ferry. We only woke up when we stopped for breakfast at a French cafe called Paul. This was our first chance to speak French, but as some of us hadn’t taken French as a subject, we had to use Google Translate to order our breakfasts.
When we first arrived at Lou Valagran PGL site, we went up to our chalets and unpacked. We then got ready for our activities, and my group went Mountain Biking first, whilst other groups did high ropes. We all enjoyed being outside in the sunshine and a barmy 26C and leaving rainy Shaw behind. Mr Douglas took loads of photo for Twitter to keep parents informed.
The next day we all got up early, so that we could get to Aqualand down on the Mediterranean coast, before it got too busy. We had a great time in the water park on the slides and in the pool. With about ten minutes before we had to leave, everyone jumped into the wave pool, where we messed about until we needed to go back on the coach. We didn’t have enough time to get changed, so we sat on the coach with wet clothes from our swimming costumes. We watched Dirty Dancing on the coach on the way back to PGL.
The following day we started our two-day descent down the Ardeche. We kayaked down the river and many rapids in our pods. Each group had their own call; our leader, Ethan shouted ‘Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme,’ and we had to shout, ‘It’s canoeing time’.
That night we slept out under the stars. There weren’t any clouds, so we could see the stars, which were so pretty, but it was so cold! Most people didn’t get much sleep that night either because it was rather cold, or because the people who were asleep were snoring so loudly! But it was a great adventure.
We had an early wakeup call in the morning so we could get the camp packed away and get ready to set off on the Ardeche. The barrel, which contained all our clothes, flooded, so everything we had taken, was soaked. We went down loads of rapids, and we capsized so many times. The PGL staff had a lot of fun capsizing Mrs Storah, Mrs Brown and Miss Thomasson, and each other into the river. We had a great time splashing the water at each other with the paddles. At lunch, A Subway style sandwich, we completed a rock jump off an extremely high rock into the river. It felt like I was falling forever. After we got off the Ardeche, we all went for an ice cream in the nearby town. We all slept very well that night.
The next day, we stayed on the PGL site. My group went kayaking in the morning, where we had a game of Quidditch in the boats and did Raft Building in the afternoon. In the evening we went to the nearby town of Goudargues. We went out on a town trail. We spent a lot of time looking round a small market in the centre of the town, where we bought presents for people at home. We then went back to PGL to have a disco and to have some French food, and some people tried eating snails, which were very salty, and nobody seemed to enjoy eating them very much.
We got up the next day and prepared for a canyoning excursion. We all sang on the coach. When we arrived at the canyoning place, we got dressed in our wetsuits, wet shoes and wet socks. What a sight! When I jumped in the river, the water was freezing! We completed lots of rockslides, and at one of them we had our photograph taken, although none of the pictures were as funny as the one of Mr Leach. We then zip wired over the valley, it was easier not to look down, to get back to the coach.
We then went back to PGL, where we had our own disco, as it was our last night. We went up to our chalets for a final night of good sleep. When we woke up in the morning, we went down to do our final Shake Down with the PGL staff before our final activity of the holiday.
Before we left PGL we had some photographs taken as a group out on the beach. It was sad to leave the PGL staff behind.
I loved the Watersports trip so much! It was full of amazing experiences and memories that I will have with me forever. I would 100% recommend this trip to future Watersports Year 9’s. I’ve Had The Time of My Life. Thank you so much to Mr Douglas, Mr Leach, Mrs Storah, Mrs Brown and Miss Thomasson, for organising the trip and taking us away on an excellent holiday!