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Oates Afternoon

Read about our first Oates Afternoon of the Spring Term

New Year’s Day, in my childhood, would be spent hiking the Bens of Scotland with my extended family, experiencing whatever the weather would throw at us. Uncle Xavier would always say “This mountain looks at its best in dreich weather boy!”, goading me into believing I was going to have the time of my life whilst suffering from the elements. Looking back, I really did have the time of my life!

In the same spirit the Year 6 team, diminished in numbers due to 11+ exams, set forth to attack Beverley Brook on their New Year’s hike. With no Ben in sight, another challenge stood before the troops – to navigate their way to the historic Wimbledon Mill and back again, completely unaided, a total distance of 4.5 miles.

Splitting off into two groups and with maps in hand, the teams were off like a shot. Grass, gravel, sand, mud and even a murky bog were all negotiated smoothly as the Orange team followed the line of the river bank halfway to the destination. That was the point when Dylan “Grylls” Adyha came into his own, leading his troops to the target!

A quick pit stop and they were back on their way again, speeding in and out of tree trunks whilst listening to “McCarthy” tales, yet always stopping to say “Good afternoon” to members of the passing public. Having never passed the Blue team throughout the entire course travelling in opposite directions on a loop, our suspicions were heightened. As the sun began to sink we were greeted with the most incredible vistas of the glowing sunset beaming through the trees and shimmering on the surface of the water. The Orange team adventurers, determined and forthright, returned to the start point with 5 minutes to spare only to find the Blues had beaten them back. Mr Gibbs’ white fabric trainers were in pristine condition, almost like they had just been released from their box…intriguing!

Ultimately, winners and losers aside - a fun, adventurous, physically taxing and memorable afternoon was enjoyed by all, in honour of Captain Oates - former Willingtonian!

Mr Thisanayagam
Deputy Head Curriculum