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Trip to Cevennes

After a considerable journey the length of France, the group of Year 9 pupils and staff  arrived at the ski station, Mont Lozere to find the Transhumance Festival was in full swing.  This event celebrates the movement of livestock from the valleys up on to pasture at altitude and represents the coming of summer to the local population.  A hundred years ago as many as 100,000 sheep would be herded through the market, but this year it was around 2500 – still an incredible number of sheep! The sun was shining brightly and the Eastbourne visitors enjoyed mixing with the local inhabitants perusing the stalls and car boot sale. 

Before supper on the first evening the group set off for a short hike into the National Park witnessing some incredible views stretching as far as the Alps 200 km to the west.  They returned to a hearty meal and some post-supper team-building exercises, followed by a game or two of football, volleyball and finally a session of manhunt to round off a hot, eventful and tiring day. 

The next day they traveled to the spectacular Gorges du Tarn before walking down into the village of St Enimie. The daughter of a French king, St Enimie, found that the copper sulphate rich waters helped to control her leprosy. After some free time in town and lunch by the river they headed off for Aven Armand, a cavern 100m below the surface that is large enough to contain Notre Dame cathedral.  It is brought to life with an incredible light show.

The morning of the third day saw the group set off for Mende, the largest town in the region. They divided into two groups with one taking on the high ropes course first and the other group visiting the recycling centre in Mende. The two groups swapped activities later in the day.

At the high ropes location it was wonderful to see the superb teamwork demonstrated by the pupils and the support shown for those that really struggled with heights. Everyone either completed the course or massively exceed their expectations; a wonderful display of courage and tenacity.

Pupils were given an eye-opening (and nostril-clearing) insight into the developed world’s inability to recycle and the long term impacts of waste and packaging.  On their return to the high ropes course they stopped to draw a field sketch of Mende from the view point to discuss town-planning, infrastructure and renewable energy.

The weather was glorious for the whole trip and everyone enjoyed this action-packed end to the summer term.