Year 7 went on their first residential trip with Dr Challoner’s to UKSA (United Kingdom Sailing Academy, Isle of Wight) and had a brilliant time. Newman, Foxell and Holman went on the 27th September and Pearson, Rayner, Thorne arrived on the 29th September. As Pearson, Rayner and Thorne arrived at the Isle of Wight, they were greeted by the departing side of the year, who told them how great the trip was.

On Monday and Wednesday morning, parents frantically rushed to get us excited boys to school on time for the departing coach. We said our goodbyes to our parents and loaded our belongings on to the coach. We embarked on a long journey to Southampton dock where we boarded a ferry to the Isle of Wight. Some boys had never previously been on a ferry and so it was quite an adventure for them.

After an hour, we arrived on the scenic Isle of Wight, collected our bags and had a short walk to UKSA. When we reached our destination, we started with an informative campus tour which was followed by seeing our accommodation for the first time. To ensure we made the most of our trip, we were keen to quickly gather our belongings for the first activity.

The class were split into smaller groups of approximately 15 and were all off to start their activities. Ocean safety was a key activity that all the groups had to do. Our first activities involved water sports including kayaking, rowing and the favourite keel boating. During keel boating you got to go out at sea. If you were lucky you got to steer and even rev the engine! By the end of the activities, we were rushing to get into the steaming hot showers! After a delicious dinner, we settled down in our dorms before gathering the necessary belongings for the evening activities. Egg dropping was a favourite from the night activities and involved an element of healthy competition. Egg dropping involved covering your egg with a selection of materials, then it was dropped from a height. Most eggs survived but unfortunately some didn’t make it. By the end of the day, we were all shattered and ready for bed. We couldn’t wait for the day ahead, but sleep is precious - we agree with Mr Graham on this one!

On Day 2 everyone was awake at 7:30am, some even earlier, and started to go for a full-on breakfast. After breakfast, each group went off to their respective activities. Lunchtime came in what felt like a flash and again everyone rushed to the showers. Lunchtime was short and once we had eaten, we were back out enjoying ourselves. Some groups did water-based activities whilst others learned about the more tactical side of sailing. Luckily, we didn’t have to get into our wetsuits again and we had a dry afternoon. Before we knew it, the day had flown by again and we were settling down for dinner. When we had finished, we prepared ourselves for the next activities, and got right into them. The teachers and kitchen staff surprised us all, especially the birthday boy, with the biggest birthday cake we’d ever seen – it was yummy! After another long day, we tucked into our beds not wanting the morning to come as we were enjoying ourselves so much.

We woke up on the third day knowing we only had one activity left before heading back to school. Mr Graham knew that it would be too much of a faff getting into our wetsuits, so we all did something dry to end our activities. Now was the time of the trip which we dreaded most: the journey home. After a long ferry journey and an even longer coach journey, we finally arrived at DCGS to see our delighted parents waiting for us and we handed over our heavy bags with lots of washing.

UKSA was a brilliant trip for all to get to know each other better and try out some new water-based activities. Nothing like being thrown in at the deep end! Hopefully if Covid doesn’t stop us we can go back in the summer.