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The second half of the autumn term has been all about orienteering, with objective number one being ‘where are we?’. Moving swiftly on to orientating maps and relating features around us to what’s on the map, we could then start heading off to find controls, hopefully in the right direction….but not always! We have honed these skills on various fixed courses in differing terrain, such as Whinlatter Forest and Talking Tarn, to the grand surrounding of Bowes Museum. Year 3 and 4 also ventured to Rickerby Park this term, a new venue for us to use.  

Mid November saw 6 enthusiastic orienteers from Years 5 and 6 head to Temple Newsam in Leeds, where they represented Hunter Hall in the 2023 British Schools Orienteering Championships. All of our competitors should be proud of their efforts, demonstrating great courage, and representing the school so well; well done to each of them. An extra special mention must be made for one young man who came in with little experience through. George Borrows stormed to first place in the Year 5 Boys’ category in 14 minutes. A national champion and clearly a natural orienteer – massive congratulations to him! 

On the subject of orienteering events, I have been asked by some children and parents where they can find other competitions taking place. There are a number of orienteering clubs based in Cumbria that hold events year round. Border Liners is our most local, but Lakes Orienteering and West Cumberland also arrange events in locations that aren’t too far away. See their website for details. Border Liners did have a Penrith urban event arranged for in early December, ideal for children, but it was postponed due to the snow. Keep an eye out for this being rescheduled.  

We also benefitted from a week-long visit from Cyclewise this half term, who worked with year 5 on their Bikeability training, learning how to be safe on the road. They all acquitted themselves brilliantly and passed their level 2 award with flying colours. 

Towards the end of November, Year 5 and 6 headed to the Kendal Mountain Festival schools’ session, an annual event we attend and a firm favourite in the calendar. We saw a range of speakers, inspiring the children on a number of topics. Some favourites amongst these were professional mountain bike riders; professional tree climbing conservationists and scientists who use sophisticated 3d imaging technology with drones to do map work and investigative study over live volcanoes and crevasses. A highlight for many children, however, was Mr Spooner being volunteered to perform as a mermaid (complete with costume)  on stage to help an author bring to life a story about sewage in inland waterways.