M.G.S. Magazine - July 1955

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MGS Magazine 1955
School Trips


On the morning of August 19th, 1955, twenty three pupils of this school will be arising at the unaccustomed hour of 6 a.m. The reason for this madness will be apparent when, some fourteen hours later, they will be eating (sea permitting) their first meal in the ancient capital of Flanders.

A steady flow of money has been coming in weekly in preparation for this visit and already the arrangements are well under way, passports have been obtained, transport arranged as well as meals en route, and currency difficulties overcome. Perhaps in the dark days of winter in a Latin, Mathematics or Science class, many a pupil has been, in his imagination, treading le cobbled streets or boulevards of Bruges. Perhaps when chastised for sleeping during a lesson he has really been lying exhausted in a boat, drifting dreamily along one of the Flemish canals, or perhaps, when assuming a fiendish expression, he has only been practising the expression for his passport photograph. Surely a new interest in French has been aroused and the Publishers of Yorkshire-French and French-Yorkshire dictionaries will have profited by this interest.

I, myself, have found the tedious jobs of completing forms in triplicate, arranging timetables, currency, passports and other details have been made lighter by contemplation of the summer joys to come. The partaking of school dinner has become an initiation to the sumptuous meals of frogs' legs and snails to come.

As the time draws nearer, dreams will soon become reality and the culmination of all this preparation will result, I hope, in a holiday which will be remembered happily by all concerned.



This year, as a change from, the Lake District, the Market town of Alston, on the Pennines, was chosen for the invasion by a party of forty, under the care of Mr. Evans, Mr. Barker and last, but not least, Miss Swannack. Easter week was the date chosen for the assault and we left Mirfield on Thursday in brilliant sunshine. Unfortunately, typical English weather set in during the delightful journey and prevailed until we reached our destination-Nent Hall, a Holiday Fellowship youth centre. The girls were accommodated in two bedrooms in the main building and the boys were in three bedrooms in the wing of the Hall.

On Friday, after the usual first night 'sleep', we set off in mist over Middle Fell (where some succeeded in losing themselves in the mist), to Garrigill. After lunch we continued to Ashgill Force, then over the moors to Nent Head for tea. From here we took the road to Nent Hall.

Beautiful weather arrived the next day for our ride to Hadrian's Wall. A private bus took us to the wall. Then we walked along the wall from Twice Brewed (Y.H.A.) to the evacuated Roman camp of Borcovicium. Then to Chesters Museum, by bus, where some historians enjoyed looking round more excavations (and others cracked stones while more walked to the nearby village to stock up food and drink). In the evening about half the party went to the 'cinema' in Alston; the obliging driver did a double journey for them.

Sunday (being a free day) was spent as we pleased. Some went to church at Nenthead in the morning, others went walking.

We went to foreign parts on Monday, over bogs and Roman roads, to mention nothing of hills, to Leipzig, Moscow and Mohope. In the evening Miss Swannack organised the first round of a Table Tennis Tournament.

Three parties set out next day. A Party were to attempt Cross Fell, B went to Nenthead, over to Garrigill and back to Alston along the river. (Some of them also walked back along the river to Nent Hall but I joined the bus party back). C Party were supposed to have a race 'Nent Hall to Alston and back in a record number of times during the day.' The Table Tennis Tournament continued in the evening.

There were again three parties on the last day, a beautiful day and a journey some of us will never forget. "A" party left the bus before the main party on our way to Cauldron Snout to which we walked two miles to enjoy the sight of this raging cataract. Then "C" party returned to the bus while "B" went on to High Force. We had to cross a river on the way by paddling. We, the B and A parties, arrived at High Force to find C party sunbathing!!! I don't think a last night needs any describing except that the Table Tennis Tournament was won by K. Walker and Frieda Jones.

The bus came next day to take us home. It was a lovely day as we left Alston and the sun shone all the way home to Mirfield where we arrived for tea. For me it had been my first Easter walking holiday, but I am, and I am sure everyone else is, looking forward to next year's holiday. Thank you Mr. Evans, Mr. Barker and Miss Swannack.



You have carefully packed your haversack, after having made sure that your hammer is safely in, and are all ready to start on your hike. So, immediately, you step out into pouring rain and then on to a bus, having lost much energy and enthusiasm for the joys of hiking.

The rain continues all the time you are travelling to Malham Y.H.A. It rains down your neck, since somehow your waterproof seems to leave a huge gap round your neck, which no amount of packing will fill; it rains down your legs from the drips off your mac which seep into your socks and through there into your boots, whose seams have mysteriously opened and let in all the water they possibly could. Apparently the first lesson is to harden the beginner. You have to eat your tea on the march, paddling in what once were dry boots. How you long for a lovely warm, crackling fire with hot toast instead of soggy tomato sandwiches!

So, a party of eight drowned rats arrived at Malham Y.H.A. from Bell Busk. Amongst them was yourself. How you welcomed the warmth of he drying room! How you loathed the person who in the middle of the night woke you up to rhapsodize about the moon!

On the next day you have a resumé of the first lesson. You get your feet wet, then, after clambering up steep hillsides and down through becks you reach a wall. This is no ordinary wall for it has anything from spiders in its crevices to the rarest coral fossil in the blocks of limestone. Here everyone begins to hammer and chip furiously at what look like shells, but what you are told are brachipods, stuck in the stone. The result-howls of anguish at near misses and shouts of triumph at success.

During the day, in glorious sunshine, you clamber up Gordale, winning many honourable scars in doing so, besides re-wetting yourself-to cool off. Coming across a few mad biologists you try to help them by finding a horse-leech-but these are as rare as trees in a forest, pity! To complete the round you go to the Tarn and Malham Cove-then Y.H.A., ahoy!

Strangely enough, the third lesson is very similar to the first, only more so. This time mist accompanies rain and besides walking in boots of water you also founder in marshes and swamp. Also, after repairing a wall which, no names mentioned, someone will knock down, losing the track and finding it again through no-one's fault, you are assured that there are beautiful panoramas to be seen, but that is nobody's business since all you can see is white mist. There is, however, compensation at Settle where all eat a hearty tea of beans and chips and then the sun obligingly comes out. You dry out at Hellifield and think what a glorious weekend you have had, then sorrowfully turn to go home on British Railways' excellent train service.

As a finishing touch, when you reach Leeds, warm and happy, going under a bridge you find the only puddle for miles around and-yes! wet feet again. But what does that matter now? You are a fully fledged geologist and can term yourself knowledgeable on such things as brachiopods.