28 June 2017

Year 2 left school under a blue sky and in great excitement in what was to be the hottest day of the year so far – around 35⁰C! Fortunately, we had all administered sunscreen, wore hats and took a 40 litre barrel of water to top up our drinks bottles. It wasn’t long into the journey when the first round of the “Is it lunchtime?” question began. On arrival we found that half the Midlands had arranged their school trips for the same day and the queue was enormous. It transpired that there was extra security in place which included adult bag searches and customers entering one at a time – including the school parties. Once through the turnstiles, we congregated by the two pillories labelled ‘drunkard’ and ‘thief’, a perfect opportunity for photographs (…and wishful thinking?). Our next adventure was going to be visiting the Horrible Histories Maze but we were unlucky and heard announcements that it was about to be closed. However, not to be deterred, we walked around the castle, noticing that the ballista had been retired and removed. We entered the bailey through the Bear Tower entrance and made our way up the motte (mound) where in 1068, the castle was originally located. Last year, we ran to the top to demonstrate how exhausting it would have been for the attacking soldiers. This year, due to the heat, we walked leisurely and with frequent pauses to ‘admire the view’. Once we reached the summit the boys saw at first-hand how the positioning of a castle by a river and high ground with a view was essential to its success. It was then time to make our way to watch the trebuchet display.  The boys were enthralled and spell-bound by the machine; its size and the distance the shot was hurled. They learnt a little of the War of The Roses and entered into the spirit of audience participation by out-shouting the enemy. The visit continued with a packed lunch in the shade of nearby trees and a conveniently placed toilet block! Once fed and watered, the boys took their seats at the birds of prey arena. The boys were agog with amazement at the sheer size and speed of the birds that were exhibited in the display and entertaining talk. The next adventure was a walk on the battlements, up and down towers, peering through arrow slits and learning about bear baiting. We rounded off the exploration with a hands-on experience walking through the Kingmaker exhibition. There was so much to see and do in our short time there – but we all enjoyed the day and were very tired in the coach coming back!

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