Looking back and looking forward. The Ford Castle Adventure for 2014 starts now!
By Jack Franks
2013 was a fantastic year for Ford Castle, a year where people laughed, conquered fears, tried new things and overall had a memorable experience. Over the course of last year we had a lot of visitors, with schools and EFL children joining us at our Northumberland base. During their stay with us they experienced the thrill of what Ford Castle offers; the numerous activities that challenged their skill, minds and nerve. Of course there was a lot of fun chucked in the mix as well, with smiles a plenty beaming on every face.
In April we had a visit from Amble First School, and they proved to be an infectious and excitable group. Later into April, a Spanish school, St Michaels, visited us all the way from Madrid. They had an extended stay at the castle and tried everything we have to offer. During their 11 day stay with us they packed in a whole range of activities and excursions around the North East, and visited a local school, Longridge Towers, as well as Bamburgh and Holy Island. Although the weather might not have been quite what they’re used to, the St Michaels had loads of fun in the great British outdoors. The majority of the nights saw a disco and team games, and they definitely seemed to be in the party spirit throughout their stay.
Another highlight of last year was a visit from historian Dan Snow. In May, he visited us as part of a report for the BBC hit show ‘The One Show,’ to mark the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden. Whilst he was with us he toured the nearby Battlefield, talked about the
weapons and tactics used by both armies, and visited the spot where King James IV was killed by the enemy. To have such a high profile visit was exciting, and our caretaker and resident History buff Paul told Dan a few little known facts about the castle on camera.
Throughout July and August, our English Language camp was in full swing. We had visitors from France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and Holland! Over the duration of their stay the students, aged between 8 and 18, participated in a host of activities alongside their language studies, and soaked up the tradition and culture that comes with the castle and its surroundings. Broomstick training, soap making, dressing up in traditional outfits, canoeing, zip wiring, the list goes on. They also enjoyed trips out to Edinburgh Castle, sampling the sights of one of the UK’s most beautiful cities, and even had time to stop off for ice cream.
On the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of August EFL Students and actors participated and reinacted the ‘Battle of Flodden’ as part of the Flodden discovery weekend. Over the course of the weekend the students assisted in the running of the event, handing out leaflets and info, as well running the admissions tent, and of course taking part in some of the battle re-enactment, which was one of the bloodiest battles in history!
We’ve had small parties, huge groups, international students and celebrities visit us this year, and we’ve had so much fun looking back that we can’t wait for the 2014 season to begin.
This year we look to continue in the same vein, and even improve upon the excitement of the year just gone.
We’re excited for former visitors to make a return, and to show new visitors just how exciting our unique centre is!
We hope everyone checks out our social pages too – we have daily updates, info and photographs added to our Facebook and Twitter pages every day, some fun challenges, riddles and competitions too, so give us a follow!
Have you seen our YouTube channel yet? Once the season gets going next month, expect to see regular updates.
The first video looking back at 2013 is online now, so if you have 3 minutes and 47 seconds spare check it out…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMXDST0jyho.
May this year hold many moments which will live in the memory for years to come. Here’s to 2014!