We strive to ensure that there are courses and activities that everyone will enjoy and benefit from. Here's just a brief overview of some of the exciting things you can expect here at Tirabad.
Pupils work in groups of 6 – 8 who rotate around a series of challenges. Some are quite physical, others require teamwork and planning. Different problems are used for different year groups and the aim is to develop cooperation and planning, as well as provide feelings of achievement and fun!
Forest Adventure Walk
All the group (36 plus staff) go out for a day in the local forest. The walk will be broken up by various challenges and learning opportunities ranging from tree types to welsh lessons. Most trips include passing through serious mud and scrambling up streams. It is a full and tiring day that serves as a good introduction to the centre and can set the tone for the week.
There are several courses laid out ranging from an indoor course to a challenging course in the nearby forest. Which ones get used depends on the pupil's experience. The children work in small groups (2-4) allowing someone to summon help if one of the team gets hurt.
The groups explore one or more caves over the full day. Which cave depends on the age and experience of the group, combined with the conditions of the cave if it is affected by rainfall. Often the most worried about activity, that most pupils later rate as the best. Always includes learning about cave formation and development to some degree.
Only usually done by year 7. In the morning the group visits the Elan valley dam and reservoir complex. They use the visitor's centre and complete a quiz under the guidance of a ranger. The group then drives around the dams, stopping for explanations en-route, and goes inside one of them. In the afternoon they undertake a short walk around the reservoirs which allows them to appreciate what they have been studying, and see various wildlife.
Done by year 7 and 8 in two gullies suitable for the ages. An adventurous activity that build teamwork, trust and awareness of abilities by climbing up and down steep stream ways.
Usually done only by year 7, this day involves the children building shelters from natural materials, starting fires with sparks onto tinder, finding water and boiling it, cooking bread on the fire, following tracks to find their lunch and a range of field craft skills as the opportunity arises. This activity is based on site.
Is done on one of a range of venues, either quarried limestone or natural sandstone. The children will learn to belay each other (hold the ropes for) and how to climb. They will develop trust in their belayers and in the equipment, and this day often includes an opportunity to abseil too. The activity includes some learning about how the devices used work.
Is done on site on our own range. Children have to follow safety rules but will shoot numerous times at targets, balloons and odd shapes. There is often some form of competition.
Is done by year 8 upwards. The group will ascend one or more of the peaks in the Brecon Beacons learning how to navigate and walk as a team, as well as observing the plant & animal life, landforms and human impact as the opportunity arises.
Is a more challenging gully scramble. More drops, jumps, rope work, water and fun. Venues vary according to weather conditions and the group's age and ability.
The group goes out in 2 person open canoes and learns how to paddle as a pair, various skills and how to watch out for and aid each other. Subsequent trips may allow a group to go out on a river to encounter rapids and white water. Initial experiences are on canals and placid rivers.
The same as canoeing except the children are in one-person kayaks and the skill development is all their own.
Whole day problem solving and teamwork challenges that involve the groups amassing points for how well they do to progress and/or win. It is all based on site.
Usually done by year 8. The morning is spent on site being rained to serve as spies – signalling, stretcher carries, parachute building etc. After lunch they get camouflage face paint and set off on a series of local challenges that involve crossing streams, building shelters, following trails, all while trying not to be observed by 'the enemy'. In the end they find a box which allows them to earn a prize.
This is an extension on the survival day and includes learning how to build a useable shelter, light fires by friction, safe and respectful use of a knife, edible plants, camp cooking, useful fungi, general campcraft and tracking. This activity runs with older children.