Ghyll Head 2019

This September, the Third Form set off on their adventure to the Ghyll Head Outdoor Education Centre – a long-held tradition here at Withington. The house is situated within woodlands and is only a stone’s throw away from the beautiful Lake Windemere. The girls spent three sunny days in the fresh air, working in teams, taking on challenges and getting to know one another. Half the Year group were there from Monday to Wednesday and the second half from Wednesday to Friday. Activities were similar for each half of the Year.

On arrival, everyone was excited to find out which rooms they would be sleeping in and went upstairs to settle in and make up their bunk beds – quite the novelty for some! They then set off in their activity groups with their respective Ghyll Head leaders, for canoeing, zip wiring or hiking up to Gummer’s How, a hill which boasts stunning views of the Lakes.

Each student tackled the challenges with an open mind, an adventurous spirit and a good sense of humour. Some of the girls overcame their fear of heights and cheered each other on as they each made their leap of faith. Our wonderful Sixth Form Peer Supporters were a great help as they talked each girl through the ropes and helped to lower them back down to the ground.

Each mealtime, the girls would sit at different tables and eat together, giving them a chance to mix with all of their peers. Students then took responsibility for some of the duties, which is all part of the Ghyll Head experience and they worked hard, washing dishes and clearing the tables.

Later that evening, we went for a night-time walk to the roaring campfire in the Ghyll Head grounds, where everyone – staff and students alike – sang songs which ranged from the Bare Necessities to Wonderwall by Oasis. After a busy day and as a reward for the girls’ hard work, the Peer Supporters made hot chocolate for everyone before bed.


During the second day, girls took part in a morning and afternoon activity, which involved hiking, Ghyll Scrambling or canoeing on the lake. The Ghyll Scrambling, which involved climbing up a mountain river, was challenging at the best of times and the girls worked incredibly well together, offering words of encouragement and helping hands throughout. Despite many concerns about getting wet, the wonderful weather and the fresh river water tempted the majority of girls to get in for a splash!

Canoeing posed different challenges as the girls had to quickly learn how to synchronise their movements in order to overtake another canoe. Some teams even came up with songs which they sang to keep them in time.

At the end of the second and final day, students had a rip-roaring game of ‘Alien’ on the green lawns at the Ghyll Head Centre – a memory game which required organisation and teamwork. They then went to the tuck shop, which the Peer Supporters had set up, to buy treats and gifts, before writing in their journals and going to bed. The Third Form all did exceptionally well during their time at Ghyll Head and it was fantastic to see them often step outside of their comfort zone and try new things.

We are extremely grateful to the Sixth Form Peer Supporters, who helped to make the trips unforgettable for the Third Form. We are equally thankful to our team of Third Form Tutors and Shadows, who also threw themselves into the activities with as much enthusiasm as the girls! We hope that Ghyll Head 2019 will give the girls lasting memories and friendships, helping them to feel more settled as they begin their journey here at Withington.

Mrs Julia Johnston, Head of Third Form

and  Miss Rachel Hylton-Smith, Assistant Head of Third Form