Oxford Phab return to Avon Tyrrell

We greatly enjoyed our Phab holiday in 2019, where we visited the New Forest Wildlife park and had a camp fire, and did high ropes, the climbing wall, archery, and some did canoeing and the zipwire. We had such a good time that we booked to go again in 2020, but a Global Pandemic upset our plans (as well as those of many others).

The ever helpful staff at Avon Tyrrell allowed us to roll over our booking to 2021, and then again to 2022 – and our much anticipated return became a reality. Sadly some of the members who came with us in 2019 could not join us on this trip, however we were joined by some people who had never been on a Phab holiday before, and a fresh perspective on trip was refreshing. As one of them, Libby, said

What an awesome weekend. It was great to spend some quality time with a range of top folk, learning together, challenging each other to get outside our comfort zones but knowing that we all had each other’s backs. It was a fun weekend, packed with lots of different activities and things to do, but one where we had the space and time to chillax and rest.

This sums the weekend perfectly.

It could not have happened without a lot of hard work, particularly from Mary, our club leader, but also financial contributions from The Bruce Wake Trust and Wesley Memorial Church. Their contributions enabled the holiday to be affordable for all our members.

Activities

We had a very action packed weekend, with different activities happening in parallel, so on Friday afternoon some groups were doing Archery, and some Canoeing. On Saturday we all went to Poole, where one group went on a boat trip to Wareham, another to Brownsea Island and another explored Poole town. On Sunday were further opportunities for Archery, Canoeing, High Ropes and the Climbing Wall.

Archery

Canoeing

The canoes were used in pairs, joined together with a plank securely roped to the boats, making them very stable.

High Ropes

The High Ropes allowed us to push our boundaries, as well as simply have fun !

Climbing Wall

The climbing wall had been replaced since our last visit, now even higher !

Poole

Our day out in Poole was so filled with variety that it deserves its own article – here.

The adventure continues …

The holiday was so good that we have already started planning for a return in 2023, meanwhile, if anyone who went has memories or pictures suitable for sharing on a public web site, please contact me, or post a comment.

Oxford Phab Poole Expeditions

On the Saturday of our 2022 holiday at Avon Tyrrell we set off, bright and early, in our minibus and a car for Poole.

We were very fortunate to have been able to book for 12 of our group (the maximum they can take) to go for a trip on The Dolphin III a wheelchair accessible boat which operates out of Poole Harbour Marina. As there were 18 in our group this year we could not all fit, but 3 of us had Scouting or Guiding connections, so were keen to visit Brownsea Island, while the remaining 3 preferred to enjoy the delights of the Poole town waterfront area.

Hence we split naturally into three distinct groups, each having a different experience, but everybody enjoyed the day.

Boat trip to Wareham on the Dolphin.

Operated by volunteers from Friends of the Dolphin, we had been offered a trip to Wareham, where one of our members would land and pick up a Fish and Chip order phoned in from the boat.

Brownsea Island Expedition

We greatly enjoyed our trip to Brownsea Island, taking the 11am ferry, we landed shortly before 11:30, and noticed we could take a guided tour at 1pm. Pausing only for a refreshing coffee we set off to explore a little of the island. We investigated St Mary’s Church, met some friendly ducks, and saw a red squirrel ! (Brownsea Island is one of the few places in England where they can be seen).

We returned to the castle area to join the fascinating tour, which explained how the mixed history of the island had created its unique ecological profile, as well as the origins of the scouting connection (and we saw peacocks and another red squirrel). We then visited the site of the original Scout Camp, where they also sell Scout and Guide Souvenirs, and we were joined by a peacock and its chick. Moving briskly across the island we caught the 4pm return ferry, and rejoined the other groups.

The Shore Explorers

Preferring the stability of dry land, and the myriad delights of Poole Quay, the shore party viewed the departures of the Dolphin and Brownsea groups, and then investigated the shops, museums and cafes of Poole. They ate Fish and Chips on Sea Music, a large sculpture by Anthony Caro, and enjoyed watching the hustle and bustle of boats in the harbour and tourists and locals going about their business.

Together again and home for tea.

Some of the re-united group had a little refreshment on the quay, and we updated each other about our adventures, before returning to the vehicles and to Avon Tyrrell.

There, hungry after all the fresh sea air, we enjoyed hotdogs (meat or vegetarian according to preference) and salad, and home grown courgettes, in the large communal space in our challet which allowed all our group to eat together.

Phab Southeast Fun Weekend

Phab members from all over the South East of England congregated in Chichester for a weekend of activities and socialising.

We started a weekend of delicious food with a buffet dinner on Friday evening.

After a cooked breakfast buffet on Saturday we went off to a range of activities. These included Amazing Animals, which I had already seen 2015 and 2017, so I did not go to the session again, but those members who did saw (and – if they wanted a chance to touch !) a similar range of Amazing Animals.

Other members tried Indoor Archery, Taekwondo, making edible Christmas decorations etc.

Another option was Boccia and Indoor Curling. I had not tried Indoor Curling before, but Tom, already our club Boccia expert, proved a dab hand at Indoor Curling too.

After a buffet sandwich lunch we had an afternoon session including Laughing Yoga, which was great fun and a good way to relate to other Phab members.

The evening culminated in a dinner, which was made extra special by a bottle of champagne to celebrate the wedding of Leslie and Caroline. The hotel were fantastic in making this a special weekend for them, providing many thoughtful touches such as flowers in their room.

Entertainment was provided by DJ Lee, who sang and danced, while awarding chocolate prizes to anyone who could hit him with a balloon rocket while he sang and moved around the dance floor.

Breakfast on Sunday started a little later. Another buffet breakfast with a range of options and an opportunity for those of a voracious appetite (or those who had not remembered that a full roast dinner Sunday lunch was not far away) to have a full cooked breakfast again.

Breakfast was followed by an Act of Worship, led by Mary, for those who wished to attend. This was followed by a Quiz – in which Oxford Phab came second !

Finally after a Sunday Lunch, with Roast Beef (or Turkey or a vegetarian option) and all the trimmings, we said goodbye to the old friends we had met again, and the new friends we had made, and departed for home.

Avon Tyrrell 2019 – Canoeing, Zipwire, Archery and Pizzas !

Unfortunately the hoist at the boathouse was broken, so only a small group (who also had to be prepared to forego a Sunday lie-in) were able to go canoeing.


As we always find, the instructor was very good, and had everybody playing ‘tag’ – which he was much better at than everybody else !

A group, mostly of members who had not been able to have a go last year, had a chance to try the Zip Wire.

It was a thrilling experience !

While some members were on the Zip Wire, others were trying their hand at Archery, as we did last year.


Having worked up a good appetite we returned to the Lodge for home made pizza as our Pizza Night in June had gone so well.

Fueled by our lunch we loaded the minibus and cars and went home for a rest !


Avon Tyrrell 2019 – High Ropes and Climbing Wall

The Climbing Wall and the High Ropes are adjacent, so although we were split into two groups, we could try different activities, and watch how our friends were getting on.


Picnic by the lake

After our picnic we relaxed and chatted in the lodges for a while, and then set off for the seaside !

Avon Tyrrell 2019 – Friday – Wildlife Park and Campfire

We stopped at The New Forest Wildlife Park to eat the packed lunches which members had brought with them, and then to see the wildlife.


The wolves were not bothered by our presence

The lynx is normally hard to see, but we were there for feeding time, so had a really good view, and heard an interesting talk.

There was plenty to see, they have deer roaming freely, and bison, otters, pine martens …

Finally it was time to return to our minibus and cars and continue to Avon Tyrrell, where we unpacked –

And made our, now traditional, campfire in the firepit beside the lodge.


After sunset we toasted marshmallows and sat around and chatted. A great start to our holiday !

Holiday in Avon Tyrrell – Sunday – Climbing wall, High Ropes and home

On Sunday morning the day started bright and early and, not quite so early, we made our way to the Climbing Wall and High Ropes.

Preparing to climb

The instructors are very good, and rope in anyone in the area not actually climbing to hold the rope, which means they know were everybody is, but also means there are fewer pictures.


As with last year and the year before, the High Ropes were a great success.

Finally it was time to have some lunch, check the chalets, load up and go home.

Holiday in Avon Tyrrell – Saturday – Poole Boat Trip and Fish and Chips

Our little convoy set off for Poole, where we found somewhere to park near the Quay.
Half our group boarded the Dolphin III, an accessible boat operated by the Friends of the Dolphin. The other half explored Poole, including a stop for ice cream, and for some a visit to Poole Museum.


Both groups met up to eat our sandwiches on the Quay, and then the afternoon boat party set off for our nautical adventure !

We all enjoyed our trip.

They even laid on a Optimist Dingy race for us !
Some of us even had a chance to take the helm !

 
Finally we had to return to rejoin the other group.

We all dined on fish and chips

and had our traditional group photograph on the Quay

Can you spot the difference ?
Finally we returned to Avon Tyrrell to eat cake, chat and play games.

Phab Holiday in Avon Tyrrell – Friday – Travelling, Archery and Campfire

So many people (24) went this year that we used 5 cars. as well as our trusty minibus.

Minibus loaded and almost ready to go.

The weather was lovely, so the journey was dreadful ! As well as the normal attraction of a day at the seaside the Bournemouth Air Festival was in progress. Since its formation in 2009 the festival claims to have entertained over nine-million people, and they were all on the roads between Oxford and Avon Tyrrell that day !
We arrived, only a little late for the Archery session we had booked, hastily ate our sandwiches and unleashed our inner toxopholite (shoot arrows in the general direction of the target).


After archery we unloaded our luggage, and our valiant kitchen team cooked the choices we had selected of spaghetti  bolognaise, pasta carbonara, or a vegetarian pasta option.
Another keen group of forest foragers had been gathering wood and pine cones, and we had another campfire in the fire pit next to the cabin.

We also had cherry tomatoes and baby sweetcorn as a vegetarian option, but delicious for everybody.

Not a lazy Sunday at Avon Tyrrell – breakfast, more activities, and packing to go home

Breakfast was not as elaborate as the Full English we had on Saturday, we had a tasty continental breakfast instead.


We followed this with more activities. People who had not had a chance to do the High Ropes on Saturday now had a chance.


All this activity gave us a good appetite for Chicken Casserole for lunch.
We packed out bags, loaded the minibus and cleaned the chalets.

Finally we had the group photography – always an activity in itself  !
Here Helen and Simon are setting up cameras on auto timers to take the picture of the group gathered outside the cabin.