Isis Summer Holiday 2010


At 8am on Friday morning Jen, Simon, Ben, Soren, Gwyl and Tim all set off for Wales, with Gwyl and Tim making their way to Witney to join Neill and Neil. The journey was pretty ordinary until we got stopped on the M4 and heard an absurd story on the radio that there was a cow in the road and the police were trying to chase it away. Unusual things often happen on Isis trips so we got out of the car and made the most of dancing in the empty lanes on the other side of the crash barrier until we noticed that cars were starting to come towards us and we realised that the cow must have been rounded up successfully.

St David's is an odd place. It is a city by name, but that's about it because there is very little there except a very expensive fish and chip shop which swallowed a lot of pennies and gave you some pretty poor fish and chips in return. After lunch we heard that the other car was at the campsite and so we set off to join them and erect the Isis mansion. Then we set to creating a new game which we named Isis Rugby Rounders, combining the game of rounders with some rugby moves aimed at stopping the batter from getting to the bases.

We then went for a ramble along the coastal path and scrambled down the cliff to the rocks below, not knowing that the rocks facing us would provide Sunday's biggest challenge. We also popped around to the harbour to watch the local lads trying to impress the local girls with their swimming prowess and press up ability, all except one who screamed like a girl when his toes got near the water.

Dinner was a BBQ of goodies cooked up on Neill and Neil's amazing gas BBQ which was much more impressive than our little disposable one. Satisfied with all the meat and bread we could manage we carried on playing games and then went to the pub for a drink before the rest of our party turned up later in the evening including Liam, Lexi, Helen, Ruari, Becks, Kate and Laura,


After breakfast and a little morning faff we set off in the direction of Whitesands to see how good the beach was. We started by scaling the main peak which gave us fantastic views of the area from the top. Gwyl, Ruari and Simon decided a little rock climbing was in order while the rest of us took easier routes. Photo sessions at the top provided some good shots, including more than one where Simon looked a bit like a pervert waiting to pounce on unsuspecting passersby, including one from a little cave he found.

On our descent we split into two groups. Our goal was a spit of rock on which we would have lunch. One group went back to the car park to pick up their things, and the other group consisting of Becks, Ruari and I decided to follow Gwyl. Big mistake! Somehow we ended up stuck in the middle of a gorse field with no way back or forwards which didn't involve getting pricked by gorse, and considering Ruari and I were in shorts it wasn't going to be pretty. We managed to survive though and beat the others to the rock where we unpacked our lunches and made the most of the sunshine.

The afternoon brought even more fun as we commandeered a section of the beach and set to flying Liam and Helen's power kite, playing cricket thanks to Becks and just generally mucking around. Simon, Ben, Tim, Soren and I decided a spot of swimming in the sea was in order and waded out into the 'surf' where we dived through waves, or jumped over them, until we couldn't handle the cold water anymore and slowly headed back to the shore where we packed up and went to the cafe for a cup of tea and an ice cream.

Dinner was a lovely curry provided by St David's only India restaurant and we all sat down to put the world to rights with a few cans of lager/cider and some cheesy snacks. Topics were wide ranging but by far the most intriguing was Helen's idea to provide men's toilets with an iodine bath for their 'lads'. Eventually we all made our way into our sleeping bags in preparation for Sunday's activity.


Sunday would be our day of adventure on the high seas. We all arrived at TYF at 8.45am in time to meet our coasteering guides - Nick and Rob. We were all kitted out with full wet suits, helmets and buoyancy aids and made our way down to the cliffs for a safety briefing before we started our descent down the rock face to the sea below. Our first task was to stylishly belly flop into the water before swimming over to a rock which we were to climb up and then jump off into the sea below. It definitely looks higher when you are stood on the precipice looking down! We continued this swim-climb-jump- swim cycle making our way around the coastline until we came to a section where the rocks had made a little cove in which the waves were boiling and bubbling. Our next task was to move into this maelstrom, feet first (so we didn't hit the rocks with our beautiful faces), and stay in it while the swell caused waves to rebound off the rocks around us - great fun.

We were then posed with a question - more scrambling or more high jumping? We decided on the high jumping and made a quick detour along the coastal path to a section with taller rocks to climb. I'm pleased to say that our Isis members did us proud and we did the high jump in style with Ben making the final valiant jump down into the green waters below after lots of encouragement from those who had already experienced the horror of standing on the edge, looking down and jumping. With much cheering and lots of smiling faces we made our way back had a group photo on the rocks before walking back to TYF buzzing.

We went into Solva for some impressive Sunday lunches in different pubs as one had run out of food. Then the weekend group had to zip off home while the hardcore group decided to pootle around St David's 'city' for a while in the sunshine before making our way back to the campsite for a tense game of boules, more Isis Rugby Rounders and a half-hearted attempt at a BBQ because we were still full from lunch.

Our idea to go night swimming was amended to a night walk around the coast path, which turned out to be one of my favourite parts of the holiday - sitting on the top of the cliffs in the blackness listening to the waves breaking below. We soon decided to make a move back to the campsite and so deployed our head torches for the return leg.


We were up with the lark again to get to TYF for the sea kayaking at 9am, only to find out that we shouldn't be there until 10am. So we popped to the local cafe/ice cream parlour for some coffee, tea and a breakfast baguette worthy of any Isis Trip. We put the world to rights for an hour in the sunshine and then went back to meet our instructor for the morning - John. We found out a little about each other, including the fact that Jen likes mint imperials, Gwylim likes pink and Ruari like random acronyms. Then we got suited up, jumped in a mini bus and made our way to Porth Clais harbour where we chose our boats and set off for some adventure on the high seas...again.

We followed John around the stunning coastline as the sun shone above us and progressed by rock hopping, using the waves to shoot us through small gaps. This turned out to be quite complicated for some of us, including me, who ended up beached waiting for the next set of decent waves to come along. We found some caves and even managed to see how many of us we could fit in, what looked like, a tiny cavern but turned out to be quite expansive inside.

Then we broke Ruari.

There was a gap in the rocky coastline which the waves were flushing into Gwyl creating a bit of a rollercoaster. Gwyl paddled in first and survived, but as we know waves generally come in sevens and get bigger with each set until they dissipate a little and poor Ruari managed to get a huge set just as he went it. Pushed back onto the rocks, he got a severe case of barnacle rash although he decided that his new look made him look rugged and a little dangerous, and that the ladies would love it.

We carried on a little further but it was soon time to nip back to the harbour to get out of our salty kit and go for lunch at the local pub before packing up the campsite in record time and making our way back to Oxford.

An absolutely fantastic weekend guys, thanks for coming!

- Jen

Photos by Jen.