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March's First Short Break: Tight Squeezes, Snowy Surprises, and Cosy Cafes

Updated: Apr 2

For our third short break of the year, we headed to St Michael’s in Hathersage for a weekend of caving, snow, and hill walks.

Arriving at our centres on Friday evening, the Adventurers were eager to make their way onto the buses and to head off into the Peak District for a weekend full of adventure.

Once the group had arrived at St Michael’s in Hathersage, it was time to heat the dinner (that had been prepared in the day service that afternoon) set the table and get ready for tea.

As is tradition on short breaks, the Adventures tucked into pasta Bolognese with healthy helpings of cheese.

Two pairs of hands in the photo. The hand on the right right hand side of the photo is passing the food to the left hand side of the screen.
Pasta Bolognese is a Saturday night tradition on short break

Once the Adventurers had polished off their tea, it was time to help with the washing up and socialise. There was a hive of activities in the evening, with Adventures putting together jigsaws, a group of Adventurers watched a film, whilst another couple of groups had a good old-fashioned chat.

At around 9:00pm it was time for the Adventurers to start to head to bed, before starting to go to sleep at around 10:00 pm.

Bedtimes aren’t something that are regimented on short breaks, we trust our Adventurers to know themselves well enough to know when they are ready for bed. Nevertheless, bedtimes and a time for lights out is important, given the dormitory style accommodation.

When day broke on Saturday, it was all hands to the pump to get sausage sandwiches, cereal and toast served to fuel the Adventurers sufficiently before they headed off for their day of caving.

On our short breaks, we make sure that we cater to everybody’s needs. Whether that be dietary requirements or having food packed before we head off on short break, we make sure that can be as inclusive as possible.

Once everyone was fuelled and ready for the day, it was time for the Adventures to be split up into their groups for the day. Group 1 headed into the dry room at St Michael’s to get their caving suits and wellies on, ready to head to Giants, a cave just at the top of Winnats Pass.

It's a close up shot of someone wearing wellies, with blue trousers that over hang the wellies. As well as someone sitting crossed legged with bright orange crocs on
Getting suited and booted, ready to head down the cave

Group 2 were tasked with cleaning and prepping the centre ready for lunch time, for when the first group came back from the cave. Once they had finished, it was their turn to head to the cave and group 1’s job to tidy up from lunch and prepare for dinner.

Group 3, who were the most energetic group on the break, assisted group 2 with some cleaning from breakfast and then headed out into the hills to conquer Mam Tor.

After they had summited the Peak District’s second highest point, it was time for them to head back to St Michael’s to get ready to go caving.

 A snowy landscape with a winding road and a bare tree against a backdrop of snow-covered hills.
It was a bit snowy over the tops on Saturday

Saturdays on our short breaks are always a bit hectic, but we ensure that each group gets full value from the day and are ready for bed come Saturday evening.

When group 3 appeared from the cave in the early evening, group 1 and 2 had the centre prepped and ready for dinner, for when the third group arrived back.

After getting out of their caving suits and having a quick shower, group 3, along with group 1 and 2, were ready to re fuel.

Again, as is tradition on short break, Saturday night was a fish supper with lots of veggies and parsley sauce.

 Sauce being poured onto a meal consisting of potatoes, vegetables, and a breaded cutlet on a plate held by a person wearing a spongebob squarepants sweater.
Plenty of parsley sauce

Saturday evenings on short break (once all the washing up was done, medication has been taken and showers had) are quite the opposite to what you’d expect from a group that has had a day full of adventure.

Shortly after all the jobs were finished after dinner, the disco was in full swing. As you can see from the picture below, the Adventures not only know how to scale heights and squeeze through cavers, but they know to throw some shapes too!

A group of young people doing the conga through the middle of a big room
Everybody do the conga!

After all the dancing, caving, eating, and walking the Adventurers were well spent and ready for bed, looking forward to their slower paced Sunday.

Sundays on short break couldn’t be more different to a Saturday. With no time restrictions on when the Adventurers need to be heading out for their activity, there is a much more relaxed atmosphere.

Compared to a Saturday, where Adventurers tend to be out of bed by 8:00am or 9:00am, it’s quite rare to see any of them before 9:30am on a Sunday.

Given the relaxed nature of a Sunday, the Adventurers are left to interact with each other a lot more and spend more time in the common room of the centre.

A person relaxes with their feet up in a casual setting, gesturing a peace sign, while others sit in the background.
One of our Adventurers having a laid back Sunday morning!

A small breakfast is offered on a Sunday morning (whether that be cereal or toast) to make sure there is ample room for the big brunch which is served at around 12pm.

Once midday arrives, a full English breakfast is in order, with all the trimmings. Again, the Adventures are expected to lay the tables, prepare the food, and look to help the staff where needed to get the food out onto the tables.

Once everyone had stocked up, it was then time to clean the centre and leave it in the condition we found it. We stacked the chairs, cleaned down work surfaces, cleaned pots and stripped the beds.

All the Adventures do this independently, with an instructor on hand, should they need it. However, the Adventurers are always encouraged to work together and ask their peers for help, to complete their task, before turning to one of the staff members.

A person standing next to a stack of blue chairs in a room with various items pinned to a bulletin board.
Stacking the chairs before leaving St Michael's

Once St Michael’s had been returned to the condition in which we found it, it was time to start packing the busses up, ready for us to make the journey back to Top Valley, Mansfield Woodhouse and Chesterfield.

On the way back however, it is The Adventure Service law that we stop at one of the many wonderful cafes in the Peak District.

The guys who were heading back to Top Valley stopped off at The Wild Kettle café where they had all sorts of sweet assortments.

 Glass door of "the wild kettle café" with reflective view and logo decals.
One of our favourite Peak District cafes

After their food, caving, and walking, many of the Adventurers did not manage to stick out the journey back to their centres and dozed off, dreaming about their next adventure.

By 4:30pm on the Sunday afternoon, all the buses had arrived back at their respective centre and parents/carers had collected their Adventurer.

All our short breaks start and end at our centres and we provide the transport to, from and during the short break itself. So, you only ever need to get to one of our centres by 5:30pm on a Friday afternoon, to join us on a short break.

 Four individuals are standing beside an open vehicle hatch in a parking lot, with luggage and various items visible inside the vehicle.
Adventurers arriving back at Top Valley after their weekend full of adventure

If you’re interested in joining us on one of our short breaks, follow this link to our dedicated short break booking page.

We still have a few spaces available for 2024, but if you want to keep up to date about our 2025 short break, please click here.

See you out there!

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