Seventeen Sixth Form pupils from Oundle School enjoyed a challenging trip to Peru over the summer.
Upon arrival, after acclimatising to the altitude at 3600m, the pupils were given time to explore the chaotic street markets, where several of them enjoyed bartering for colourful ‘traditional’ Peruvian trousers. The group also had time to visit numerous attractions around Cusco including an alpaca farm, Cristo Blanco and the first Inca ruins of many, where they had the delight of being blessed by Patcha Mama (Mother Earth) in a rather hands-on religious ceremony.
Pupil, Chris Bird (17) commented, “When signing up for the Peru trip I was unsure what to expect and so upon arrival it is fair to say that I, along with my fellow Oundelians, was blown away by what greeted us. We could hardly wait to disembark the aircraft before starting to take photos of the rugged mountains that surrounded the condensed, bustling city of Cusco, where we were to stay for three nights before starting our journey of the Inca Trail.”
Three days after first setting foot in Peru it was time for the pupils to start their trek, a daunting prospect for many of them.
Chris added, “The four-day hike was truly an unforgettable experience. From the heights of Dead Woman’s Pass to the rainforest of valleys below, none of us tired of the stunning scenery. Nestled in the mountains were a seemingly never-ending amount of Inca ruins about which our guides didn’t cease to entertain us, even at our most exhausted.
One of the most memorable moments of the trip came whilst sat atop a mountain shrouded in cloud, when the guide whipped out a panpipe like instrument and proceeded to play the Titanic theme. An event that was met by bewildered laughter from the pupils and staff.”
On the final morning of the hike, after trekking for an hour or so, the group arrived at the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu as the sun just rose above the mountains. After spending the rest of the morning exploring the ancient city, the group descended into Aguas Calientes for some pizza and a dip in the hot springs before catching the train back to Cusco.
Chris concluded, “The trip was all over too soon and as we reminisced over the past ten days it was clear that our time in deepest darkest Peru would not be easily forgotten.”
Trip Leader and Head of Economics, Oliver Butterworth commented, “This was a fantastic trip that brought together a group of seventeen pupils from the Sixth Form – many of whom did not know each other well beforehand. There was a wealth of cultural benefits derived from such an experience – not least in the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco but also, of course, on the trek itself seeing the ruins with all their spiritual secrets unveiled.
The trip was more about taking on the challenge than any direct educational benefit. Most of the pupils left their comfort zone at some stage and learnt more about themselves and their personal capabilities. Perhaps this was the education.”
Background Information on Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.
The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2016, the School completed its ambitious SciTec project, uniting Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. The development includes the ground-breaking Patrick Engineering Centre, a new Mathematics department and an extension to its sixteen state-of-the-art Science laboratories. Oundle has now embarked on a detailed Sports MasterPlan which will significantly upgrade sporting facilities across the School by 2020, incorporating the building of a new Sports Centre housing a fifty metre swimming pool and an eight court sports hall.
There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 860 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day school for children aged 4 to 11.