Photographs show: Moonrakers River Crossing Exercise 1984 and present-day Moonrakers
This term Dauntsey’s celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of Moonrakers, its programme of outdooractivities for Third Formers.
Each Friday afternoon, pupils take part in a wide range of activities including outdoor cooking, kayaking, cycling, first aid, expedition skills, navigation, orienteering, indoor climbing, sailing, shooting, survival, river crossing, sub-aqua diving and archery. The course culminates in a five-day Moonrakers Camp, where the pupils continue their adventures in Aberdovey, North Wales.
Moonrakers is the largest programme run by the School’s adventure education department, with 120 Third Formers taking 21 activities run by 16 teachers, over 30 weeks, with around 15 Sixth Form helpers.
The programme was introduced in 1971 by the then Head Master, Guy King-Reynolds, with the objective of “trying to educate 13- and 14-year olds in the use of their leisure time.” There was a compulsory six-week course in campcraft, navigation, first aid, gym and “service to the School”.
The pupils attempted at least six more activities over two years, including electronics, seamanship, drama, bridge, chess, cooking and beekeeping. Fifty years later, much is the same, but Moonrakers has become more challenging, more focused, more professional and more wide-ranging.
Sam Moore, Head of Adventure Education at Dauntsey’s, said:
“For half a century, Moonrakers has been an iconic Dauntsey’s experience. When Upper Sixth Formers have their leavers’ events, they all talk about it as a high point of their time here.
“It’s a core belief at Dauntsey’s that the behaviours that make you successful in adventures are the same as those that make you successful in life. The same courage that enables you to cope with white water rafting helps you tackle a tough maths exam. It’s all about being willing to have a go, a mindset which is part of Dauntsey’s DNA.”
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