Cornwall 2022 – Ghost Walk

One of the most challenging things about a residential trip with 46 children is getting them to go sleep. To send them to the land of nod with happy memories, feeling content, calm and safe is Chapter 1 in the teacher’s residential handbook. Unfortunately that particular text was sold out when I completed my teacher training in the middle ages, hence why we undertook a ghost walk with local St Ives character Shanty Baba, as the sun sank in the west on our first night in St Ives.

Shanty’s lantern lit tours are legendary in St Ives and he didn’t disappoint. With stories of human scarecrows, decapitation and a rat-filled cemetery, the children, initially full of bravado, crept noticeably closer together as the night grew darker, with initial giggles and laughter replaced by nervous titters and sidewise glances. It was a great chance to see the town in a different light and for the children to stay up a bit later; of course the content was delivered with a healthy dose of irony!

The Barnoon Cemetery rising ominously above Porthmeor Beach provided the perfect crescendo for the tour. Ducking under the looming elm tree at the entrance filled staff and students with an acute sense of foreboding, not least due to the fact that the elm is closely linked to the underworld in Celtic mythology. The students listened raptly to the tale of the corrupt vicar who used his position to profit from the grief of his parishioners and to the story of the woman who walked three times around the grave of a famous smuggler. We walked quickly back to the hostel regularly checking over our shoulders.

All that being said, the scariest thing we have seen during the residential so far is the Year 9 boys this morning.

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