We have returned from a great family week at the Methodist Castlewellan Holiday Week 2014.
Regular blog readers I wish to apologise for lots MORE photos from Castlewellan in this post, but it makes for a much more interesting blog post, so stay with me ….. please!
It was our first time attempting a family holiday like this – all 5 of us sleeping in the one room, but fortunately we were given a very LARGE room, it even had a turret along with 10 beds.
We all slept remarkably well, probably as with so much going on, those who chose to do it all were exhausted by bedtime!
Staying in the castle worked really well for us, especially when it was raining, as the alternative would have been camping. I know there is the joy of the outdoor life, but 5 people in a confined space, in heavy rain and limited access to working showers? No thanks! We enjoyed walking down to visit friends in the campsite, for chat and coffee, but having all meals cooked for us, and real beds which didn’t need to be packed away before breakfast – definitely the right decision for us.
Castlewellan Castle is also an amazing building, with a real sense of history.
The views from our room weren’t bad either!
Anyway, enough of the castle, on to the conference…. our reason for being there.
The theme was “Life with God on the Front Line”
Each morning Neil Hudson took the adults through part of the Lords Prayer, teaching and challenging us to share our faith through our lives with those we come in contact with daily – family, friends, colleagues. Following coffee there was the option of discussion groups, or for some of us walk/coffee/ice-cream.
The kids and teens left for their own sections each morning, with lots of games and activities.
After lunch was free for relaxing, socializing, or there were lots of other things to do – archery, kayaking, nature walks, the peace maze, or more walks/coffee/ice-cream.
In the evenings the primary school kids had more fun and games up to 9pm while there were a variety of speakers/events for the adults. The teens programme lasted til 10.30 or sometimes later … as long as they were back for meals and curfew we didn’t see so much of them!
There was also a late-night programme with some more light-hearted activities – quiz, Room 101 etc which was optional …. or of course there was always walks/coffee/ice-cream (notice a theme!)
Although day visitors always welcome Wednesday is the special Open Day with even more happening, the highlight of which has to be the infamous WATER SLIDE down the hill from the castle.
Costume design, tactics, optimal route down the slide ….. all taken very seriously for the chance to win a much coveted trophy for best dressed, farthest distance travelled …. and believe me Methodists can be very competitive!
Even our speaker Neil Hudson and our President were game to give it a go.
So there you have it …. a great week, and all welcome for next year, even if you aren’t Methodist. I can assure you of a warm welcome, great teaching, lovely fellowship, and some great walks/coffee/ice-cream! All in the beautiful setting of Castlewellan Castle, forest and lake.
A final sunset on the lake to end this post – thanks for sticking with me!