An Adventure to Plymouth, England

Let me tell you a little story.

Last summer Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary was sent a stop motion animation kit for review. We had a lot of fun with that kit, and as a family we made a short animation of our staycation summer holiday in Unst, the most northerly UK inhabited island. Our daughter was so pleased with the animation that she brought it in to her school to show her class, who were also very impressed. A few months later her teacher asked if maybe, sometime, I could come into the class and teach them how to make a stop motion animation too. My friend Julia, over at Jaydee’s Ramblings, had only just a few days beforehand sent me a link to a European video competition which was all about highlighting the worldwide problem of marine litter and what can be done about it. A possible new project, she suggested. I showed the link to the teacher who thought it was a great idea, and we set to work.

It took all of four mornings for the class to plan out the storyboard, write the story, draw and paint the props, record the audio and do all of the filming. It’s quite amazing the wonderful ideas that can pour out of young minds. I can see how people can be drawn to teaching. All I did was show the class how to make the stop motion animation and operate the software. My husband over at AudioBoy Productions put it all together. The class sent the video away and waited.

Success! The video was short-listed for the UK finals, and the class was invited to the awards ceremony at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth! It would have cost an absolute fortune to send the entire class of twenty-two to the south coast of England, so a student and parent representative were selected by the head teacher to accompany the class teacher to the ceremony. The student chosen was our daughter, and the parent to accompany was me!

With sincerest thanks to Loganair who provided free flights for all three of us from Shetland to Edinburgh, a generous donation from the competition host Marlisco, the support of the Shetland Amenity Trust, Hayfield House and the Aith Junior High School student fund and parent council the entire trip was paid for.

This was the first time my daughter (age 7) has ever properly been off Shetland (the quick trip to Aberdeen for a five minute hospital check up when she was 2 weeks old doesn’t count!) and she was so excited. She got to see Shetland from the air, what the tops of the clouds looked like, and her first glimpse of the rolling green hills of England as we flew into Exeter and travelled onward to Plymouth.

Left – Sumburgh Lighthouse, Shetland; Centre – Tops of the clouds; Right – Flying into Exeter, England

We left Shetland on Monday afternoon and arrived in Plymouth on Tuesday early afternoon after an overnight stay in Edinburgh. We had a full afternoon and morning to explore the city before the awards ceremony on Wednesday afternoon. Explore we did! The first thing we did on Tuesday after we dropped our bags off at our accommodation at the Mount Batten Adventure Centre was take the first bus we found into the city centre. As we travelled we took in the scenery and we got off the bus when we saw this stunning architecture pictured below! We were quite hungry so we popped into the very first place we saw for lunch – The Treasury Cafe Bar, located on Catherine Street on the Royal Parade.

I thought I’d died and gone to heaven (but a Twitter friend corrected me – I’d died and gone to Devon!). They were serving afternoon tea, and my daughter had her first cup of tea ever (she wasn’t impressed), but the towering cake stand filled with crust-less sandwiches with smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber and thickly sliced ham, all sorts of cakes and delicacies and most importantly, the most delicious Devon scones piled thick with clotted cream and strawberry jam definitely impressed her. A perfect selection of jazz music was playing in the background as we ate. Pure and utter bliss!

After filling ourselves with tea and cakes we headed out into the city. We just wandered, with no idea of where we were or where we were going. The best kind of adventure, don’t you think? We found ourselves at the Barbican, the Plymouth waterfront, which we explored further the next morning before the awards ceremony. The Mayflower museum was very interesting and we got to see the very spot where the pilgrims left England for the new world way back in 1620. I wondered if this is perhaps where my ancestor Captain John Hatfield left England to fight for the Loyalists in the American Civil War in the late 1700s (Yes, I am one of his many, many Nova Scotia based descendants!)

The location the Mayflower set sail from in 1620


The Barbican, Plymouth


Smeaton’s Tower, Plymouth

The awards ceremony for the video competition was held at the National Marine Aquarium, and before the ceremony we were all given a tour. What a fantastic place! DD was wide mouthed in awe the entire time. She’d never seen anything like this before. Her favourite displays were the clown fish tank and the octopus (mine was the giant tank with the lazily gliding tortoise in it!).

Then it was time for the awards ceremony. First, Andy Cummins, campaign director of Surfers Against Sewage gave a very passionate and engaging speech on his experiences of marine litter and what he’s done/doing to combat it. Can you help Andy identify their latest UFO (unidentified floating object)? Little blue plastic ‘stoppers’are found regularly on Porthtowan and Perranporth beaches in Cornwall, and they want to find out what they are so they can help whomever is putting them into the sea to stop.

Each of the short-listed schools were then presented with a glass award and certificate. Then came the trophies! Aith Junior High School, for their Dunna Chuck Bruck stop motion animation won second prize – a trophy and £300 for the school! DD, although she is quite a shy little thing, went on stage and accepted the award along with her teacher (see video, below).

I’m so proud of the whole class for all of their hard work in making such a fantastic award-winning video, and second prize is certainly a great achievement! You can see all the other short-listed videos on the Marlisco YouTube page, including the winning video ‘Marine Heroes’ by Fourlanesend school in Cornwall. They will now go on to represent the UK, along with the first prize winners in the thirteen other participating countries, at the European awards ceremony in Bremen, Germany this May!

Ethans Escapades

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


  1. Judith Luscombe says

    I lived for 8 years in Plymouth and now live just over the border in Cornwall 12 miles away and confess I have never been to the acquarium but regularly go to The Hoe, and the barbican which is quite beautiful. There are so may lovely places in Cornwall and Devon to visit.

  2. says

    This is fantastic, a very well done to all. From one end of the country almost to the other, that was quite an adventure. But oh, you were so close Elizabeth, I would love to have met up with you and your daughter in Plymouth for a quick cup of tea or walk on the Hoe.

  3. says

    I remember you posting this video when it was created. Congratulations to the whole class for coming second, that’s fantastic. And what an amazing thing that you and your daughter got to go on the trip. I love Devon cream tea’s you have made me want one now ;0)

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)

  4. says

    What a wonderful post! Lovely to read. I used to live in Plymouth as a young child but sadly remember very little! Except the lighthouse! Great trip Elizabeth! #countrykids

    • says

      It really was. I’m so grateful that we had the opportunity for such an adventure. I really hope she remembers it, if not, there’s always this blog post to remind her!

  5. says

    Oh my Elizabeth this is wonderful, I remember you making the story and entering the competition, so pleased you have done so well and even come to England, did you realise you were only an hour from Coombe Mill? I have done a Country Kids post from the Barbican myself, it is a great harbour. What a great experience for you and your daughter and I wish you all the very best for Germany, will you both get to go there too?

    • says

      I wondered if you might know some of the students in the class that won? It’s them who are going to Germany since they won first in the UK. We had a fab time in England though!


  1. […] the second time for DD – whose adventures off the island earlier this year to Plymouth can be found here) and we took him to an aquarium after his very first train ride – a coal-powered steam train […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge