Lake District residential weekend a huge success
On Friday 12th October a group of over 50 post-graduate students and staff set off on the School of Education’s annual residential trip to the Lake District. The mood of the party was a mixture of excitement and curiosity at what lay ahead, as the majority had not been to the Lake District before.
A couple of people on the trip had been to the Lakes several times before and had drilled into everyone the need to wear warm clothes and waterproofs, given the Lake District’s reputation for rain. It was with some surprise, therefore, that we arrived to find our destination, Castlerigg Manor Hostel in the town of Keswick, bathed in beautiful autumn sunshine.
After a very friendly welcome from the staff at Castlerigg and a hearty traditional English dinner of fish and chips, the students took some time to explore the lovely market town of Keswick, before retiring to bed at fairly reasonable times, as the following day was going to provide a long and active adventure for all concerned!
Saturday morning arrived and we were blessed with gorgeous sunny weather again. A relaxing boat ride across Derwent Water took us to the start of our walk up Cat Bells, one of the Lake District’s most famous and beautiful fells. Despite being unfamiliar with the terrain, the students took to the task superbly, climbing up the top of Cat Bells as if they were simply going on a trip to the shops!
Again, we were fortunate with the weather, with the sun shining most of the way, allowing for fantastic views over Derwent Water and the surrounding countryside. There was a brief shower as they group approached the top of Cat Bells, but even this seemed like a gift, as it gradually faded into the most fantastic rainbow. Several students said they had not seen a rainbow in real life before, which made the moment all the more special.
A climb back down the other side of Cat Bells brought the group back to the water’s edge and another calm boat trip back to Keswick. A fantastic time was had by all, but this only represented half of the day’s fun, as the now-famous “Cultural Evening” was only hours away…..
In the evening everyone enjoyed a lovely dinner before moving into the lounge for the start of the evening’s entertainment. On past visits to the Lakes, the students have always sought to put on a show, and this year was no exception. There was dancing from Macedonia and Greece, songs from Thailand, chopstick-games from Vietnam and evening finished with everyone hip-hop dancing, Nigerian-style, following by a disco and a trip into town for those with any energy left!
After the excitement of Saturday, everyone was keen to take things easy on Sunday, the final day of the trip, so we said our goodbyes to the Castlerigg and boarded the coach to the beautiful town of Grasmere, home to William Wordsworth, one of England’s most famous poets. On the approach to Grasmere the students looked wide-eyed as the coach passed alongside Thirlmere. With the mist hanging over the water, as the mountains above were reflected as if it was a mirror, many students said it was the most beautiful view they had ever seen.
Some well-deserved coffees and teas were consumed before we got back on the coach for the final stop of the weekend, a trip to Brockhole Park on the edge of Lake Windermere. A walk round the garden was followed by some purchases at the gift shop, and then it was back on the coach and a sleepy trip back to Leeds.
It was, all agreed, a fantastic weekend.