A walk in the Lake District
Friday 25th October marked the first day of the School of Education’s annual residential trip to the Lake District. A group of 40 students and staff set off by coach from the University at 2.00pm and were quite quickly presented with their first challenge – the motorway was closed unexpectedly, meaning the coach would have to take a detour through the wild and windy North Yorkshire Moors.
Driving down the twisty, narrow North Yorkshire roads, the journey felt more like a crazy ride in a theme-park, than a polite drive in the English countryside, but the student’s character was strong and we finally arrived at Castlerigg Manor in Keswick, slightly dizzy and tired, and just in time to enjoy a traditional English supper of fish and chips! Following supper the students took 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!
After a good breakfast, including bowls of Castlerigg Manor’s now-famous creamy porridge, our intrepid group of travellers set out on our walk to Cat Bells, one of the Lake District’s most famous and beautiful fells. Most of the students had not visited the Lake District before – those who were ‘veterans’ of past residential trips had tried to prepare the group by drilling into everyone the need to wear warm clothes and waterproofs, given the Lake District’s reputation for ‘unpredictable’ weather (Lake District residents often say there are two types of weather in the Lakes – “whether it rains, or whether it doesn’t”!). This advice had been heeded and the students, resplendent in waterproof jackets and hiking boots, set off for Cat Bells, via a relaxing boat ride across Derwent Water. The weather in the morning was slightly overcast, with the clouds threatening rain, but we were fortunate that the rain held off and we ascended Cats Bells with a mix of excitement and trepidation…..
The walk to the peak of Cat Bells was fairly smooth, until the weather turned and a fierce gale came out of nowhere, which threatened to blow the group back to Keswick! Despite this, the students showed no fear and surged ahead to the summit, possibly inspired by the thought of the packed lunch that awaited them at the top!
Tired, but happy, the group made it to the top of Cat Bells and enjoyed a well-deserved rest and a sandwich, before descending back towards Derwent Water and the return 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 a couple of 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 Nigeria, poetry from Tibet, rapping from Rwanda, beautiful piano recitals and a brief karaoke session, before a trip back into Keswick for those students who still had 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 which took us to Brockhole Visitor Centre on the edge of Lake Windermere. A walk round the gardens was followed by a lovely cup of tea and some necessary (and some not-so-necessary!) purchases at the gift shop. Then it was back on the coach and a sleepy trip back to Leeds.
It was, all agreed, a fantastic weekend!