The annual student trip to the Lake District
Martin Pelan shares his account of the annual student trip to the Lake District:
"While the weather forecast was good, our band of would-be Alfred Wainwrights planned for rain, with the coach being a sea of boots, bags, hats and waterproof jackets – would these items be necessary, though? Only time would tell….
The journey up to Keswick was fairly uneventful, with many of our party using the opportunity to grab a few hours’ sleep, no doubt dreaming about the essays they would have to write when they got back to Leeds. We were rudely awakened, however, when the coach failed to stop at our destination, but instead continued on towards the centre of Keswick and the pedestrianised shopping area! Demonstrating great team-working and map-reading skills, the group quickly determined the cause of the problem – the wrong postcode had been incorrectly entered into the coach “sav nav”! Potential disaster averted, we soon found our hostel, checked into our rooms and walked down into Keswick.
A few hours were spent shopping for gifts, eating lunch at the lovely tea shops and visiting the various sites and attractions of Keswick, including the Pencil Museum, a must for anyone interested in the history of, er, pencils. It was then back to the hostel for a traditional English supper of fish and chips (or alternative vegetarian option) and then a further trip into Keswick, before retiring to bed at a fairly reasonable time.
After a good breakfast, including bowls of Castlerigg Manor’s now-famous creamy porridge, our intrepid group of travellers set out for our usual walk to Cat Bells. We sailed across Derwent Water in a launch, enjoying fantastic views of the water and the fells. On landing at the start of the walk it seemed that some of the ‘usual’ pathways were not accessible, due to soil erosion since our previous visit, which meant that we had to approach Cats Bells from the other (and more difficult) side of the fell. We were a confident bunch, however, and accepted the challenge without complaint!
Up and up we climbed, with the summit seeming further and further away until eventually we reached the top of Cat Bells – everyone cheered and celebrated this great achievement, but what goes up must come down, so after allowing a few minutes for a rest and a sandwich (plus an optional bag of crisps) we plunged down the hill and back towards Derwent Water.
Four hours after we first set out, tired, but inspired by the jaw-dropping beauty of their surroundings, the group made its way back to Keswick, to enjoy a lovely dinner (Beef Stew and dumplings, or veggie alternative) before moving into the lounge for the start of the evening’s entertainment – the in-famous “Cultural Evening”! On past visits to the Lakes, the students have always sought to put on a great show, and this year was no exception. There was poetry, singing and dancing from all around the world, including an interesting and eye-opening introduction to the Seychelles “Coco de mer” which was certainly educational…
After the excitement of Saturday, everyone was keen to take things easy on Sunday, the final day of our trip, so we said our goodbyes to the Castlerigg Manor staff and boarded the coach to Ambleside for a boat trip across the stunning and amazing Lake Windermere. After a lovely (and windy) trip on the lake we docked at Bowness-on-Windermere and everyone took the opportunity to tour the pretty town, buy presents for friends and family, whilst being careful to avoid the rather aggressive swans! Then it was back on the coach and a sleepy trip back to Leeds.
It was, all agreed, a fantastic weekend!"