10 adventurous students set off for the North Lake District on Saturday morning.
Luckily packed with plenty of warm clothes and a sense of humour, they donned attractive buoyancy aids, grabbed a paddle and got into a Canadian Open Canoe. The weather started fairly calm with blue skies and some brief showers, so we all bravely paddled right across Derwentwater to a cove on the banks of Catbell mountain. Lunch was eagerly eaten down under the trees as the heavens opened and the winds picked up. Then the canoes headed for an island. However the wind direction increased and cutting across into the open would have meant being blown all the way back to Keswick (miles from where we started!). Instead everyone dug deep, tried to keep the boats pointing into the wind with their newly learned paddling techniques and muscles. Dan and George provided the entertainment by capsizing their boat into the icy cold lake, needing an exciting rescue safety boat!
Then a few miles bumping up a dirt track found us arriving to our hostel, on the flanks of Helvellyn. We were well fed and watered and then everyone chose their evening activity- exploring and wading in the gorgeous river tumbling past the hostel, or wandering through ancient woodland, up and over tree roots circling 300 year old trees, to reach the impressive Aira Force waterfalls, at night, when we were the only people there. Returning to a beautiful sunset made the wild and remote (although very warm and comfy) location of our accommodation all the more worthwhile.
Sunday brought more mixed weather, so after an early fry-up start to the day, everyone put on waterproofs and trekking boots aiming for the 3rd highest summit in England, Helvellyn. Maps in hand, the weather was not that kind on the way up, past bedraggled sheep, furious flowing streams and occasional misty views to the top.
The amazing team on reaching Red Tarn then made the decision to do the toughest route up, along Striding Edge an infamous rocky ridge line scrambling to the summit. It was then hands on the rock at all times and some deep breaths over big steps and sheer drops on slippy rock as the mist swirled around everyone. As they reached the summit, the cloud gave them glimpses of the knife edge they had just clambered up and down along! Everyone was very proud and exhilarated to have reached the summit cairn, especially in such conditions. A remarkable feat – well done, tough and determined team, I was impressed! On the descent down Swirral Edge, the weather cleared and enjoying the sun, everyone had fantastic views of the entire Lake District and the route they had just sweated up!
Everyone arrived back in amazing spirits, tired but very satisfied. A fantastic start to the outdoor weekends away and they’ve come up with plenty more plans that you might like- come and give it all a try!
A particular special well done should go to this group, who were so resilient, in such adverse weather conditions, both paddling and scrambling, and showed such incredible mental and physical strength and always made it a positive experience. Growth Mindset to its max, and a pleasure to spend my weekend with. Thank you also to Miss Thompson, Mark and Mr Kenealy for helping it happen.
Write up: Mrs Kenealy