Welcome to moth month! We have spotted lots of different moths around the hostel, including a beautiful Giant Emerald. They seem to be attracted to the upstairs shower area, and so the toilet and shower cleaning duties have become much more interesting and educational!
We have also been enjoying the summery weather, jumping in the lake, climbing up fells, and taking inspiration from our guests and volunteers. Within one weekend the One Life Racing Club swam, cycled, and ran over most of Borrowdale, while Bex, our Kiwi Workaway volunteer, managed to climb more fells in three weeks than most people do in a year! We hope you enjoy reading about their adventures.
Now in their tenth year, One Life Racing Club is one of the largest triathlon clubs in the North East, based in Hexham, Northumberland. The club helps people of all ages and abilities to do their best and have fun in the world of swim-bike-run, and they train several times a week. However, earlier this year 33 members, ranging in age from 5 to 65 years old, came to the hostel to train several times in a weekend! Mike Pinkney, one of the club members and a qualified triathlon coach, told us all about their Derwentwater programme:
‘We arrived on Saturday lunchtime and went straight out on a bike ride: the more experienced cyclists went over the Honister and Newlands passes, while the kids whizzed around the lake. We followed that with a 10 km fell run for adults and a lakeside run for the kids.
On Sunday morning we had a swim in Derwent Water, followed by another fell run, and then after lunch we had a long bike ride. On Monday we had a swim in Derwent Water, followed by a run or a bike ride (or both!), and that was our amazing weekend of swimming, biking, and running: quite full on!
The table tennis room was a big hit with the kids, there was lots of space in the grounds to run around, the food was fantastic, and by popular demand we booked it up for next year before the end of the trip! That says a lot about how much everyone enjoyed it.’
Thank you Mike - we look forward to seeing even more of the One Life Racing Club members next year.
Some of you may remember our interview with Eve, back in April when she started working for us as a seasonal assistant. She happened to mention that she liked climbing. Well, a few months and several adventures later, here is Eve to tell you about one of her recent excursions:
‘Nestled along the back of the hanging valley, Combe Ghyll, on the flanks of Glaramara in the south of the Borrowdale valley, is Raven Crag, and in the middle of it all is one of the best climbing routes of the D *** grade: Corvus.
We began in the afternoon with a 2km walk-in from Stonethwaite to the base of Raven Crag. There was a cool breeze as we made our way up, and ahead we could see a man solo-climbing our intended route up Corvus. The crag is in shade so there are quite a few wet patches with vegetation, but you can do this route in the rain, just not very pleasant I imagine.
The first few pitches required a bit of thought and an awkward shuffle up a rather damp chimney, before a slabby pitch took us to the infamous Hand Traverse. The pitch itself is only a few metres long with a great crack for the hand holds and a few little nubbins to balance your feet. I reluctantly stepped off a very good foot hold onto the vertical wall: my feet felt precariously balanced, but combined with excellent hand holds it was much easier than I expected it to be. The next few pitches felt like more of a scramble, and before long we were at the top.
By the time we reached the end of the climb the sun was beginning to set, and a beautiful golden light shone onto the fell-side. We chose to descend via Thorneythwaite Fell, and we left the ravens cawing and swooping behind us.
Overall, this route fully deserves its three stars, despite its broken up climbing style. However, it can be a busy climb and may take much longer if you have to wait behind other climbing parties, so I recommend allowing plenty of time to complete it. We were fortunate: doing the route mid-week, starting in the late afternoon, we had the crag to ourselves.’
Thank you Eve – we are always intrigued to hear about your exciting local climbs.
As many of you know, we love baking cakes at Barrow House. Cherry and Almond, Coffee and Walnut, Carrot and Sultana, Chocolate and more chocolate, Ginger, Luscious Lemon, and anything with a good drop of rose water and a splash of brandy. These are a few of our favourite cakes. But what are your favourite cakes? Do you have any special requests? Please get in touch if you have a recipe to share: we would love to hear from you (and to have an excuse for trying more cakes!).
In the meantime, here is one of the Georgian recipes that we found on the Cumbrian Historic Food website, providing a flavour of life at Barrow House in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. We will be making these Rout Cakes for our stall at the Derwentwater Regatta, held in Crow Park on: come and try them and tell us what you think!
A rout originally means a large and unruly gathering, but in the Georgian period it became a name for a fashionable assembly or large evening party. Rout cakes were made for such occasions. They resemble our modern-day rock cakes.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C/ Gas mark 4
Cooking time: 16-18 minutes
Rub the butter and flour between your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and currants. Then wet the mixture into a stiff paste with:
2 beaten eggs
1 tbsp. orange-flower water
Enough sweet wine and brandy to achieve a stiff paste consistency (approx. 2 tbsp.)
Drop plum-sized balls of the mixture onto a greased baking tray and bake for about 16 minutes or until golden brown and easily moved off the tray. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Dragon boats, breweries, and a night at Barrow House: sounds like a good AS Chemistry trip! The creative itinerary for the Ilkley Grammar School Sixth Form Chemistry students included visits to Hawkshead Brewery (Staveley), Eastman Chemical Company (Workington), and Pentagon Chemicals Ltd (Workington), studying the real-life use of chemicals, reactions, and processes. The students also got a chance to let off steam, with a very wet session of dragon boat racing on Derwent Water. Here are some comments from the students:
On the visit to Hawkshead Brewery: 'I knew nothing about brewing before my trip to Hawkshead Brewery but I was inspired by the talk, learning all about the importance of choosing the right type and quantity of malt and hops to flavour the beer and control its alcohol content. I'd like to try brewing myself and was interested to hear there is a degree in the subject. I was surprised by how small the premises are given the amount of beer they produce and it was interesting to see the engineering required in batch production like this.'
On the visit to Pentagon Chemicals Ltd (customised chemical manufacturing): 'It was interesting to see how the same techniques we use in the school lab are used in industry in Quality Control and then on a much larger scale to commercially produce chemicals. The level of hazards and risks and how they are managed was quite fascinating. We also found out about careers and degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, which was useful as we are now applying for university.'
On the visit to Eastman (the Workington site of this international company makes Acetate Tow, a filtration material which is used to produce components such as ink reservoirs for fibre-tip pens): 'There is a whole strand of the Salters A Level Chemistry course called 'Greener Industries' and our visits allowed us to compare things like plant location, batch and continuous production, risk assessment and environment and efficiency in the three companies we visited. Eastman was the only place we visited that uses continuous production and it was interesting to see how the site is engineered to allow this. We also developed a greater awareness of the safety implications of working in a place that uses large volumes of flammable substances and how unused substances can be collected and recycled in the process to increase efficiency’.
On the Dragon Boat racing: 'It was raining the whole time but we didn't care as we wanted to get wet! The scenery was gorgeous and it was great to be out on the water and working as a team.'
Thank you to the Ilkley students for these informative comments. It has been really interesting to learn more about the variety of industry and employment in Cumbria.
How do we cope when we say goodbye to each Workaway volunteer? We make sure another one arrives as soon as possible!
We were really sorry to say goodbye to Anna, our Danish volunteer, but we were soon welcoming Bex, our first volunteer from New Zealand. Bex was travelling outside New Zealand for the first time in her life, and she made the most of every minute, leaping up Scafell Pike within a few days of her arrival, and walking up almost every fell within sight of Barrow House.
With the last of Bex’s homemade Lolly Cake on the table, it was time to say hi to our most recent Workaway volunteer, Elisabeth Dare from the USA. We have just said goodbye to Elisabeth, but she has left us with this lovely account:
‘My name is Elisabeth Dare and in total I will have spent 3 weeks at Derwentwater. My experience here has been extremely lovely. Working in the hostel has allowed me to really get an understanding of English culture, and the staff are so kind, knowledgeable and adventurous, always travelling or making good recommendations for exploration. I've enjoyed venturing off in the afternoons to walk fells or explore footpaths through the woods. The weather has been pretty phenomenal, with hardly any rain during my stay, so I've really been able to take advantage of the outdoors.
I study both photojournalism and anthropology in the US, so my favourite thing is to photograph people and places of cultures other than my own, and I've done plenty of that in the Lake District! I absolutely love the beauty and atmosphere of the Borrowdale Valley and I have been lucky enough to photograph some breath-taking sunsets.
I will miss how readily available tea and cake are in England; they are not as popular in the US, which is a shame because I adore both! Next I'll be heading to London for a few days before I volunteer at a B&B in Brittany, France, for a few weeks. I'm so glad I chose the Lake District for my working holiday in England, as it is a bit off the beaten track for American tourists and I've gotten to see the most beautiful part of England!’
Thank you Elisabeth, and hola to Teresa, who arrives today (31st July) from Spain!
We still have availability for groups, families and individuals in late August and September. You can check the availability and make individual or family bookings on our website:www.derwentwater.org. If you are a large group then please ring or email us rather than trying to book online. We hope to see you soon!