We have a baby squirrel in the grounds! We have also been watching the pink and white foxgloves growing up between the ferns, and the strong yellow irises on sections of the lake-shore path. Our World Cup sweepstake is also receiving a fair amount of attention...
This month lots of school groups have enjoyed action-packed visits to the hostel, and we have included a report from Salesian College, as well as a descriptive piece from one of the Ridgewood School pupils.
Looking ahead to the school summer holidays, we have plenty of availability for our family activity holidays, so please get in touch if you are interested.
During their stay at Derwentwater, the Year 9 Ridgewood School pupils wrote descriptive pieces, inspired by the poets, travellers, and diarists whose works they saw at the Wordsworth Museum and Keswick Museum and At Gallery. It sounds like some of them have picked up on the elaborate, sensationalist vocabulary of Thomas Gray! Here is one of the descriptive pieces:
The grandfather clock stood proud and tall,
With its wooden back against the wall.
His garden out back, big and green,
With tiny paths that could barely be seen.
We left his house with beautiful pictures in our heads,
Off to the hostel to sort our comfy beds.
Up at seven the next morning for our waterfalls walk.
It was more of a trickle but we enjoyed Katy’s talk.
Steep mountains and big trees all around,
We carried on our walk until the lake was found.
Skimming pebbles and running by the lake,
Memories and many more friends
We were sure to make.
By Livvy Brettoner
(Ed. The grandfather clock refers to Dove Cottage, where Ridgewood had a poetry seminar)
Here are a few descriptive sentences:
The pure beauty of the mountain’s silhouette at the time of the setting sun. Every shade of orange cast the sky in a pastel-like picture. Chloe Purcell
The beautiful landscape surrounds our bedroom window. Jessica Perkin
The clouds protected the mountains like waterproof coats. Alisha Johnson. (Ed. Waterproof is an interesting word to use here!)
The crashing of the water on the rocks and the tweeting of the birds creates a beautiful symphony to any fine-tuned ear. Josh Vidler
2014 has been a busy year for wedding receptions at the hostel, and the celebration of Lindsay Veitch and Oli Smith marked the half-way point in our grand total of 6 receptions: double our usual annual tally!
Lindsay’s brother Will held his wedding reception at the hostel in 2009, and so we were delighted to welcome back some familiar faces.
During a beautiful sunny ceremony on Ashness Jetty, Lindsay and Oli said their vows and popped bottles of Prosecco to celebrate. Then fishing nets were handed out to the children, with the challenge to collect as many corks from the lake as possible, in return for chocolate caterpillars: a great way to keep the environment clean!
Back at the hostel everyone was able to admire the creative table decorations that Lindsay had made. She said, ‘the loose theme for the wedding was woodland and lakes, in keeping with the venue, and so I made animals, birds and fish that you would find there. I also go walking around Bollington, where I live, and in the lead up to the wedding I saw lots of frogs, herons, kingfishers and ducks, which all gave me lots of ideas’.
The original ceilidh band had to cancel, but a fantastic replacement was found, with ‘Over the Moon’ travelling from Northumberland to get everyone dancing round the dining room.
Lindsay told us: ‘it worked so well having lots of us staying in the hostel, as everyone was really involved throughout the whole weekend. Everyone at the hostel was incredibly kind and helpful and made sure everything ran smoothly for us. Thank you all!’
Congratulations Oli and Lindsay!
In May we welcomed a really interesting new group from the Albemarle Barracks (near Newcastle). Lisa Robinson, the Community Development Worker for the area, leads a youth group for the children who live on the army barracks, and she has the considerable challenge of organising activities for a wide range of ages.
With a grant from the Royal British Legion, Lisa was able to organise a trip away for the youth group, and we are delighted that she chose our hostel for the venue. Without further ado, here is a report from the youth group members:
‘We are Albemarle Youth Club, and we come from an Army Barracks near Newcastle. This means that at least one of our parents is a soldier with the British Army. Albemarle is near a big city, but is quite isolated (there are no buses we can get and only one shop on camp). There are about eighty houses on camp, and more houses in estates off camp for military families.
Because it isn’t very easy for us to travel to the city, there is a Youth Club on camp. We do some cool stuff while we’re there, like cooking, art, music, gardening, and games. There are between eight and ten club regulars.
Although we have been on day trips as a group, we have never been on a residential before. For some of us, it was the first time we had ever stayed away from home!
The Royal British Legion offers a fantastic scheme called Poppy Adventure Breaks. The scheme funds an activity holiday for children from military families who might not have had a holiday for a while, or whose parent is away for a long time. We were able to take advantage of this.
We arrived on a sunny Monday lunchtime after a three hour coach journey (and having to get up at 7.00 on the first day of the school holidays!). We met Graham, our Activity Leader from Glaramara Activity Centre, and got straight down to business with team games, orienteering and archery before tea. Lucy was excited to get a bull’s-eye with her arrow, as she hadn’t ever done archery before! Speaking of tea, the food at the hostel was amazing! We loved the choices we got, it was all really tasty and we definitely didn’t go hungry. Special mention to the breakfasts: we had to keep going back for more!
On our first night we saw the hostel’s resident red squirrel, who gave us a cheeky wave from the bird feeder out the back.
We had to make our own beds: some of us are used to that because we have been to boarding school before, but there were plenty of us who needed some help from our friends. Our rooms were really nice: we liked sharing with friends, and we had daily room inspections with a scoring system: the girls came out on top over the week, but it was pretty close!
On Tuesday we climbed in the morning. A lot of us were scared of heights, but we faced our fears! We went ghyll-scrambling in the afternoon. That’s basically climbing up the middle of a river! You get really wet, and it was hard work getting over some of the big slippery rocks, but we all loved jumping into the pools and we all crawled through the tunnels, even though that bit was scary.
Wednesday was our hardest day: we were all tired, and had to climb a mountain and walk for seven hours! But we got to have lunch in a cave, and had an ice cream on the way home to keep us going. We had a torchlight disco on Wednesday night, and ate so many sweets.
On Thursday we canoed on Derwent Water, and it was a great end to our trip. We got achievement awards from our leaders at lunch time.
Thanks for having us. We were sad to leave because we had such a good time, and we definitely want to come back!’
For the past 26 years the Salesian College Year 7 Activity Trip has been held at Derwentwater, with the husband-and-wife team of Gill and Andrew masterminding the trip since 1997.
This year Salesian brought 89 boys to the Lake District, with 62 staying with us, and 27 staying at Borrowdale Youth Hostel. Somehow Gill still had the energy to write a report for us! Here is what she wrote:
‘I love coming up to the Lakes. Every year, after our long journey from Farnborough, we receive such a warm welcome. It is like coming home. Andrew loves the fact that the boys have the freedom to do lots of activities in a safe environment, and it is great to have the lake opposite for all the water activities. There cannot be many hostels that have such an idyllic setting.
The boys who stay at YHA Borrowdale are only there for their meals and to sleep, spending most of their time at Derwentwater, and so we are grateful to Kathy, Dave, Nicola and all the staff for being so welcoming and patient with us! This is a great bonding exercise for the boys as they are fairly new to Salesian and do not necessarily know all of the peers in their year group.
This year the evening activities included tournaments in chess, pool, table tennis, football, tug of war, and bingo, with the Headmaster, Mr Wilson, doing a fine job as bingo master! On the final night there were presentations for standout performances amongst the boys, but it is the staff team who are still defending champions in the football tournament! In the past 2 years the trip has also benefited from the presence of Salesian Chaplain, Fr Pat Sherlock SDB, who says mass for the group on Sunday evening.
Here are some comments from the Year 7 boys:
‘The Lake District trip was a challenging, but really fun experience. I learnt so many new things and took part in many thrilling activities. I will remember this trip for the rest of my life and I hope that the new Year 7s have as much fun as I did’.
‘I really enjoyed the rock climbing. I enjoyed this as we climbed up a real cliff. I also enjoyed this as I was quite scared at first but I overcame my fear and climbed to the top, followed by a difficult abseil down’.
Our Headmaster Mr Wilson is very supportive of this trip for the whole of Year 7, and for most of his 17 years as Headmaster, he has accompanied us for at least part of our stay. He always asks the Year 13 pupils: ‘What was your favourite trip during your time at Salesian?’, and the majority answer ‘The Year 7 Lake District Trip’! We are very sad that Mr Wilson is retiring at the end of this academic year, but we hope he will still pop in to visit us on future Lake District trips’.
We hope so too! Thank you to Salesian for this great report.