March 2016

Welcome to the March Newsletter
The hostel spirit is alive and well with lots of great guests and family parties. Read more...

The Proprietor of Barrow House begs to say that it is not an Hotel nor an ordinary Boarding House, but a House where Paying Guests form one large Party. This is the note that Joseph Glaiyser included in the Youth Hostels Association pamphlet for Barrow House in 1931.

85 years on, the hostel spirit is still strong: for instance, the other weekend we had two men (one a groom to be) running the Cumbria Way (we like that kind of 'stag do'!), someone doing the End to End, a Canadian cyclist, and a couple doing the Causey Pike and Carrock Fell races, and they all enthusiastically shared a table for our evening meal.

There was also a good atmosphere at the Snyder family party (read on for the funny story of the great phone rescue from the depths of Derwent Water) and the 70th birthday party for former YHA hostel manager, Barrow House worker and long time hostel volunteer and friend Colin Chadwick. Colin is the ultimate example of the hostel spirit and its longevity, while John and Sarah Snyder are dedicated to its continuation, with their ownership of Barrow House and trusteeship of the hostel.

Finally, we would like to welcome Ted Ferguson to the hostel staff team. Ted has done lots of volunteering with us since October (and a few stints at weddings before that) and so we are delighted that he wants to stay on as a full time staff member for the season.

Field Studies and Environmental Education at Derwentwater Independent Hostel
We have teamed up with the Field Studies Council to offer a range of field work skills and environmental activities in our grounds. Read more...

We have teamed up with the Field Studies Council (FSC) to offer a range of fieldwork skills and environmental studies in our grounds and the local area, helping groups to easily and affordably incorporate expert tuition and specialist equipment into a residential at Derwentwater. As you may know, FSC is an environmental education charity with an excellent reputation for tailoring activities to individual exam board specifications, and a wealth of experience with groups of all ages. FSC also holds a Quality Badge from The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, awarded to organisations that deliver consistently high quality learning experiences and risk management.

  • FSC tutors can meet groups at Derwentwater Hostel or the chosen fieldwork site
  • All equipment and risk assessments provided by FSC
  • Transport (at cost) provided by FSC where required
  • Waterproofs, boots, and clipboards provided by FSC if requested
  • The hostel is ideally located for Geography and Biology fieldwork
  • Activities tailored to individual exam board specifications
  • Half and full day sessions for all levels, from KS2 to degree level
  • All FSC tutors highly trained in teaching, health and safety, and group management, with first aid qualifications.

After visiting us with her colleague Katy Boreham in March, Lizzie Chaplin-Brice, the Assistant Head of Centre at FSC Blencathra, said ‘we were both really impressed with your grounds and the potential it has to work with educational groups’: we are similarly impressed with FSC and excited about their potential! Please contact us if you would like more information about FSC sessions at Derwentwater, and hopefully we can include reports of their activities very soon.

The River Greta exhibition at Keswick Museum
This is a really varied, interesting exhibition, running until 15th May. Read more...

The new exhibition at Keswick Museum, which runs until 15th May, is entitled The Greta: Changing Face of a River, and it explores the River Greta, which flows through Keswick.

The exhibition has been carefully curated to take into account the recent flooding by the Greta, and it includes a variety of photographs, maps, and hands-on activities.

All Saints Catholic High School Geographers
The AS Level fieldtrip included a walk up Helvellyn. Read more...

As part of their AS Geography course, a group of Year 12 students from All Saints Catholic High School (Sheffield) spent a few days at Derwentwater, investigating the formation of the natural environment. In particular, they looked at the Helvellyn range, the mountains to the east of Derwentwater.

The investigation, based upon two fieldwork studies, will be assessed in their upcoming examinations in the summer. We wish them all the best.

The Great Phone Rescue!
Back in February John Snyder's iPhone 6 fell into Derwent Water, but that is not the end of the story. Read more...

Last month our owners John and Sarah Snyder held a fantastic party at the hostel, celebrating their 50th birthdays and the engagement of their daughter Georgia.

All was going very smoothly until John went to the end of Ashness Jetty to take a photo and...splash! A little slip on the icy jetty and his iPhone went plosh, straight into the water. John recalls:

'Amazingly I could see my last photo on the screen, with the phone facing upwards on the rocky lake bed. I started taking off my clothes so that I could jump in, but one of my friends warned me that a late night and freezing temperatures presented a fatal heart risk: welcome to being 50 years old!

So we tried to fish it out, but once the battery had died and the wind had ruffled the surface, it was too hard to see. However, the photos on my phone were really important to me, so I returned the next day, and by looking through a perspex tub held on the surface of the water, I could see it faintly, wedged tantalisingly on the bottom of the lake, well beyond the reach of our fishing nets.'

We did not think it would be recoverable without diving equipment, but when John mentioned his problem to Ben, one of the men working on our new footbridge, events took a swift turn, and the next thing we knew Ben was running up the driveway, dripping wet but clutching the iPhone! How did he manage to dive so accurately into such cold water?! He obviously likes a challenge!

We never thought the phone would actually work again, but here is John with the happy ending to the story:

'After three weeks of rest in warm dry rice, I powered up the iPhone and switched it on. Hurrah! It worked. Three days in the lake had not impaired it one single bit: even the audio was working!

So here it is - the last photo I took before the phone fell in the lake: a picture of Skiddaw on 14th February 2016. And of course the iPhone has many treasured photos of the beautiful evening we had with friends and family, in the wonderful setting of Derwentwater.'

The National Trust test our new footbridge
On their 'Start of Season' day, held at the hostel, National Trust staff and volunteers posed for a photo on our new footbridge. Read more...

It seems fitting that the first photo of people using the new footbridge in our grounds is of National Trust staff and volunteers, some of whom helped to plan the bridge and apply for funding (in particular Maurice Pankhurst, pictured bottom left with his thumbs happily up!). 

This photo was taken on the National Trust 'start of season' day of talks and workshops, held at the hostel on Friday 18th March.

DIH Fund for schools and youth groups
We would appreciate your help in spreading the word of our fund. Read more...

We have recently had some kind enquiries from guests, offering to distribute posters about our fund for school and youth groups. Thank you!

If you know of a school or youth group who might be interested in a residential at Derwentwater, or know a good place to display a poster (library, community centre etc), we would really appreciate your help in spreading the news of our fund. Depending on group size and financial need, we can subsidise groups by up to u00a31000.

The school and youth group posters are available to download from our website homepage, or we can send them to you by email.

Derwentwater Independent Hostel
Barrow House
CA12 5UR
Telephone: 017687 77246

Thank you to Geoff Williams, Rebecca Laff, Fiona McCarthy, John and Sam Snyder, and KTA for generously providing inspiring photographs.
Thank you to Lisa Bamford at Stoats and Weasels for designing our website, and to Sam Snyder for building it.
© 2013 Derwentwater Independent Hostel. All rights reserved. Registered charity: 1145368