The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
Sunny? But it's a Bank Holiday!
Well what a superb Easter! Who's ever heard of such gorgeous weather on a British Bank Holiday. All of you who missed it should feel very, very sad! Mind you, all was not necessarily roses, as you will see if you read accounts of the journey up on Thursday! The traffic jam is one Easter Bank Holiday tradition we never seem to be able to break.
With Easter being a bit late this year the daffodils were a little past their best and the baby lambs were pretty much past their really wobbly cute stage, but there were stacks of primroses and violets in the hedgerows and even the blue bells were starting to come out. See below for more about our Easter in the Lake District.
Other events in the last month include Clare's cycle ride from Thornton to Fryerning. Notable for the fact that Dave J had to be sent home due to the drunken nature of his bicycle (not Dave for a change!).
Easter in Eskdale
A Newcomers View
The breakdown in others plans and the good weather forecast, gave me an ideal excuse to do something I had meant to do for a couple of years, attend a CYHA event. Having scrounged a lift at the Wednesday meeting the day before we were on the road along with the rest of the UK population. 4 people in a car isn't too bad but with loads of kit and being confined in this metal box for 13 hours proved an interesting start to the CYHA experience! There was little more do on arrival except roll into a spare bunk - well it was the middle of the night.
Good Friday started bright and sunny and it was off up Scafell. It was a hot slog with good views and rewarded at the top with a glass of wine for all.
After a good day out in the fresh air all you want is a good nights sleep. Not so simple - I exchanged my bed in the dorm with George for the Sofa in the lounge in hope that it may be a little quieter. Well it was except there was snoring also from the other dorm and from upstairs!
Saturday, and another gorgeous day, the group split into smaller groups on this day and I went with a group up Pillar from Wasdale. A long and good walk with lots of ups and downs, views and rewarded by a pint in the Wasdale Head. A trip to the local busy watering hole in Boot in the eve was followed by an equally noisy nights sleep, this time with Polly trying to share my bed - a little upset when I pushed her off!
Sunday and most people took a walk to Ravenglass over Muncaster Fell and a ride on the Ratty steam railway. Another noisy nights sleep on Sunday, this time with Polly joining in the snoring competition! Bank holiday Monday arrived and mirky skies led most people to the Sellafield visitor centre. It was then back to Chelmsford and work, with only a 9 hour journey on the way back.
So did I enjoy it? YES
Lorna: That path up is shite!
Jane: I know - (gasp, wheeze)
Dave P: We have to keep going, or we'll miss out on whatever Ian has brought up in his bag.
Lorna: Jane, keep going, you're nearly there.
... and then I was, at the top of Scafell, to enjoy, 'Hock on the Rock' courtesy of the wonderful Ian.
And to the gritty men who had reached that peak a few minutes (hours!) before me, may I just remind them of the gritty female who beat them all into submission at the ten pin bowling event ....
Really enjoyed Easter, I really felt a big sense of achievement in getting to the top of Scafell, and loved the walk over Muncaster Fell. It feels a different world away now.
By Road or Rail?
After serious consideration of the 10 hours+ it would take to get to Eskdale by train (due to some of my union colleagues thinking it would be a nice day for a strike) I decided to take up Dave J's offer of a lift from Chelmsford -about 6 hours say's he. After a reasonable journey on to the A1M it crawl all the way to Scotch Corner -it seems everyone and every lorry decided it was a good day to crawl down the A1M. 7 Hours from Cambridge to Scotch Corner giving an arrival at the Centre at 01.42 - the train would have arrived at 17.40. I owe thanks to Dave J for the 13 hour+ drive to the Centre but next time I think I'll take the strain and go by train.
Trudi led the fanatical few on Saturday down the path from The Woolpack to Upper Eskdale and Great Moss it was a little chilly and breezy (Force 15) up the dale spent dodging from rock to rock for shelter from the wind. Once the way back had started it was less chilly and the scenery was superb - better in fact than the previous days hike up Sca Fell. Thanks to Trudi for the idea.
Ode to a Smelly Bog I found in the Lake District one Morning.
I like the Lake District a lot
The Sun will come out…
After four days of fine weather it was disappointing, but not unexpected, to wake up to heavy rain on Easter Monday. The suggestion of a trip to the Sellafield visitor centre was most popular, despite my optimistic insistence that the sun would come out eventually (it usually does if you wait long enough!). I suggested a low level walk on the shore of Wastwater, with optional hill for when the sun came out. Only Trudi and Clive fell for it...
When we parked beside Wastwater the weather was worse than ever. The car was buffeted by wind and rain as we peered out across the black waters of the lake to the grim grey screes beyond, and even Trudi refused to get out of the car! After driving around a bit more, we left the rain and started the walk at Nether Wasdale. "Hill or lake?" I asked, "Hill!" said Trudi, so off we set up Irton Fell, with fine views (between passing hail showers) down Wasdale. The descent down to the lake was steep, and Clive had left his walking poles behind (apparently I told him it was a flat walk), but we got down eventually to join the shore path through bluebell woods. A red squirrel posed for our photos, and as we made our way across the undulating fields where the Lake District meets the coastal plain, believe it or not, the sun came out!
Death of a Bicycle
Eight of us met at Thorndon Park near Brentwood on an overcast Sunday in April to follow Clare on one of her favourite local cycle routes. Within two minutes of starting out, the first call went out to "bicycle repair man" - Dave J's back wheel was wobbling and clanking in an alarming fashion. Jim did his best to patch it up and we set out again. A few miles later we nearly had a huge pile-up as Dave's back bearing suddenly seized-up and he came to an immediate halt, much to the surprise of those of us cycling close behind him!
After more roadside repair efforts, we had to admit defeat and sent Dave and the remains of his bicycle back to Shenfield railway station to get a train home.
The rest of us carried on to enjoy lunch at the Viper pub and ride back to Thorndon Park, calling in at Clare's flat for much appreciated tea and biscuits. Thanks to Clare for an enjoyable day out, and commiserations to Dave for missing the best bits!
Many thanks to Lynn for our introduction to the expressive world of sign language. It was very interesting to see the logic in how the various signs were organised. Now at least we know that in an emergency we could competently ask a deaf person when their bunny's birthday is!
The YHA President's Awards 2002
We were named as the winner of the "Best Work Undertaken at a Hostel" category for our work at Jordans last year and also joint winner, with Leicester Group, of the "Best Web Site" category.
Good Luck to Dave J
Our Illustrious Chairman is due to be out of circulation for a while due to an operation he's having this month. We would like to wish Dave Julian all the best for his op & hope for a speedy recovery. During the period of his recovery we will be having absolutely no fun and there will be no drinking in Ireland whatsoever. Honest.
Chilean Fjords and Antarctic Voyage
To celebrate my big 50 I plan to travel to The Antarctic in November 2004. Poor souls who wish to freeze are welcome to join this trip via the Chilean Fjords
Cape Horn, the Magellan Strait and two days landing on the Antarctica. Be warned, it ain't cheap! The cost is expected to be between £3500-£4500 depending on departure time and route as there are two options. It is for 16/17 nights and mainly on board a Norwegian cruise ship, Zodiacs and flying via Madrid or Frankfurt. If you are mad or daft enough please contact me for further information.
Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer