The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
In the Heart of the Lakes
Easter wouldn't be Easter without our annual visit to the Lake District. The rolling hills, the snow-sprinkled tops, the golden daffodils and the little bleating lambs. But something was missing this year. It was much the usual crowd (couple of new faces, couple of regulars who couldn't make it), so I don't think it was that. Trudi had her usual collection of semi decomposed vegetable matter lurking in the fridge - so not that either. Could it be the diet? Well curry, bolognese & stew featured in the evening, with cheese and tuna as staples for lunch, plenty of custard with the puddings - so nothing unusual there. The activities perhaps? I don't think so, there was the usual mix of tea shops, shopping, pleasant hill walks and macho walk-all-the-lakes-in-just-one-day megahikes. So what could it be? Not the Easter eggs that's for sure. As usual Lorna supplied Crème Eggs as very welcome treats for Easter Sunday.
Suddenly it came to me as I unpacked my rucksack at the end of the trip. My un-used waterproof trousers were right at the bottom, squashed to a shape reminiscent of one of Dave's Mars Bars. It hadn't rained.
Six days in the Lake District with dry, even sunny weather. It must be a first!
The Lake District Alternatives
Great weather and a great location at Hartsop gave us a choice of good walks every day at Easter.
Jim: Mike, John and I went up Grey Craig after arriving and unpacking the shopping. The walk was short at about four miles, some steep, but was good value, giving good views of Helvellyn with a fresh covering of snow.
Jim: I led a group up the Southern end of High Street to Stony Cove Pike, and back down Hartsop Dodd. We set off with low cloud on the tops, which meant I would have remember how to use a compass etc. At the top of the Knott, my eyes and sense of direction, and the compass bearing from the map completely disagreed, and Tom and Neil's experience put me right - unsurprisingly, the compass was correct. Going on to High Street, the cloud lifted long enough to give us a view for first lunch, before dropping again as we went to Stony Cove Pike. There the cloud lifted again for a view. We changed our plan to come down Hartsop Dodd. The path down on the map couldn't be seen so we came straight off the side, which led directly to the pub. From Hart Crag a couple of days later, the path was apparent, but looked no less steep.
Dave P: From Pooley Bridge to Hartsop along the course of the Roman Road "High Street". A good 12-mile high-level march. Colin and Neil disappeared into the distance - obviously potential Roman legionnaires, while the rest of us had more lunch stops than the Roman army would probably have allowed. We did see a guy with a poly carrier bag who looked like he belonged on Chelmsford High Street.
Jim: Tom, Robert and I formed a breakaway. We did an alternative Fairfield Horseshoe, going from Hartsop, up Hart Crag to Fairfield, and back down St. Sunday Crag. The weather was excellent, and I came back red despite wearing my rain hat to keep the worst of the sun off. The views from Hart Crag and Fairfield were very good; all the way to Morecombe Bay along Windermere, and of Helvellyn and Striding edge, where the others were. We waved but I don't think they saw us. Suffice to say on the way back, we managed a swifty at the Glenridding Hotel before returning to the centre.
Dave P: Having suffered from new boots (that's my excuse) we took up Trudi's suggestion of a less ambitious walk on Beda Fell, which turned out to be a truly splendid little ridge that took us down to Howtown to catch the Ullswater steamer back.
Jim: Five of us, who were going back on Monday caught the Steamer to Howtown and walked back to Glenridding along the lake shore. Again, the weather was good, and it was a nice easy, scenic walk to end on. I wanted to walk by a Lake, as we were in the Lakes, but I had been going up mountains, and away from the water.
Dave P: Staying an extra night meant we had time for the magnificent walk around Glencoyne. We couldn't resist bagging Sheffield Pike which gave us views of everywhere we'd walked in the previous days. And we just got to the teashop at Aira Force seconds before it closed.
Dave P: After cleaning the centre, and a valiant attempt to eat all the leftovers for breakfast, there was time for a leisurely stroll around Brotherswater and a lunchtime snooze in the sun by the lakeside, nicely rounding off a marvellous Easter weekend.
I was a tasty pineapple
Perhaps in the next life I'll be a cheese sandwich.
On Saturday 17 April six keen CYHA members headed for Colchester University climbing wall. This is an indoor wall with climbs of varying difficulties. The hardest part was getting everyone into a harness, but it was not long before we had chosen our first climb. We soon realised that only one of us could get more than half way up! So we moved across the room to a climb with bigger holds. There were a few moans now and then of 'my fingers hurt ' and 'I bet I'll ache tomorrow'! Despite this everyone managed to get to the top of at least one climb. There was also the opportunity to practice belaying each other - next time we'll have to put some lead boots on Marion as her feet wanted to leave the floor whenever her climber took a fall or descended! Thanks to all those who turned up. We may well go again sometime in the not too distant future so watch this space.
Aching shoulders, sore fingers and matching bruises on the knees. What had I been up to!?! Spending an afternoon tackling the north face of Colchester University's fearsome climbing wall.
Despite the aches and pains it was fun to do something new, even putting the safety harness on raised a few laughs. Having started off on the "harder" wall we sensibly progressed to the "easier" wall (yes, I know you are supposed to do it the other way round, but hey, who said the CYHA wasn't different!). This was followed by an attempt on "the chimney", a notoriously difficult route that I declined to try. In between we "belay-ed" for the others, and this also provided a few chuckles when I got dragged towards the base of the wall. So, thanks to Jon for giving us an entertaining afternoon …….. now where's that Radox!
The Original Walk
Ten of us met at Heybridge Basin for our annual walk along the Chelmer & Blackwater towpath from the sea to Chelmsford. How far is it? The official distance is 137/8 miles with a climb of 76'11" through 12 locks. And how many times have we done this walk? I've done it about 15 times, but I've found a photo of the very first walk by the original Chelmsford YHA Group in 1956, and guess what, it was along the canal from Maldon.
Seven Go Bowling
At the end of March, seven of us had a good time bowling at the Megabowl. Tom and I vied for the Wooden Spoon, and won one each. James was streets ahead of the rest of us, scoring a series of three strikes/spares and racking the points up. I squandered my one strike of the night by hitting nothing with either ball in the next frame. We rounded the evening off with a couple of drinks in the bar.
The Wildfowl and Wetlands of Gloucestershire
In the Easter holidays we went to Slimbridge Youth Hostel for 3 days. I met some Brownies next door. I liked the flowery wallpaper in the bedroom. In the Conservatory you can look out of the window and see a pond with ducks in it. We went for a walk along the canal and saw the barges. On the second day we went to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre. There were flamingos, ducks, geese and swans from all over the world. There were six types of flamingos. I liked them and the fancy ducks. We fed the birds with some birdseed that we got from the Centre. When we were having lunch, a goose tried to eat Sebastian's cheese roll!
Next day we went to Berkeley Castle. People still live in there! A Guide showed us around the Castle. There was a big chest that once belonged to Sir Francis Drake and some embroidery that took 10 years to do! We had a picnic in the grounds. On the last day we went to the Waterways Museum in Gloucester. There were 2 computer games, one was building a canal, and the other was going through a lock. On the third floor there was an activity centre. I made a barge called "Seasurfer", and Sebastian made a Viking Longship.
I really enjoyed going to Slimbridge and I recommend it to others.
By Suzanne Pountney, age 8
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