Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

May 2017

Fast Group, No Stopping!

Group at Hawse End Cottage

Greetings from an absolutely fabulous Easter trip! Dave and I only got back last night, so this is the first chance we’ve had to reflect on all the things we got up to.

The venue was the Hawse End centre, a small bunkhouse spectacularly located on the banks of Derwent Water, nestled under the toe of Catbells. The only downside was the rather modest size of the kitchen and eating area. This was OK on the first night, but from Saturday onwards it did get a bit cosy. Thursday arrivals were treated to Lily’s baked chicken for dinner, which was the best welcome!

For most, the first full day was Good Friday. The weather forecast was so-so, so we decided to circumnavigate the lake. As this was a Dave P plan, we didn’t quite stick to the path right by the lake. Once we got to the Lodore Hotel, we headed up to Walla Crag for some views. The unexpected bonus of the day was the National Trust serving coffee at Ashness Bridge. No cake, so we arrived back at base with a full appetite for Nick’s pasta Bolognese.

Climbing Catbells

Saturday had the best forecast, so most of us headed up Catbells for an attempt on the Newlands Horseshoe. Although sunny, it was fiendishly windy and that made it rather cold. There were more than a dozen of us, so it was very unlikely we’d all walk at the same speed and there was a lot of hanging around for the speediest walkers at the front. On an ordinary, sunny day this would be a pleasure, but on this day it was positively bone-chilling. We stuck together for Catbells and Maiden Moor, but from here on the numbers dwindled. Doug left us at Maiden Moor, heading down into Borrowdale, then John and Judi left at High Spy for a similar descent. The remainder had lunch in a stone shelter close to Dale Head Tarn, contemplating the next ascent. It was freezing cold, so not really surprising that most turned back at this point. An intrepid four battled on through the gales to ascend the massive Dale Head at the top of the Newlands valley and follow the remainder of the horseshoe down Hindscarth and back to the centre. On the summit we were close to being blown off our feet – I saw another walker who was. The other hazard was dealing with walking poles on the scramble down. Chris carelessly threw her sticks down one scramble, narrowly missing Ali – one less for dinner?

The other major Saturday walk was the conquering of Scafell Pike by John, Gavin, Marion and James. Also very windy and cold, but being that bit higher they not only had a longer descent, they had some refreshing hail to keep them going.

John and Judi’s dinner was advertised as Beef Wellington and Lobster Bisque, but turned out to be a delicious veggie curry. Just what we needed to thaw out from the day’s walk.

Easter Sunday had weather that was a bit more mixed, with a lot of drizzle in the forecast. In an attempt not to overwhelm any tearooms we came to, we divided into two groups leaving at half hour intervals. However, due to poor forward thinking when assessing pace, the second group kept catching the first. There were lots of quips about who walked faster and tearooms being “eaten out of cakes”, still the walk to Grange and Watendlath made this the most cake-dense walk on the trip. Dinner was a rib-filling baked potato with chilli – thank you Nigel.

Dead Crags, below Skiddaw

Easter Monday was a good forecast with chilly weather and clear summits predicted, so Dave and Ali selected this day to do Skiddaw. Colin and Chris also signed up and, having seen the chilly forecast, Colin added the comment “fast group, no stopping” to the route card – a phrase that was set to haunt him every time he paused for breath! The ascent of Skiddaw was a very jolly affair. When Colin announced to us he was stopping at the next peak for coffee, he was greeted with cries of “do you do lattes?” and “mine’s a cappuccino” from the other walkers passing by. The summit was cold, there was even a little snowman, but the views over the whole Lake District were spectacular. Luckily, being the “fast group”, we not only had enough time for a drink in the pub, but got Chris back in plenty of time to prepare her veggie pasta.

The other Easter Monday walk was a Catbells/Castle Crag encounter by the survivors of the Scafell Pike summit party. I heard a rumour that they also managed to put their feet up in the tea room at Grange – obviously hard core!

There’s still loads I’ve not mentioned, but there’s just not the space here. Please ask Doug how much space cycling kit takes up in your rucksack. Ask Dave how cold you get if you forget your waterproof trousers on a rainy day. And I never even mentioned the puddings. Oh, and I have a list of lost property to reunite with owners.


Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer