Many thanks to Clare Symonds for her trip report:
On Thursday evening, a small army of Tourneos (9-seater Ford Transits) left Hampshire for the long journey to the Lake District. My Tourneo departed around 18:00 and got there at 01:30! In total we had 55 people at the weekend, including the Peru team, usual HSX members and load of Explorers from across Hampshire and Weymouth. I was part of the extra Explorers, coming a long for the weekend to see what HSX was all about.
Rock Climbing Introduction
Despite the rather unsociable arrival time last night, breakfast was served 08:00 HSX time (HSX time is an hour ahead of GMT) and got ready. We headed out for a day of climbing, and to get things started we began with a spot of bouldering (low level climbing without ropes). Meanwhile, the leaders set up some top ropes, so we could climbing up higher. After a brief refresher on how to belay, we took it in turns to climb up the crag. 12:00ish we ate lunch. We did some more climbing and finally headed back to base at Great Tower.
Back in the warmth of the hut, we finally had a chance to get everyone at the weekend in one place at the same time and we had a briefing for the weekend and reported back on the days activities, accompanied with hot crossed buns and tea. This was followed by a lovely dinner and a chat about the next day’s planned walking routes.
On the second day we woke up for breakfast even earlier (07:00HSX). Then we got in the Tourneos and several groups headed for Dungeon Ghyll car park, at the base of the Langdales. Our group, lead by Alan, started on a walk with the aim of improving our navigation. Anthony took the first leg, around 2km. As we walked we got to know each other, most of us never having met before this weekend. Each day was an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. After 2km Karl took over leading the navigation, then we gradually started going up to the pile of rocks, finally arriving at Pike of Stickle. We climbed the last bit one by one, as the path became narrow. When all of us got to the top we looked at the view as we started to walk to Dungeon Ghyll Force. Then we saw another group on the way down and made the final descent together. The conditions underfoot were a little snowy in places, so I had to learn how to use different techniques to stay on my feet. I never thought walking could be so hard!
So then things got interesting…
We stopped for lunch within sight of the car park, next to some of the leaders. We were instructed to get changed and put on a climbing harness and helmet. One by one we were lead down into a deep, cold, wet gorge. Between the top and bottom of the gorge was a 15 meter abseil, complete with waterfall! Now I can say “I’ve done that”. I changed into some nice warm clothes and we headed back to meet the Peru team. David H-E ate all the bakewell tarts. We had dinner in two settings because their where so may of us. Then followed a de-brief and tomorrow choice was to go climbing or walking up Scafell Pike, which I had done when I was seven. So, I decided to climb improve my climbing skills. Then we had a chat and I went to bed early because I was so tired.
Climbing part 2
We woke up, had breakfast and grabbed lunch. We jumped into the Tourneos and got on our way. At the crag, we did some warm ups exercises, including the plank. I did some belaying, and just before lunch I did a climb which included standing on someone’s shoulder (thanks Tom Rose!). Then in the afternoon I too a more relaxed role, viewing from the ground. 15:00ish we went back had a lazy afternoon. I played with a little German boy (Ed – Dave Frid’s 2 year old son) who spoke little English which was a bit difficult. Then we had dinner, a full de-brief of the weekend and prepared for departure the next day.
We got up, tidied up and then we spent the day travelling home.
I was asked to highlight the best bit of the weekend, but on reflection I found it hard to narrow it down to just one. With all the new adventures, I can honestly say that it was all so much fun.