Winter Lakes trip lives up to its name!
Tom Anderson of Year 10 gives an account of the PES Winter Lakes trip:
A cold and wet PES Winter Lakes Trip took place between Friday 14th and Monday 17th December 2012. It consisted of two day hikes, during Year 9 and 10 students managed to summit the two mountains – Harter Fell (649m) and the Old Man of Coniston (803m).
Our group of 35 students met on the final day of term to depart on a five hour journey to the camping barn near Dale Head in the Lake District. It was raining and darkness had drawn in by the time we arrived, so we quickly unpacked all our equipment and cooked the surprisingly tasty evening’s dinner of spicy Italian pasta.
The following morning we awoke to cold and wet weather; which was the mainstay of our trip! The Year 9 students, for many their first time in the big hills, were taken aback by the huge mountains looming either side of the valley. After breakfast, cooked by one of the six hike groups, we set about packing our rucksacks for the day’s hike. Once everyone was ready, Mr Parker introduced us to the mountain environment and its dangers together with a short navigation session. This involved learning or recapping how to set and follow bearings and some basic map skills. We were then given our maps from which we planned our route to the summit of Harter Fell.
After reviewing the route, the hiking groups set off at brief intervals. We each took it in turns to navigate, with one person leading and another overlooking the route. Within a few hours all the groups completed the ascent and met at the summit. We were hoping for spectacular views of the Lake District to complement our lunch, but unfortunately the peak was surrounded by cloud. All the groups made the descent before dark and upon returning, the evening was spent drying wet kit by the stove, playing card games and taking part in a quiz.
The next day, we were to face a longer and more challenging hike. The weather was again poor, with low clouds and rain at times. Nevertheless, the tough decision was made to go ahead and summit the Old Man of Coniston. After a challenging ascent – including some snow patches – all the hike groups made it to the cold and windy peak where we ate our packed lunch in shelters.
The entertainment for the evening took the form of a ‘wide game’, which was played in the dark and involved students camouflaging themselves and evading their captors before returning to base. We departed the following morning after a cooked breakfast and packing up.
Even though the weather was not particularly kind over the trip, spirits were high and everyone left with a worthwhile and valuable experience of hiking within teams in the Lakes.