Outdoor Pursuits group head to the Lake District
On the last day of Michaelmas Term, as the remainder of the school prepared for the Christmas holidays, 27 intrepid students from an array of Outdoor Pursuits Department groups boarded the school minibuses for the long journey to the Lake District.
After six hours of driving, the group arrived at their final destination, Dale Head camping barn at the base of the Wrynose Pass. The camping barn is an old abandoned farm building on the flat valley floor, sitting between the summits of Grey Friar and Harter Fell. The long drive to the barn along a single track road beside raging rivers and rocky crags gave the students an excellent feeling of isolation.
The next morning saw the students break off into walking groups of four or five students and attempt to circumnavigate the summit of Harter Fell and visit the superbly preserved Hard Knott Fort, which in Roman times protected trade routes through the mountains. Usually students attempt to climb to the summit of Harter Fell but the weather, producing very poor visibility, unfortunately prevented this.
Waking up on the Sunday, students hurriedly produced packed lunches and assembled outside ready to depart. The weather had improved and there was enough visibility to attempt some summits. The winds were still high so the climb would prove to be a challenge.
After much effort all groups reached the summit of Grey Friar where the winds were high. Quickly descending northwards towards the summit of Swirl How, the groups reached more sheltered ground and continued on their way. Of the eight groups on the summit, three groups made it to the highest summit in the range; The Old Man of Coniston. For the remaining five groups, reaching the summit was not possible due to poor weather closing in.
Our final day saw the group packing up the equipment and clearing out the barn. After another long drive and thoroughly exhausted, all students returned to school very much ready for a restful Christmas break.
A huge thank you to all of the staff who made this possible and who made the trip a success despite the challenging weather conditions.