Having established that the weather was not going to force us to abandon our plans for this weekend, like it did last year, when we had to cancel the weekend due to heavy snow, we gathered together in Bingley and began to load the bus. Medical forms, medication and consent forms were exchanged and put safely into the file, and we were away. There was a quick stop in Skipton to collect Luke, but then the journey up to Troutbeck was quiet, compared with the usual noise from the back of the bus. It took the customary 2 hours for us to get to our destination, and once there the process of allocating rooms, finding rooms, making beds, unpacking bags etc began. Finally by 9pm we were relaxing in the YHA lounge listening or singing to the music from John and Jeff. Hot chocolate soon did the rounds and the young people gradually drifted off to their rooms and allowed time for the staff to meet and discuss the weekend’s plans.
Saturday morning came, and everyone was raring to go.
After a fabulous breakfast at the Youth Hostel, we were packing dry bags, making sandwiches and reloading the bus ready to get off to Lakeland Leisure in Windermere to begin the day’s events. On our arrival, we were split into two groups, one group to do sailing and the other to try a new way of rafting together the Canadian canoes. Neil, the instructor, was new to us but he was and dab-hand with the canoes and they were lashed together ready for us, and he told us that he had a secret weapon for us to try when we had done some paddling. All we needed now was some warm, waterproof kit and our paddles and we were soon under way. Jeff took the RIB out as a safety boat, and the second group quickly got into the Gig once it had been brought to the jetty from its offshore mooring. All three groups were soon racing along the water in their particular vessels, the wind making paddling very difficult when in the middle of the lake, thankfully much easier towards the North shore, and giving the Gig the chance to really race along. Having paddled a good distance up the lake and been met by the other groups on the beach just down from Wray Castle, Neil began to rig a mast to use with the canoes. When everyone had had a drink, and we were ready to go, the Mast was attached to the canoes and we paddled out to where we were able to raise the sail and return under sail to Lakes Leisure. The canoes easily competed with the Gig as we all raced back to the jetty. It was a wonderful way to return after the hard work we had all put into getting to Wray Castle. We adjourned to the Lakes Leisure building to sit and eat our lunch.
In the afternoon, the groups were swapped over, but due to the wind becoming much stronger, the canoes were towed to Wray Castle, where we turned and again “sailed” the canoes back across the lake, followed closely by the Gig and the RIB. Although the wind had been fierce on our outward journey, it seemed to die off and we returned at a very leisurely pace, actively having to seek wind out in order to keep moving, but a great time was had by all. We returned to the minibus with red faces from a day spent out on the lake, and drove back to the Youth Hostel, to take advantage of the lovely warm showers there. We relaxed in the lounge with more music from John and Jeff until our evening meal was ready. There were various meals on the menu and everyone seemed to get what they wanted and all plates were clean by the end of the meal. Later in the evening Brian arrived bringing two further participants with him, James and Sahlia. More music, fun and singing and everyone soon began to nod off, returning to their rooms one by one and off to bed.
Sunday morning again saw us tucking into a delicious breakfast in the hostel, before packing everything up and reloading the minibus. With a little thought having to go into the logistics of the journey, with two extra bodies and more luggage we needed some people to go in Brian’s car, we were soon under way again, heading for Keswick. Again the group was split into two, one group going to the climbing wall, the others to the car park at the back of the swimming pool, where the cycle path comes into Keswick. With 5 tandems and one single rider, we were away up the trail, wobbling and straining at the hills (well, it is the first weekend of the year, and we have all been getting unfit during the long, wet winter). The weather held out and the sun shone as we covered the miles, but then we had to return and load the cycling group onto the bus in order to go swap with the climbing group. Once back with the second group, the whole process began again, only this time there was the slightest hint of drizzle in the air, but not enough to spoil the activity. Again after cycling outwards for a good while, it was time to return to the bus and, once again, drive to the climbing wall, as we were to be lunching on their picnic tables. A good, hearty meal was had and we began the sad process of goodbyes, to the people who were travelling home by means other than the minibus. Having said our goodbyes, we were away, back down through Windermere and back to the A65, which we followed all the way into our meeting stop in Bingley, were we dropped everyone off.
Once again, a fab weekend was had by all, and judging by how quiet the bus was on the return journey, a tiring weekend was also had by all. Can’t wait for the next one now!!!
Tell others by using these social media buttons: