Explorers Walking Weekend

Published on 14/09/2015 by David Stokes.

Over the weekend of 12th-13th September a group from the District’s Phoenix Explorer Scout Unit spent the weekend in the Lake District on a walking trip. Following last year’s relaxing walking day in the Simonside Hills, and following a busy expedition season, it had been decided to organise a more relaxed walking weekend at the end of the summer.

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Although the group had hoped to tackle some high level routes (Great Gable and Hellvellyn had been planned), the weather wasn’t so kind. Upon arrival on the Saturday morning the rain was still coming down and although it was forecast to end at around 10.30, it continued with some very heavy spells of rain until early afternoon. The route chosen for the Saturday was therefore a low level route from Langdale YHA, to Rydal, Grasmere and back.IMG_20150912_120525

By the time the group of seven were on the coffin trail to Grasmere the weather had dried up and lunch was taken looking out over Rydal water. After a quick stop to buy gingerbread and take a cup of tea in Grasmere it was decided that as the weather had improved as forecast, the last leg of the route would be changed slightly to take in some of the hills between Grasmere and the youth hostel. The views were certainly worth it although the trip across open access land did see the group following a track down a gully which need care to descend, using both hands and feet.

IMG_20150912_155936Over the Saturday evening the team cooked their own dinner in the youth hostel and spent the rest of the evening using the various facilities. Langdale is still an ‘old fashioned’ hostel and gave everyone a chance to see some of what traditional youth hostelling was all about, before YHA started to convert (or close down) some hostels.

Leaders David and Simon were joined on the Saturday by fellow Leader Gareth who is currently working in the Lake District and who lives down in Ambleside. By 10.30pm everyone was pretty much ready for bed after a good day’s walking.

IMG_20150913_084428After some overnight rain, Sunday dawned brighter but the forecast was for mist and fog on the higher hills so the plan was to walk across Loughrigg Fell to Ambleside.

To get ready for an early start the team had booked a full cooked breakfast from the YHA which meant a lie in until 7.30am, followed by some route planning, breakfast in the dining room and off and out of the hostel by 9.30am.

IMG_20150913_103849The Sunday was a chance to share some navigation skills with each of the Explorer Scouts taking it in turn to do some navigation legs, working towards their Stage 4 Navigator Badge. The contours on Loughrigg Fell presents some interesting navigation challenges but there was no problem on the way over to Ambleside. There was also the added bonus of bumping into three other Scout Leaders from Cheshire who’d also been to the 23rd World Scout Jamboree, giving Leader David and Explorer Scout Andrew a chance to relive some Jamboree memories from July/August.

IMG_20150913_124431The team spent thirty minutes in Ambleside (time for a quick ice-cream) before setting off back to YHA Langdale via a bridle path to the south of Loughrigg Fell. The team made good time and enjoyed some glorious views looking down over Windermere.

The aim of the weekend – to have some relaxing walks, to have fun and to improve some navigation skills – were certainly fulfilled and everyone said what an enjoyable weekend it had been.