I got back yesterday from my Adventure Weekend in Lake District National Park, which is in northern England about 50 miles south of Scotland which was a 6-7 hour bus from from central London. This weekend trip was organized and included in my IFSA-Butler program, and about 150 students came! We left Friday morning at 10, and got to the Barrowdale hostel at around 6pm. The hostel reminded me of going to sleep-away girl scout camp back in the states, with the bunk-beds and shared bathroom facilities. The hostel provided us with all of our meals for the weekend, FOR FREE. We had home cooked traditional meals from around the region that were surprising really delicious. I definitely didn’t go hungry.
Saturday morning saw the beginning of our extreme activities. We got a jump start to the day by waking up at 7:30 am, in order to eat breakfast and be at the Glaramara Outfitter center by 9 am. My first activity was gorge scrambling. I didn’t really know what to expect, but one of the guys in the program, Terry, said that it was his favorite activity that the center offered. I was a little apprehensive at first since I was going to climbing through a gorge, which meant water. And in northern England, lets just say it is definitely not warm. Thankfully, the center provided us with lots of warm gear which included: a fuzzy, fleece onesie, waterproof pants, a waterproof jacket, Wellies, and of course a helmet. There were about 20 students in the group, Julissa, Kelly, and I obviously lead the pack during the scramble. 🙂 Gorge scrambling is literally like rock climbing through the water. We were hiking up the stream, had lots of points of contact, were climbing up waterfalls, and army-crawling through tight tunnels. I had some bumps and scratches by the end of the hour and a half activity, but it was definitely worth it. I wish I would have brought a waterproof camera, because the view from inside the gorge at the section we scrambled in was so secluded and beautiful.
After we got back from the gorge scramble, changed into some dry, warm clothes and ate lunch, we were off to our second activity! Julissa and I did the Via Ferrata, which is Italian for “by way of iron.” For a little background history, the Via Ferrata was used by the Italians to navigate throughout the gorge to different mines, and was also used by the army in order to have an advantage over the enemy that would be passing through the bottom of the gorge. The Via Ferrata was definitely my favorite activity of the weekend, and gave me the ultimate adrenaline rush! We wore harnesses that were attached to a cable that ran along the mountain, and used what looked like big iron staples as places for our feet to step. I was definitely freaked out at first, being 2,000 ft high in the gorge, but after about 5 minutes I got really comfortable and definitely enjoyed myself. At certain points, we were able to unhook ourselves, and walk through some of the old slate mines. The whole experience lasted about 2 hours, and we ended up on top of the mountain and had the most breathtaking, 360 degree view. I have no words to describe the view, but I felt on top of the world. Apparently, the region of the Lake District that we were in, is the wettest part of England. We lucked out (thanks to Julissa’s good weather bubble) and had nothing but gorgeous sunshine!
On Sunday, we unfortnately had to leave, but not before we made our way into the cute town of Keswick. I was surprised to see how crowded the town was! Keswick is full of sandwich shops, coffee stores, tea rooms, and outdoor supply stores. My friends and I stopped at one of the quaint little tea rooms and treated ourselves to some traditional English tea! I really enjoyed our trip to the Lake District, and wish that I had more time and could go back. It was so nice to escape from the polluted and crowded city, and breath in fresh, crisp air. Even though I was doing all of these extreme activities this weekend, I felt so refreshed being out in the English countryside. Especially after talking to some of the guides on our activities, the Lake District definitely seems like a peaceful and easy-going place to live. The only thing I would worry about living there is access to television so I could watch Glee! But I’m sure it’s something I could learn to live without 🙂
This weekend, I’m staying put in London and plan on having no plans. Maybe I’ll even get some homework done….?
PS- I’ve uploaded some new pictures for the weekend, so check them out the Pictures tab!