Even though it’s winter, you can still do many outdoor activities. Our newest volunteer, Katy, swims in Derwent Water, without a wet suit in January and we had a small group of overseas students from Glasgow University who went kayaking on the Lake on a snowy Sunday afternoon last weekend. However, if like us you are slightly less hardy, we can recommend a winter walk from the hostel, followed by a hot chocolate and an evening in front of a log fire. We hope to see you soon for a winter break.
Come and stay in February and try:
- Some fantastic fell walks from the hostel
- Film Festival – the 14th Keswick Film Festival takes place 21-24 February. Fabulous range of films on offer. www.keswickfilmfestival.org
- Relax in front of the Lounge fireside – chance to read, play games and our free wifi now extends to the Lounge
- Theatre by the Lake has a huge variety of music, dance and drama in February.www.theatrebythelake.com
- Free half term activities for families at Whinlatter as well as walking trails and bike trails. www.forestry.gov.uk/whinlatter
- Winter Hillwalking and Mountaineering Weekend Courses take place every weekend in February based at the hostel and also 1-3 March. www.summitreks.co.uk/winter_
With fewer guests to look after, winter is always the best time to do the annual maintenance jobs. Staff always enjoy tackling jobs like decorating. This year we are painting some of the bedrooms with Georgian colours which really enhance the lovely Georgian features. We are delighted to have been able to invest in some new bedroom carpets and our new reception carpet is looking very smart. Dave remembers the last time we had new carpets was on the occasion of the Queen’s visit (last century!). Now we are independent, it’s great that we can use the surplus funds to make improvements for all to enjoy.With fewer guests to look after, winter is always the best time to do the annual maintenance jobs. Staff always enjoy tackling jobs like decorating. This year we are painting some of the bedrooms with Georgian colours which really enhance the lovely Georgian features. We are delighted to have been able to invest in some new bedroom carpets and our new reception carpet is looking very smart. Dave remembers the last time we had new carpets was on the occasion of the Queen’s visit (last century!). Now we are independent, it’s great that we can use the surplus funds to make improvements for all to enjoy.
We were delighted to be the venue again for SARDA’s Annual Assessment Weekend in the Lake District. They held their first course 40 years ago at Thirlmere and have held the last 10 years’ courses at our hostel. We were thrilled to be presented with a certificate by SARDA. It’s a privilege to work with SARDA and to see first hand what a dedicated bunch of people they are – not to mention their dogs. They train regularly throughout the year at different locations from Dartmoor to the Lake District mountains, in all weather, in their own time. Next month we will have a report from a 'dogsbody'.
Medical Students from Birmingham University stayed with us in November. If we gave Oscars for the most organised group, they would be a leading contender. The trip was arranged by a Student Society and they deserve top marks for organising a fantastic weekend away for their group. Read on to hear what the organisers said of their weekend training in the Lake District.
'On Friday 23rd November, the Birmingham University ‘Wilderness Medicine Society’ (WMS) made the three and a half hour journey up to the Lake District for a weekend full of activities, whilst staying at the Derwentwater Youth Hostel. The WMS is a group of students from Birmingham University who are interested in adventure, and whose aim is to learn about how to deal with medical scenarios and emergencies in the Great Outdoors.
No place was more suited for this weekend away than Derwentwater, allowing us to go out and explore the minute we stepped out of the door! The weekend was crammed full of things to do, beginning with a morning full of stations laid out in the grounds of the Hostel. Each station was led by a Doctor who had experience with medicine in an outdoor environment, and topics such as how to deal with hypothermia and altitude were covered, all with a hands on approach. After the morning of stations, we set off for a long walk around Derwentwater and the surrounding areas, stopping to gaze at the stunning scenery of the Lakes on the way! A delicious packed lunch provided by the hostel was exactly what we needed to keep us going whilst walking!
On arriving back at the hostel, we were greeted by hot showers before we went down for a much-needed three-course dinner in the Hostel dining room. A night walk around Derwentwater helped us to improve our navigation skills, and a comfy night in the dormitories prepared us for another walk on the Sunday. We incorporated ‘real life scenarios’ on the walk, such as someone breaking their leg, which was great fun and allowed us to learn what to do if something like that ever did happen. Overall, Derwentwater itself was beautiful and an ideal setting for our weekend, and the hostel, with its fabulous views, hospitality, great food and comfy beds, could not have been better! Thank you Derwentwater Youth Hostel for allowing us to have such a fun weekend and we are sure that we will see you again!'
It was a pleasure to have this group of medical students to stay and make the most of their weekend in the Lake District.
The weekend before Christmas we were visited by a group of 5 families. Barrow House is a great place to meet up with friends. This coming year we have a few different bookings for family and friend gatherings – a chance to celebrate big birthdays, anniversaries and weddings. Being last minute sort of people ourselves, we were intrigued and impressed by the story of the folk from Buckinghamshire who have an annual pre-Christmas break. This is what they told us.
'For the last six years a group of friends from Old Stratford near Milton Keynes have avoided the pre-Christmas hubbub by escaping to the country to stay at a youth hostel. Admittedly it takes a bit of planning and in some cases some nerve, especially when there is snow on the ground, to pack the winter warmers and the children into the car and head off to the countryside to start the festivities with some winter walking and a Christmas dinner provided by the ever hospitable staff at the various Youth Hostels.
Our tradition started in 2007 when 10 families 'took over' Wasdale Youth Hostel during the weekend before Christmas. It was a place that many of us had enjoyed over the years but had never visited all together and certainly never during the festive season.
We had such a fantastic time in Wasdale that a tradition had begun and since then we have stayed in Youth Hostels in Derbyshire, Shropshire, Hawkeshead and then most recently this year, in Derwentwater. We have never been disappointed, with each year bringing fresh ideas and experiences. None of us will ever forget the thick blanket of snow that covered the ground at Eyam making everyone feel particularly festive and adventurous that year.
This year our group stayed at the Derwentwater Youth Hostel where we were fantastically well looked after by Kathy, Dave and the team. The weather was typically 'lake district' but as usual this added to the adventure as we donned our wet weather gear and after gently bribing a few rebellious teenagers, we made our way up Cat Bells and then on the following day up Latrigg. Dave excelled himself in the kitchen by putting on a wonderful Christmas dinner, even bringing in a Christmas pudding liberally doused with a spoonful of flaming brandy. After dinner, everyone retired to the living room to play games, sing songs and drink beer in front of a warming log fire.
If anyone finds themselves feeling a bit jaded by the Christmas preparations, the office parties and the shopping then we certainly recommend a short break at a youth hostel to reenergise you and help work up an appetite for the big day!'
So we waved goodbye and wished them all Seasons Greetings on 24 December then headed out to do some Christmas shopping ourselves marvelling at how organised they were to have done it all in advance and having had time to enjoy a few days with friends in the Lake District!