Hurrah for the hydro! Work has now started on repairing the hydro-electric plant in our grounds, 18 months after Storm Desmond caused so much damage.
We also have a new picture in the servery, thanks to photographer Anita Nicholson. We hope you will be able to see it soon.
We have enjoyed lots of school group visits over the past few months, including local Borrowdale CE Primary School: read on for some of their entertaining reports!
Borrowdale CE Primary School is situated in Stonethwaite, at the southern end of the Borrowdale valley, and we were delighted to welcome all of the KS1 and 2 pupils for a one night residential in May, allowing them to explore 'the big white house' that most of them pass each day.
Our manager Tim, and his partner Aukje, have a child in Year 6 (well, just finished term now!), and our former manager Kathy has been a Borrowdale School governor for a long time. Aukje also helps with after school clubs, and I help with KS1 on Thursday afternoons, so it was lovely to welcome familiar faces and see the children playing and cooperating with each other. Here is a report of the residential:
On Thursday 25th May, in bright sunshine, 36 pupils from Years 1 to 6 of Borrowdale CE School came to stay, enhancing their term topic of ‘Borrowdale’, and developing important skills, from making beds to helping each other pack up in the morning.
They arrived after school on Thursday, in time for a simple meal, followed by a campfire and playtime in the grounds. The children also sang songs that they'd created in a music workshop earlier that day.
On Friday morning the pupils were very organised, packing up their bags and clearing their rooms before breakfast. In fact some of the younger ones were up at 5.45am, but they quietly coloured in pictures of the hostel!
After breakfast the teachers led room inspections, followed by playtime in the sunshine. At 10am Katy led all the pupils on a walk to Ashness Bridge, looking at the hydro-plant and wild flowers along the way. The pupils were interested in the local OS map, identifying Barrow Beck and other features. At Ashness Bridge the KS2 pupils demonstrated their knowledge of local geology and geography, discussing the geological history of Borrowdale, with a good view of Skiddaw and Falcon Crag. All of the pupils have been studying Borrowdale this term, and they were able to identify the difference in rock type between Skiddaw (sedimentary) and Falcon Crag (Borrowdale Volcanic Rock).
After some more discussion about the course of the River Derwent, and the meaning of Derwent (river of oaks), we walked down a little-used path through Strutta Wood SSSI, looking carefully at trees and flowers along the way. Back at the hostel the pupils collected their packed lunches and took them down to the lakeshore, with an hour of paddling and playtime and more discussion about the formation and features of the valley.
After lunch certificates were given out for tidiest room, best manners etc, then all the pupils went off for their usual Friday afternoon PE activity: KS1 to Keswick Leisure Pool for swimming lessons, and KS2 with Glaramara for their adventure activity (climb inside Honister Slate Mine on this occasion).
It was a wonderful end to the week, and we hope to have Borrowdale School to stay every year.
We are grateful to the Sir John Fisher Foundation for subsidising the Newbarns Year 5 Residential. Here are reports from three of the pupils:
After a long journey to Keswick we clambered out of the bus to see an amazing hostel with a beautiful garden to look out on when we were in our bedrooms. We dragged our suitcases up to the rooms where we made our beds and made our rooms look tidy with all our suitcases in. Before we had free time, we took all our shoes down stairs and lined them up neatly in pairs. After everyone had finished their meals we all got ready for a walk around the hostel and up to Ashness Bridge. The river underneath the bridge was flowing extremely fast as it had been raining the night before.
I had never stayed in such an old as well as big place before. I was absolutely astonished seeing my room because I was in room one (the very grand old banqueting room) with seventeen other girls. The staff were really helpful. After making the beds and settling in, I went to explore the hostel. I found: the ping pong room, the pool room, the lounge and the very important girl’s toilets. On the first night we discovered that the hostel was close to Ashness Bridge but was quite a fun but tiring climb. When we got back to our temporary home, I was tired out and almost fell asleep instantly. I enjoyed my first day passionately. As well as free time at the hostel we: made shelters, made our own hot chocolate on stoves and enjoyed our meals, a lot. Thank you for letting us come.
Relieved, I got off the bus and grabbed a suitcase and rolled it into the hostel. We went into the lounge and got told where our rooms were. We rushed to them and made our beds. We had some free time and played hide and seek. We then had lunch. Very satisfied, we had more free time (hide and seek) then had tea. We went for a walk to Ashness Bridge and back. Sadly, we went to bed (don't worry teachers, most of us slept, including me).
The following day we caught the launch to Hawse End and walked back to the hostel by following the shore through Portinscale and Keswick. Later on we made fantastic dens with the fantastic trees the front garden had! Then, Mr Laird showed us how to use a stove.
By Luke, Willow and Eden
Gateshead Boy's Brigade have been coming to the hostel for several years, and we were really happy to receive this report of their Easter stay from Ross Cairns, one of the young boys:
Thursday 13th April
After a few hours’ drive, we arrived at Wasdale to do Ghyll Scrambling with Carol and Richard from Carol Climb. It was quite a cold day so we all got very wet and very cold, but the majority of us still enjoyed it. Once we had eaten lunch and arrived at Derwentwater Hostel, most of us went straight to the drying room to hang up our soaked clothes. Later, we all sat down in the kitchen for our evening meal which was pasta and meatballs. It was very nice and some also had seconds.
Friday 14th April
After a good night’s sleep, we packed our rucksacks ready for our hike. We all then went down to the kitchen for breakfast and filled up ready for the hike. After breakfast, we met at the minibus ready to travel to the bottom of Blencathra. When we arrived, we got out of the minibus and prepared for the hike. We all enjoyed the hike and for most us it was the best part of the weekend. There were lots of great views as we got further up Blencathra and as we got near to the top we had to do a lot of scrambling. When we got to the top, it started to get warmer and the sun finally came out. We had lunch then began the trek back down. When we were back on the minibus, we travelled to Keswick for some free time. After that, we walked back to the hostel and enjoyed the view as we walked along the lakeside. A while later, we went to the kitchen for tea; it was yellow Thai curry.
Saturday 15th April
Following another good night’s sleep, we went down to the kitchen for breakfast. After breakfast, we packed our bags and got ready to leave for sailing. When we arrived at the Platty+ centre at Derwent Water, we got off the minibus and put some extra layers on as it was quite chilly. The sailing was good and everyone enjoyed it, however we were all wet and cold by the end. We had lunch back at the hostel and then drove back home. It was a great weekend for everyone, thanks to the officers, the leaders of the activities, and the hostel.
It has been a long wait, but we are delighted that work has now started on the hydro-plant, repairing the damage caused by Storm Desmond (December 2015).
The first task is to clear all the debris from above the weir, removing boulders that were washed down by the storms. This is being done by hand, due to the sensitive nature of the surrounding environment and the difficulty of creating access for diggers.
Then Miles Posthlethwaite of Border Hydro, who originally installed the hydro-plant, will install the new settling tank and Penstock pipe.
Then hopefully we will be able to generate electricity again, making the most of rainy days (though not as much rain as Storm Desmond please!) and the water power in our grounds.
If you are interested in the history of the grounds and the hydro-electric plant, please see the documents on our website: http://www.
Christmas and New Year are available for sole use group bookings. Would you like to gather together a group of friends and family, or come away with a club?
Christmas (2 , 3, or 4 night period between 22nd and 27th Dec) is only available on a self-catering basis, but full catering is available at New Year (from 27th Dec). Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 017687 77246 if you would like to discuss these two winter periods, or any other group bookings.Christmas and New Year are available for sole use group bookings. Would you like to gather together a group of friends and family, or come away with a club?
Thank you to Allonby School for providing us with so much entertainment! Here is one of the poems they sent us after their residential:
Recipe for our Derwentwater Residential by Miley
1 quartz collector (a lot of quartz)
2 hot days (2 in a row)
7 lake jumpers (freezing lake)
11 lovely dinners (they were so good)
4 tree climbers (2 at the top)
1 smart instructor (I'm talking Katy)
1 sad Mr Owen (nearly crying)
7 wet canoers (soaking wet)
1 weird child (he put jam on his bread before butter)