As you may know, our hard-working and much-loved managers, Kathy and Dave, are retiring from the hostel at the end of July. We hope you enjoy reading their words below.
So long, farewell and thanks for 27 wonderful years ….
We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have worked at the hostel since 1988. The years have simply flown by, although when we remember our early days here we realise that hostel work has changed a lot – no emails, internet or mobile phones in those days.
Barrow House became a youth hostel in 1961 and it’s interesting to note that there have only been three sets of wardens/managers in that time. Other hostels have seen a much bigger turnover but, as many of you know, Barrow House is a very special place: why would we want to move on?
However, with big birthdays looming this summer, it’s high time we handed over to the next generation of hostel managers. The photo shows we really have been here a long time – it was taken a mere 22 years ago!
It’s been a privilege working here for so long and we should like to say a huge thank you to John and Sarah Snyder and the trustees, who secured the future of the hostel when it was sold by YHA in 2011.
We also want to say a big thank you to the fantastic staff and volunteers who have worked here and contributed so much to the success of the hostel, as well as all our local tradesmen. Lastly, a big thank you to our loyal groups and great guests who have made our job such a pleasure.
We handover to Tim Butcher & Aukje Noorman on 1 August 2016 and wish them and their family a very happy time here at the hostel.
Thanks to our hardworking contractors, who've been looking after us since the December storms, you can now walk along the side of the hostel again, admire the babbling beck, and relax in the dining room without fear of collapsing into the channel below.
This photo shows the three main workers by the new stone wall, taking pride in completing their huge task.
The first phase of emergency repairs took place in December and January, with huge boulders to shore up the banks of the beck. The second phase was completed at the end of June, after 9 weeks of stabilising the channel bed and sides, and restoring the beckside path and fencing.
Louie (aka Colin) is the champion digger driver who placed all the rock armour with such precision in the beck. He reckons it is a 5 metre drop from the top of the bank to the bottom of the beck! He used 1000 tons of rock, with 100 cubic metres of concrete being pumped into the walls.
Jonathan is the waller who rebuilt the wall beautifully on the opposite side of the bank.
They enjoyed working here and have done a splendid job making a base to the beck and rebuilding the walls to make the hostel safe from any future storm/flood damage. It was great to see how much pride they took in the work, and we wish them the best in their next task.
For as long as Kathy and Dave have been here, pupils from Threlkeld Primary School have been visiting Barrow House, with a tradition of walking to the hostel from school. Now some of those pupils are re-visiting as teachers and parents!
Here is Isla Turnbull (Year 5) with her report of the residential:
As we lined up in front of the school, ready to go, I felt scared and excited. Moments later, we set off towards the unknown. We walked along the road, up past Burns Farm, then up the hill to Castlerigg Stone Circle for a snack. With every step it became hotter so we stopped off at Abby’s Farm for ice cream, where we also ate our packed lunch. After that, we started for Walla Crag but we had to change the course of our hair-raising experience due to static electricity. Having decided a storm was on its way, we quickly hurried down to Ashness Bridge. We stopped for a drink before walking down the road to Derwentwater Independent Hostel.
When we eventually arrived, everyone was hot and sweaty and ready for a shower. When everyone had washed, unpacked and put their sheets on the beds, we headed downstairs for a delicious dinner of bolognaise and then ice cream. After dinner we washed up and walked down the long corridors and into the lounge, where we were read a story whilst slurping hot chocolate and eating marshmallows. After that we climbed up the steep stairs to our soft, warm beds, and I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.
When we woke up, nearly everyone else was awake so we dressed quickly and headed downstairs for breakfast. When we were ready we split into two groups; the younger group did rock climbing first, while we caught the launch to Brandlehow and looked for galena. As well as finding galena and other minerals, we found some lizards and frogs.
During the walk to Shepherd’s Crag for rock climbing, it started raining, then we heard some thunder and it started raining harder. As we swiftly ran to Shepherd’s Crag for lunch and to meet the group (also to get out of the rain), we saw some lightening.
When the rain had stopped and we had eaten all our lunch we hurriedly walked up to the crag. Despite all the rain, the crag was almost dry. We pulled on our harnesses and tied into the rope, ready to climb. Even though the rock didn’t look wet, when you were on the crag some bits felt damp. When we were packing up, it started raining heavily again but it was harder going down because the water was gushing down the path, making it feel like ghyll scrambling.
On the third day we got a bus to Honister Slate Mine. The tour was led by Donald who is an ex-pupil of Threlkeld School. In the mine, we saw lots of slate and an old railway which was used to transport slate out of the mine if it was the right type. We also saw a railway track that went up and up into the hill above.
After the mine, we walked quickly down to the pier to catch the launch back to Derwentwater Hostel. We nearly missed the launch but luckily Mrs Horder made it wait.
On the last day, we walked back to school over Latrigg. Despite all the rain, I had a brilliant residential and a nice stay at Derwentwater Hostel.
On a sunny weekend in May, about 40 keen swimmers came to stay at the hostel. They made ingenious use of the metal fencing around the storm-repair works, hanging up their wetsuits, costumes, and towels. It made a good sight!
The organising force behind the weekend was Kate Upshall Davis, who is training for an English Channel Relay Swim. Together with 5 of her friends, Kate will swim in one hour shifts across the channel at the end of July, celebrating her 40th birthday along the way. In the spirit of channel swims, none of the swimmers will wear wetsuits.
So during the weekend at Derwentwater, Kate and her friends swam in several different lakes, at almost every time of day. The photo above shows the wonderful weather they enjoyed.
Good luck to Kate and the rest of her channel relay team, and happy 40th birthday! Here is a link to her channel relay fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.