A small group of us, consisting of three adults and two children, went to the lakes in mid October 2002 for 10 days. The trip was for climbing and walking. We hired an estate car for the week as this was the cheapest means of transport. It was also essential for getting around the Lakes in. Our accommodation was in a lovely bed and breakfast in Ambleside. It was fairly cheap and really comfortable as well as very child friendly. It was nice to stay somewhere we could really feel at ease in and to be in a town, which made getting supplies very easy.
The Lake District in autumn is fantastic as the trees are so many and such wonderful colours, especially when reflected in the Lakes. One of our first activities was for one of the children to lead us on a walk just outside Ambleside. He was using the book ‘Rocky Rambles’ which gives a child friendly map and explanation of a walk. I think that this book is a good introduction to map reading for children as it gives easy to understand instructions and illustrations as well as presenting map following in an exciting way. The activities that stand out for me are firstly the rock climbing as it was my first time doing multi-pitch rock climbing. We had three or four days doing this on two different crags. The rock was very lovely andesite, and pyroclastic rocks such as tuffs, agglomerate and ignimbrite as there was a lot of choice for hand and foot holds because it is very jagged.
The climbs that we did were within my technical ability with a few challenging moves. The biggest challenge of it was being confident on rock and with heights. Although a bit scary at times it was loads of fun and I feel like I learnt a lot on this first trip including basic rope handling skills and some climbing techniques. It was good to do these activities with children as I could help others which reaffirmed what I was learning as well as learn myself. I received lots of encouragement from the more experienced in the group and expert knowledge.
On really rainy days of which there were a couple we went to the climbing wall in Keswick. This meant we could all do some work on our climbing techniques and the shoppers among us could tour the climbing tat shops. The wet but not really rainy days were spent walking and we had a couple days going up and then down Scafell Pike.
The trip up Scafell Pike is the other activity that really stands out for me as it was the first navigating I did in poor conditions and the first time I bivvied out on top of a mountain. It was good to be out in poor conditions and stay relatively dry. A lot of the equipment I was using was borrowed from Craggers and meant that I could do all these activities in comfort. Being on top of Scafell was great as it was very
foggy, there were bits of snow which we all enjoyed discovering and throwing at each other and it felt remote, which is something I enjoy about exploring.
As it got dark on Scafell it also began to rain and we went a bit off course due to the poor visibility and being in a boulder field so we agreed a bivvy spot on the map which we found by following compass bearings (which I took !). We very quickly set up camp and I think I even managed some sleep during the wet and windy night. It was still quite grim in the morning which made getting out of sleeping bags a little harder and some took a lot of encouragement but we all soon cheered up when we got moving and warmed up.
The weather also cheered up on the way down and the scenery was beautiful as the bracken everywhere was bright orange and the trees were all sorts of colours. Also when we got back down to the bottom we found a nice pub to get well deserved drinks in.
On the last weekend two other Craggers members came for an intensive climbing weekend. The rest of us went walking in the forest on the Saturday and then we all went climbing together on the Sunday. I was really sad to come back from this trip and really look forward to the next trip up to the Lakes.