28 October 2010

Adventure Weekend! (15-17/10/10)

(These photos aren't in the correct order, but it's far too much hassle to order them so I'll just caption them.)
We left London around 10 Friday morning, and two rest stops, three times being sick, and seven hours later we arrived in the Lake District--a national park in northwest England (about 30 miles from the Scottish border). We were staying at an outdoor center called Glaramara, which has accommodation, food, and staff who lead all sorts of crazy outdoor activities. Since there were so many students on the trip some had to stay at the hostel down the road. I shared a room with Tanya in Glaramara (the, unarguably, nicer of the two options). We hung out until dinner, which was a fantastic three-course meal: tomato and basil soup, stuffed peppers with feta cheese, and fruit salad. After dinner we had Oran's (IFSA staff member = the MAN) famous pub quiz. Our team came in fourth place--not too shabby. 
We had breakfast the next morning, and then went off to do our morning activity. I did via ferrata--a form of climbing invented in WWII to move troops quickly through the mountains. It's not that challenging physically--it's mainly a mental challenge. You wear a harness and are always connected to a cable that's bolted into the rock face. Where there is ground/rocks you climb over them. Where there's nothing to stand on (like a sheer cliff face) there are iron rungs drilled into the rock so you have something to stand on/hold on to. It was scary at first, but then I got the hang of it. We got all the way to the top of the mountain and, thankfully, walked back down to the base of the mountain.
We went back to Glaramara for lunch and then headed out for our afternoon activity. I went canoeing with Tanya. It was really fun and incredibly beautiful. We played tag in the canoes, had a race, and generally just paddled around for a while. Then, back to Glaramara to relax before dinner. I went for a walk and photographed the amazing scenery. Dinner was fabulous again: melon with apple sorbet, vegetable pastry, and homemade strawberry ice cream. After dinner was a dance party in the living, complete with a bar and a DJ. The party shut down around midnight, and we went to bed.
Sunday morning we had another activity. Our options were a trip into the local town of Keswick, a team challenge, or a hike. The majority of students went into Keswick to nurse their hangovers and recover from the night before. I went on an invigorating hike. It wasn't too difficult; we went up to the top of a hill called High Doat. The view was extraordinary. 
We returned from the hike, met up with the other students in Keswick, and headed back to the city. 
our pub quiz team: Dumbledoran's Army

Oran in his "the quizmaster is always right" shirt.

me ready to embark on some via ferrata

There were sheep everywhere.

EVERYWHERE. (I even got to see a dog herding sheep--very cool.) 

The view from via ferrata.

a cave we went through--the mountain was full of old slate mines.

the climb

This is Wes, one of the Glaramara people leading the via ferrata.

the mountain we were climbing

me at the top

me on the way back down the mountain

Glaramara Center

the mountain

the valley

Dan, another Glaramara worker, driving us from the via ferrata site back to Glaramara, he had "Drive My Car" blasting in the van and everyone was singing along, much to my approval

This is what we climbed.


Yup. This wasn't the bad part.

me climbing

me climbing

me climbing

more climbing

me, mid-way

me, working my way across the rocks

Carrie and me

This is was the difficult part. We had to go around a corner of the rock, continue sideways across the side of the cliff, and then go up another ladder-like part.

Except the rock leans back a bit, making the ladder a bit more difficult.

Me. You can't see it, but I'm standing on another iron rung exactly like the one I'm holding onto. And that's it.  There was at least a 30 foot drop.


And back to via ferrata...climbing up--getting near the end.

In my waterproofs, ready to canoe.

Tanya and me, sporting our super stylish waterproofs.

Me climbing up some more rocks after successfully getting up the ladder part. To my right is the iron bridge we got to cross (with a cable next to it that we were hooked onto, but still). 

We climbed up that.

Yup. Pretty badass.

I did it!

The easy bit at the end.

And the view.



"You are here." I was there.


Our canoe, tied to the buoy so we wouldn't float away.

the lake

Tanya in the back of our canoe

me in the front of our canoe (with a life jacket, of course)

Via ferrata!!

the lake and mountains

two guys in one canoe and our leader, Emma, in the other

our canoe and an island

the island



lake with sheep


me, Margaret, Tanya

Oran (aka the MAN) and me



Glaramara in its setting

the road



my walk

tree & pretty sky

Sheep family!

Sunday morning hike

sun shining into the valley

Wes (one of the hike leaders) brought his dog, Ash, who liked to find sticks and chew them to bits.

me at the top of High Doat

Margaret and me

the view from the top was spectacular

the hike involved climbing over fences, but there were pieces of wood perpendicular to the fence so you can climb over without too much difficulty

moss covered rocks

a fallen tree

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