2018-19

Bagging Challenge Ceromonial Beginning, 21st October 2018

This was a trip into the wilds fraught with peril and strife, through which our brave leader David Hoyle guided us most brilliantly to success.

Upon arriving at Royston we set out into some fields heading East, the Cambridgeshire County Top firmly within our sights as a vague rise in the distance. Many curious things were seen during this stage of the journey: a gang of angry mamils zoomed past, the fields were full of muddy people with noisy sticks (detectorists) searching for treasure, and a mysterious high-vis being was discovered (Paulius Foxius).

Feeling suitably terrified and awestruck we continued until reaching a gate by a reservoir. This was it. The pinnacle of Cambridge (146m). Continuing in the great explorer tradition we took a series of summit photos: one where the guidebook claimed the summit was, and another at the highest point.

The ridge now stretched out before us heading South-East through some more fields. We knew the scale of the net height gain before us now (a metre) and ploughed on regardless. At one point a small dog came to bark through a fence at Chris and David, who both later admitted being scared, but otherwise the party survived unscathed. Around this point a wild Matt Arran emerged from the bush, having just got off the Eurostar from Paris and joined the troop.

Finally, we summited the Essex County Top (147m) and celebrated by failing to build a human pyramid for a photo. With Bronwen perched rather precariously around five feet above the ground, the system because intrinsically perilous and we all got down again. Post-shambles, the decision was made for a tactical retreat to a pub, owing to a cloud appearing on the horizon. Several miles of rambling low-level hillwalking later we came upon a public house, where we took refuge in the beer garden, with a very pleasant lunch leading to slight inebriation.

With night rapidly approaching and being so far from civilisation, we made a difficult call, and all got in taxis back to Royston. Altogether this was a highly successful outing for Cambridge University Hillwalking Club, with two new county tops bagged, no major disasters and a successful demonstration of an ex-president’s leadership skills in challenging circumstances.

Edale day trip, 14th October 2018

Our traditional fresher's day trip to Edale in the Peak District was momentous this year, in that the coach actually made it to Edale for the first time in 3 years. In 2016, the coach driver insisted on crossing a narrow bridge where it became stuck and was unable to turn the corner. In 2017, a wrong turning and attempted reversal in Castleton resulted in the coach being parked perpendicular across the main road, unable to reverse due to gear failure, inching precariously towards a bakery window and causing a major tail-back in both directions. Both incidents led to committee members shepherding 50 freshers over a mile to reach the designated starting point. Armed with the knowledge of these dangerous routes, under Sarah's firm navigation, the coach successfully reached Edale shortly before midday, having left Cambridge at 7am. Meanwhile, the walk leaders who had travelled up by car whiled away the morning (and the worst of the wet weather) sipping tea in a cafe, and were relieved to find the coach miraculously appearing in the soggy Edale carpark, complete with 43 freshers, only an hour or two behind schedule.

By the time the walks finally set off, the worst of the rain had eased, and a great day out in the Peaks was enjoyed by all. Several routes took in the local County Top of Kinder Scout, which was officially bagged by Ben and Sarah's group (Chris and Bronwen's group having over-enthusiastically walked straight past the summit without noticing). The weather, which had been dire to begin with, steadily improved throughout the day, resulting in a beautiful sunset over the hills as everyone congregated at the well-loved pub in Hayfield. Certain committee members were later to regret their double pint during the long coach journey home. Unfortunately the day's vehicle-related dramas were not over - one of the cars had run out of battery and needed to be jump-started before it could be driven back to Cambridge. While loading up the coach to go home, there was some confusion over numbers as the coach seemed to have gained an extra fresher (eventually it was established that we had miscounted the number of seats, and had not recruited an extra hillwalker). Despite these minor hiccups - perhaps the coach's successful navigation was too good to be true - all 43 freshers made it to Edale and back for a cracking 'taster' day of hillwalking, and a lot of fun was had by all the walk leaders too.

Trip list: Bill C, Rob T, Danny V, Bronwen F, Chris H, Seb P, Anabel M, Cameron R, Patrick T, Shaun S, Rachel R, Ella J, Sarah M, Ben H, Keafe O, Katya K, Kirstie G, Alm A, Sara H, Lucie B, Charles S, Elliot B, Erin S, James A, Caitlin A, Anna M, Laura C, Lucy J, Andrew W, Cayson C, Regina S, Philine H, Afif A, James R, Oliver N, Yujeong H, Bryan F, Vladiscav I, Jule W, Irma F, Hannah T, Tadek W, Caleb S, Evena M, Dayna C, Emma S, Camcuum M, Thomas B, Kian KH, Matthew L, Kayvan M, Francesco M, Joseph E, Luke E, Claudia H, Ellie K, Craig CC

Author: 
Bronwen F

Rydal Hall, 26th-28th October 2018

It was a dark, and not particularly stormy night when we five reached the old hall at Rydal.

There was not a soul in sight. Not even a mouse.

Only the wind in the trees that were probably not willows.

We appeared to be the first of the expedition to arrive. The scouting party in the MPV apparently having been... lost along the way.

After a moment's hesitation, we plunged into those shadowy grounds. Safe, we thought, in our enclosed automobile.

Our search was simple. Warm lodgings for the night. A place to lay our heads and sleep without fear. Surely such a goal was not outlandish, even in these parts.

Further we ventured. Our maps offering scarce clues as to the location of our target.

Eventually, we relented, and retreated to the entrance where we hoped other party members would emerge unscathed from the South road to aid us.

We didn’t have to wait long for... something to emerge.

It was Bronwen and company!

She checked us in at the hall and we had another look for the bunkhouse, eventually finding it in the dark on foot. It was surprisingly spacious inside with a fireplace, couches, even a table-tennis table. After a quick game, most of us went off to bed. Four lucky souls bagged the smallest bunkroom all to themselves, away from any potential snoring.

After a cool night, we awoke and planned our routes. Two groups ended up doing the Fairfield Horseshoe, though in opposite directions. Another group set off to do part of the Horseshoe then strike out for Helvellyn. There was even talk of a “swim” in the chilly lake after the walk.

No matter the route, all agreed that is was a stunning day for it. Blue skies with visibility out to the sea. It got a bit nippy in the wind up top, but was worth it for the colourful views. Those for whom this was their first hillwalking weekend (such as I, dear reader) were likely not as appreciative of this as those I heard had been there many times before, always in cloud.

It was late by the time all had safely returned to the bunkhouse. The ambitious group that had reached Helvellyn came in later than expected, and would have been later still if not for Paul Cook ferrying them in groups back in his car from where they were walking along the road. Thankfully they returned to a warm fire, good food, terrible singing, and some disturbing pumpkins carved by Danny Vagnozzi.

Sunday morn brought more good weather. For some the mountains called again. However, another group inspired by Lucy Johnson headed out for a different goal. The fabled Grasmere Gingerbread. This group of eight took a leisurely stroll around Rydal Water and Lake Grasmere, in gorgeous weather once more. Having braved the substantial queue for gingerbread, a pub was found for a merry lunch. The way back was simple but for the novice navigator (I must confess ‘twas I, dear reader) it still provided the opportunity for a couple of missed turns and a backtrack.

Once returned, a moments rest was had. Then cleaning and packing took over the bunkhouse, until the door was shut and all still once more. Farewell Rydal Hall.

Author: 
Elliot B

Caseg Ffraith, 9th-11th October 2018

Unusually the Caseg Ffraith trip this year did not fill so we took a slightly reduced number of 35 people to the Ogwen valley for the second weekend trip of the term. Changeable is the best description of the weather for the weekend, with hail, rain, high winds, low cloud, and bright sunshine all making an appearance. A good variety of walks was had on the Saturday, with many opting for excursions into the Glyders and the Carneddau, whilst one group decided to drive to Snowdon to bag it in the name of CUHWC. Special mention has to go to Andrew Wa for his 40km run with nearly 2500m ascent, taking in the Snowdon and Glyder massifs. On the Saturday evening mulled wine was enjoyed by most and two cats persisted in their attempts to gain entry to the bunkhouse, succeeding several times before being confined to the outdoors.

Trip list: Ben H, Chris H, Chris K, Callan H, Paul C, Simon M, Seb P, Laura V, Andy W, Siqi X, Antonios F, Vlad I, Aristotle L, Laura C, Elliot B, Teodora M, Laurent M, Thomas B, Erin S, Matthew L, Freyja Y, Miriam G, Joseph E, Kayvan M, Aimee C, Aliea R, Andrew Wh, Andrew Wa, Bill C, Paul F, Cameron M, Peter M, Rachita C, Ahmed A, Charles S

Author: 
Ben H

Swaledale, 23rd-25th November 2018

This was the club’s annual Bridgemas trip and the festive spirit was strong with all. Where Santa’s sleigh is pulled through the air by Reindeers - Bill’s car was pulled through a river by passengers. Where Robins dance in the snow - walkers trudged in the rain. Where carollers sing gleefully on doorsteps - Chris snored so loudly people moved rooms. Saturday saw the majority of the group walk from the bunkhouse to the Tan Hill inn, the UK’s highest pub, and an hour later stagger from the Tan Hill inn to the bunkhouse. Upon their return, the group continued to drink, not wanting to go cold turkey. A mammoth effort was put in by all to cook the Christmas dinner, not wanting to go cold turkey. In a move that shocked all, the Christmas dinner was lovely, even if the turkey was fowl. A team of six peeled the hundreds of carrots, making the table look like the aftermath of a snowman genocide. As with all Christmas dinners the evening quickly descended into a drunken affair with the ‘grey-haired’ members of the group saying things the rest wish they hadn’t. Inexplicably Sunday morning was taken at a very leisurely pace with many opting not to walk and those that braved the outdoors doing so with great trepidation.

Author: 
Cameron R

Coniston Vacation Trip, 3rd - 7th January 2019

It was a rain-free trip, which I’ve been told is atypical of the Lake District. Weather was pleasant as most of the group explored the surrounding hills, except for on the peaks where wind made living miserable. The Old Man of Coniston was particularly well tread, but soon the hills grew boring for two brave adventurers who decided to take a dip in one of the lakes. No one died of hypothermia, as far as I am aware of, perhaps owing greatly to a very rustic (and rusty) wood-burning furnace in the living room that kept most of us relatively warm. This bifunctional stove was also used to heat up miscellaneous food items, such as frozen salad, and an entire block of butter. Other than having to endure the trauma of witnessing someone massage a solid block of butter with his own hands, and many unsolvable brainteasers, great merriment was had in this furnace-heated living room after a long day in the hills of Coniston.

Author: 
Aristotle L

Shropshire Day Trip, 3rd Feb 2019

Early Sunday morning, a group of hill walkers met outside Churchill College for this term’s day trip. Our destination: the Shropshire Hills, an (officially designated) Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which promised a welcome break from the flat and all too familiar Fenlands.

In the late morning, we arrived at the Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd to find snow-clad slopes under bright sunshine. We divided into four or five different groups only for each group to decide on more or less the same route. ¬¬ I joined a group composed of old-timers Chris K, Miriam G, Bill C and newcomers Frederique F, Rebecca D and Aasha J. The first section of our route saw us follow a path upwards through a narrow valley, with a stream running beside us. Icicles overhanging the stream provided a fascinating temporary display.

At around 1pm, it was time to stop for lunch. Miriam suggested a pleasant spot with far-reaching views. We sat on posts lining the path, like birds perched in a row. “All we need are electricity cables running between the posts”, joked Chris.

After several sandwiches, cereal bars, gulps of water and group photos, we were off again. The walk was pleasant, the slopes gentle. To ensure that no one found the walk too easy, I launched snowballs at my fellow travellers. Navigators Chris and Miriam were quick to return fire.

Later in the afternoon, we spotted a group of walkers climbing one of the highest peaks in the area. “That’s the Bronwen’s group”, exclaimed Miriam. What a fine and appropriately respectful way to refer to our co-president, The Bronwen. Hopefully it catches on!

Our group arrived back at the car park at the appointed time of 4.30pm, to the credit of our navigators. We then waited for the other groups to return, during which time I had a quick scramble up one of the nearby hills to keep warm. It was only as I neared the top that I remembered my spare jumper…

From the hills, a convoy of hill walkers descended to a local pub. We had a hearty meal, enjoyed all the more for coming at the end of a good day’s walking.

Afterwards, we divided into our various cars and set off for Cambridge. As front seat passenger, I quickly found myself assuming the weighty responsibilities of DJ and Sat Nav holder (there wasn’t a suitable place we could fix the Sat Nav). Tonje F drove and fellow passengers Clara C, Adeline B-R, and Lucia W peaceably endured whatever music I subjected them to as de facto DJ.

We arrived back at Churchill a little before 11pm, at the same time as several other cars. The Bronwen assured me that I would be reunited with my trainers, which Joe K had escaped with in his car. Before we knew it, it was time for friends, old and new, to part: the end of another successful trip with the hill walking club.

Author: 
Oliver N

30th Anniversary Trip, 15th – 17th February 2019

Mid-February saw over 100 hillwalkers spanning multiple generations gather in the Langdale Youth Hostel to celebrate the club’s 30th anniversary. The hostel was festooned with daffodils and balloons, and well-stocked with beer and sherry for everyone as they arrived over the course of Friday evening.

A flotilla of MPVs travelled up from Cambridge with the current club members, with one vehicle stopping off near Lancaster for a delicious dinner kindly provided by Patrick T’s parents. After an alarming drive along hairpin Lakeland single-track roads, masterfully executed by Elliot B, we arrived at the YHA to find the party in full swing. Upon arrival, attendees received CUHWC-branded pint glasses, copies of the 30th anniversary journal and a special edition of the songbook. Festivities went on long into the night, which saw old friends reunited, acquaintances made, biscuits munched, songs sung and stories told.

Everyone awoke on Saturday to a beautiful bright, mild morning – hard to believe it was only February. After a hearty buffet-style continental breakfast, groups set off into Langdale and the surrounding hills. While duffers (and associated dufflings) were trusted to take care of themselves, current members had to fill out route cards as usual. Many groups ascended Harrison Stickle, with some intrepid toddlers making it all the way up the steep rocky path from Dungeon Ghyll (hillwalking genes). One group enjoyed a fantastic scramble up Jack’s Rake, while another took a dip in the icy waters of Stickle Tarn.

Everyone reconvened at the hostel in time to shower and get ready for the main event: Saturday night’s party. A flurry of activity ensued as muddy waterproofs were shed and suits and dresses were donned. A presidential photo was taken at 6:30pm featuring presidents from the club’s beginnings to its current committee, and an honorary place given to Dave and Jo Farrow’s new baby – a duffling of two consecutive presidents.

At 7pm, everyone sat down to a magnificent three-course dinner. Different generations mingled, with everyone sharing their anecdotes, memories and traditions. As a current member, I found it amazing how little the club has changed over the decades. It still attracts the same sort of people: slightly wacky and with a shared love of the hills, mad adventures, and a quirky sense of humour, all of which combine to create enduring friendships. I was also impressed by the number of married couples and dufflings the club contains; CUHWC has been an impressive couple-generator.

After dinner came speeches from the 30th anniversary co-presidents, David H and Tom L, while the club’s current co-presidents, Sarah M and Bronwen F, and founding members Pete N and James B raised toasts to CUHWC and the hills. A wild party ensued featuring excellent ceilidh dancing, a 100-strong rendition of the Cow Song (remarkably in tune thanks to music provided by a small band), the Lumberjack song featuring a dress-clad lumberjack in the shape of Joe Hobbs, and a drunken Strip-the-Willow in the carpark. I’m sure I’m not alone in remembering the evening as a riotous blur of dancing, drinking, laughing, singing, chatting, and partying the way only hillwalkers can.

Sunday morning was a subdued affair. Impressively, most of the duffers were out on walks by 9am, while current members remained in bed until midday - young people! At least most made it out for a gentle wander, clearing our heads in glorious winter sunshine and the soft breeze.

Back at the hostel for 3pm, everyone threw themselves into the mammoth task of packing up and cleaning the hostel. As the place emptied, the 30th anniversary committee and current committee finished tidying up and were rewarded with much leftover food and alcohol, and countless daffodils. We said our goodbyes in the sunlit carpark and everyone went home their separate ways, with memories of a fantastic weekend celebrating with the unique, weird and wonderful community of people that is CUHWC. Long may it continue.

Author: 
Bronwen F

Bryn Hafod, Southern Snowdonia, 1st-3rd March 2019

A trudge in the dark for half a mile led the hillwalkers from the car park to what could only be described as the most luxurious bunkhouse the club had ever laid eyes on. There were sofas, a coal-burning fire, cooking utensils, tea pots, GIANT JENGA, hot showers and even an axe to chop fire wood!

On Saturday, two keen beans headed off into the hills before the rest of us had even emerged from our sleeping bags. With heavy rain and strong winds forecast, we braced ourselves for a miserable day. Instead, there was some sunshine, the rain held off for much of the day, and temperatures were above 5°C.

The club’s new president, Mary M, led her group with great energy, overtaking another group to county top bagging glory. However, it was not all plain sailing for Mary and her band of merry hillwalkers. Their journey was almost ruined when the wind suddenly whipped their map out of Mary’s hands and almost over a ridge. Thankfully Seb P dived after it and managed to retrieve it in time. They didn’t get much further before Oliver N realised that he had lost his phone. The group retraced their steps for a little over a kilometre, scanning the ground as they did so, before Peter M miraculously found it, phew!

Mary and her merry band of hillwalkers made it to the pub just as heavy rain set in. Once they had finished their drinks, they headed back to the bunkhouse under classic, torrentially, wet Wales weather. Fortunately, Elliot B, who had been in another group which had returned to the bunkhouse earlier, had (finally) mastered the coal fire, and the bunkhouse was toasty and warm for their return.

The evening was filled with giant Jenga, cards against humanity, several songs from the song book and a game of the ‘cereal box challenge’, where an ever-shrinking cardboard box must be lifted from the floor using mouths only and no hands! Some very impressive technique and flexibility was demonstrated. Congratulations to Tom S for winning against stiff competition from Susannah P.

Sunday was miserable, wet and the wind was howling at up to 70mph. A group headed off to bag yet another county top en route for Cambridge. Another group ventured to the small touristy seaside town of Tywyn in south-western Snowdonia. There they dropped Elliot off at Talyllyn Railway. This railway is represented in the Thomas the Tank Engine series of books by Rev W. Awdry as Skarloey Railway, and most of Awdry's fictional locomotives are based on real-life equivalents. The blue steam engine there greatly resembled the trains from the popular children’s series.

The trip was a great success for the new committee!

Trip list: Mary M, Seb P, Paul C, Jodie W, Elliot B, Eva F, Oliver N, Susannah P, Cameron J, Derek P, Qi Y, Tom S, Yaron B, Chris K, Peter M, James S, Rachita C, Paul F

Author: 
Jodie W

Glencoe, 17th-22nd March 2019

On this trip, the avalanche forecast, thaw and horizontal rain on most days meant that the Munro summits were only for the masochistic baggers.

The first day gave reasonable snow for Iain's winter skills course: his group managed to find solid snow, and benefited from unmatchable wisdom from '20 odd years ago'. A group of four went up the Bidean range which had many interesting challenges including avalanche debris, whiteout, and a proper mini-avalanche. It was on this walk that Paul and Danny started their 'creative quarrel' which arose from an innocent discussion about crampon compatibility.

On the 2nd day, temperatures soared and rain set in. The winter skills group were not looking forward to getting wet and digging snow holes, but they had a good time and ended up learning pure mountaincraft from Iain (Cameron and Sarah Mi in particular). The main threat on the day was Peter being in inconvenient locations relative to Rob... At the other end of the valley, Chris, Paul, Mary and Bronwen tried Munro bagging, had a very windy lunch in a storm shelter, and went straight to the comfort of the Kingshouse. They then unsuccessfully tried to hitch-hike back to the hut…

On the 3rd day, the wind picked up and it started raining horizontally. Most people walked to Kinlochleven via the West Highlands Way. Some went to Fort William’s Wetherspoons, where Chris somehow managed to get a ‘life-threatening’ wound to his hand, which Dr P J Fox medicated with skill.

Danny caught up with his friend Mike in the hut. Though Danny was hoping Mike would have left earlier so that he could go on a walk, it was good of Mike to stay, as the toaster caught fire. It also meant Danny could table boulder for hours and was ready for the competition in the hostel that night, for which he had memorized all moves, sideways and lengthwise. Tom also managed to complete the sideways challenge - impressively, without using the legs! In the interim, Toby tested his inner 'Jimmy Chin' by taking lots of photos. The rest of the night nearly put off two new-comers from returning. Toby found the singing sour, and Heather got a very despicable entity to identify in the 'What am I' game! That evening also had interesting theological discussions regarding a book called 'The Shack'...

The last day saw the climax of the creative quarrel. During the soggy walk round Loch Etive, Rob and Sarah Ma were entertained with Paul's invitations to caving and scientific observations on people's swimming suitability. The dinner saw Chris eating a raw onion (with the peel!) in response to Paul challenging Danny to eat a raw garlic clove.

Leaving without much winter to play with was heart-breaking. Hoping for better weather, Mary, Bronwen, Chris, Cameron and their keg continued their adventure towards Glen Shiel, and Toby towards Fort William and eventually Skye. The rest returned to the flat Fens, nonetheless with happy memories of hills and mafia card games...

Trip List: Sarah Ma, Danny V, Bronwen F, Paul F, Chris H, Mary M, Heather C, Sarah Mi, Toby R, Rebecka N, Peter M, Cameron R, Tom S, Robert T

Author: 
Danny V

Kintail, 23rd-25th March 2019

Dear Editor,

The events of the Kintail expedition are widely know; however, as is the case with anything of interest to the masses, a degree of sensationalism surrounds the entire affair. It is in accordance with the final will and testament of the late Mr. C. Hewetson that this is published, an adaptation of the diary he maintained during this time. It is the hope of Mr. Hewetson’s estate that this account will put to bed some of the myths surrounding this period of his life. History has a way of distilling the exploits of man into a handful of legends (c.f. Scott, Hillary, Shackleton). I don’t believe Mr. Hewetson or any of his company realised they would soon be counted among such legends.

Friday 22 March 2019.
The day had started much like any other: my breakfast: medicinal, my company: the Telegraph. With the shakes subsiding I was able to lend aid to those who bustled about tending to the now almost clean bunkhouse. The party split, Misses Murray and Fraser sought transport in Glasgow, while Mr. Ramsay and I dined at my club. Mr. Ramsay was a man of few words, and those few were seldom worth hearing. Lunch was similar to breakfast, equally spirited, this was perhaps a result of the company, perhaps something more chronic. Either way, this made the rest of the afternoon pass in a most glorious haze and before I knew it we were on the road.

I was dragged back to reality by a thud and a shout. Before I knew what was happening, I was standing in the driving rain, a pool of oil steadily growing beneath the car. I have to thank the Dutch for the courage it took to make the 5 mile march back to civilisation. That evening was not the first nor the last time I squatted in an abandoned building. Upon arrival the company stripped, this was done under the pretence of drying wet clothes, but all know it was a power play. The building was cold, I was not elected leader. While insurers were telephoned, the kitchen was pilfered. The evening ended with a tow truck promised for the next morning.

Saturday 23 March 2019.
Our supplies have been rationed. For the first time in a long while I have not managed to make amends with the dog that bit me.

Once more the group split, Miss Fraser and I make our way back to the car in order to ferry our supplies to our lodgings. The others stayed with the telephone. It was the knowledge of what waited for me in my bag that gave me the strength to make the journey.

The hour of the tow arrived and passed, four hours later a tow truck arrived. That was the last time I saw the car. It’s death is to be envied, there is nothing more noble than to give one’s life in the line of duty [note: Mr. Hewetson would die begging for his killer to take the lives of his wife and children instead of him].

After two days we finally arrived at the bunkhouse.

Sunday 24 March 2019.
My ailment from the previous day continues. I was finally able to leave bed at 1pm. We had a short valley walk before spending an evening before the fire in the drawing room.

Monday 25 March 2019.
Slept restlessly even with a night cap. The party finally sets forth to do what must be done. The institute demands our completion of the five sisters ridge line, in accordance with this it was completed. Weather good, lunch a little solid for my tastes.

It goes without saying that this was a peak in the life of the late Mr. Hewetson. Now, at this time of mourning, it is not our place to judge the dead; however, I wish to make it abundantly clear that I do not agree with the positions the deceased would take in his later life.

Dictated not read,

Mr. J. B. Appleton-Crawford, Esq.
Acting for the estate of Mr. C. Hewetson

Mystery Trip, 3rd-5th May 2019

Seven current and former committee members knew this trip's location, one of whom began a rumour that it was Dartmoor. In fact, it was the Lake District.

Susannah:

Well, don’t know about you, but I had a lovely time. I’ve never experienced such perfect walking weather on a CUHWC trip before. Rainless, fogless, at times cloudless. I even managed to eat an ice cream without losing sensation in my fingers. The bunkhouse was charmingly rustic, with actual real-life gas lighting, down a terrifying stone-and-puddle-laid dirt track which no one was a hundred percent sure was actually supposed to be a road until we arrived. And despite the lax approach to health and safety regulations in the bunkhouse itself (treacherously steep stairs, barely fixed ladder, the chance of water poisoning), I think we all made it through without incident.

Most of us took advantage of the long daylight hours to have a lazy start on Saturday. My group set out past some lovely waterfalls, hills and tarns, aiming for a pub that turned out not to exist. A flyer for a village fete led us down a shaded river path to the neighbouring village, which proved to be a good decision. Everyone who was anyone was there. We ate from the barbeque, watched the sack races, and tried to figure out why there was a Star Wars theme. May the fourth. Of course. It was better than the pub, for reasons I’m not sure I can explain.

That evening, we spent an hour conducting a supervision on the meaning of the lyrics of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ (see trip book for detailed notes). At first, it was concluded that ‘Matilda’ referred either to a tree, an animal or death. None of these explanations was entirely satisfactory. Then a Brexit analogy came along and blew all other readings out of the water. It was a huge disappointment to all when we googled it back in Cambridge and found it just meant rambling with luggage.

Sunday was equally pleasant. Cat Bells was crowded, but the views were exceptional. I personally was very happy to see llamas on the path, though not everyone was as keen. Oliver refined his rock rating system. We had lunch by Derwent Water, observed a heron, a lot of wet dogs, and hundreds of cute black lambs. Later, a few brave souls went swimming. I continue to be very happy to admire such dedication from the warmth of the bunkhouse.

All in all, an excellent Mystery Trip, even though it turned out not to be to my beloved Dartmoor. Next time?

Oliver:

The first instruction Transport Secretary Andrew W texted us was to head north. Seven texts and 200 miles later, and Jodie W asked, ‘Is it the Lake District?’. It was indeed. The mountainous track leading to the Carlisle Mountaineering Club Hut made for an exciting - perhaps even alarming - arrival in darkness.

Next morning the company awoke to the sound of Seb P swearing loudly. He had just looked out of the window to see a river nearby and snow-capped Mountains beyond: “fantastic!” (as he might have said).

After breakfast we divided into groups and set off on our respective walks. My group left a well-trodden path and climbed upwards, past solitary trees and waterfalls.

Sometime later, we descended into a green and pleasant valley to find a village fete in full swing. Princess Leia and some helpers manned a barbeque. Children participated in races, took part in archery competitions and played on a bouncy castle. We found a sunny and sheltered spot beside a stone wall where we sat down to have lunch. The Star Wars theme (May the 4th be with you) had been observed by a small number of those present, among them a group of boys battling with lightsabers.

Resuming our walk, we found it easy-going until we had to climb a mountain. Our efforts were rewarded with beautiful, far-reaching views. Bill found and adopted a pair of sunglasses. I ran ahead to discover good rocks from which to survey the area and await the others. Back at the hut, we found another group which had arrived back earlier having tea outside.

After supper we gathered around the stove and sang club songs. Jodie asked if the Matilda in 'Waltzing Matilda' was being made to waltz against her will. There followed a forty minute seminar discussing various possible interpretations of the song, which included interpreting it as a reflection on Brexit. The only thing we managed to agree was that ‘Waltzing Matilda’ didn’t mean waltzing with Matilda. Jodie expressed relief.

Sunday morning was a relaxed affair for most, with my group setting off on our walk around half ten. After a good climb we enjoyed views over Derwent Water before descending to the lake, where we found a pleasant spot to have lunch. A heron stood serenely in the water, and every so often a pair of geese flew overhead, squawking as they did so.

We returned to the bunkhouse shortly after 3pm, packed our bags, loaded the cars and cleaned the bunkhouse. We left for Cambridge with mixed feelings; saddened to leave so beautiful a place, but eager to regain the comforts of civilisation.

Trip list: Jodie W, Sarah M, Elliot B, Ben H, Peter M, Michael B, Susannah P, Lucy J, Andrew Wh, Seb P, Bill C, Paul F, Kieran R, Oliver N, Andrew Wa

Author: 
Susannah P, Oliver N

Thetford Forest Day Trip, 19th May 2019

Our company of walkers – surprisingly bright-eyed for Sunday morning students – gathered at Cambridge railway station to catch the train to Thetford. Having mustered the energy to venture from our beds into the grey, misty morning, we were hopeful that the forecast of brighter conditions would come true. With the flatness of our destination in mind, conversation turned to naming our day’s activity: wandering, strolling, sauntering? The proposal of “r*mbling” was quickly suppressed with hushed whispers.

Tickets purchased, we boarded the pride of British Rail’s fleet for a half-hour journey that flew by as we occupied ourselves with card games and enjoyed the names of landmarks on Mary’s printed maps of our destination. “High Wrong Corner” was a particular favourite, if one to be avoided. The mist was already lifting to reveal a bright if overcast morning, and, as we sped between the trees, thoughts of Cambridge’s brick and concrete became ever more distant.

Alighting at Thetford station we made for the Little River Ouse, which would be our arterial route-marker for the day’s walk through the forest. Following the river bank east towards Brandon, we quickly left the town behind and found ourselves ambling through pleasant meadows and stretches of birch and pine woodland. Within half an hour, the dog-walkers and ducks made way for deer and the unmistakable blue flash of a kingfisher.

Conversation soon turned to what would become a theme of the day: the ranking and rating of various seats based on factors such as comfort, quality of view and bragging rights, to fit the form of top trumps categories. With the whole group involved at some stage throughout the day, it was clear that us walkers appreciate a quality perch. Sites such as benches and logs were thoroughly sampled, with Oliver leading the way on the less accessible options, including a thankfully (if slightly disappointingly) uneventful ascent of a rotting tree trunk.

We reached Brandon with rumbling stomachs, and in our haste to find an acceptably scenic lunch spot, stumbled down an underwhelming dead-end track adjacent to a budget German supermarket. This was to be the dramatic culmination of our outbound route. We quickly retraced our steps and had lunch in a peaceful forest clearing. Our log benches scored a solid 5/10 across the board if I remember correctly.

Our return route took us back along the opposite bank of the Little River Ouse, now enjoying the full sunshine and warmth of the afternoon. Our party evolved into a reluctant-dictatorship system of government, led by the bearer of an unwieldy branch, itself evolving to more ridiculous proportions as the afternoon went on. After several iterations, Oliver settled on a staff worthy of taking back on the train to Cambridge – to more than a few strange looks. We returned to Cambridge in the early evening and, while lacking in hills, Thetford had provided a lovely day of fresh air, bird song, dappled sunlight and forest-fuelled frivolity.

Trip List: Andrew W, Eva C, Franz M, Mary M, Oliver N, Susannah P, Vladislav I, Zijing L

Author: 
Andrew Whyte

Kentmere Trip, 7th-9th June 2019

Though the trip started as any other, the location of the bunkhouse was almost as mysterious as in a mystery trip. It turns out there was a rough 4km track leading to the hut. Only Paul’s car was deemed to have sufficient ground clearance, and so he transported our kit to the bunkhouse while the rest of us trampled along the track in the pouring rain.

On the Saturday morning, morale was lower than the clouds, especially for those of us who had been on the fantastically sunny post-exams trip last year. Most people just went for a small walk and a pub lunch, Danny went for a 34km run to kick away his frustrations and some more tenacious walkers including President Mary and new member Yuki went up High Street to find out that the weather wasn't as bad as MWIS had anticipated.

People arrived back at the bunkhouse early, so there was plenty of time for games and singing. After finding out that hillwalkers and snooker do not mix, we took part in a quiz about cheese, which exposed our ignorance on the subject. A sock wrestling tournament ensued. This game is likely to be banned on further trips, as Oliver vs. Danny was clearly mismatched in terms of bodyweight, and an anxious Paul requested an immediate halt to the contest.

The fun continued into the early hours of Sunday morning as we played a 'voting game' which provided some measure of how well we knew each other - to much amusement. Chris and Bill carried on with giant Jenga and managed to get a really high tower in spite of their tiredness. Unfortunately its collapse woke Sarah downstairs.

People still managed to get up early and go for walks - the glorious sunshine being the main incentive. Sarah Ma and Ben managed the whole horseshoe. A total of 14 wild-swimmer was counted, much to Sarah Ma's delight. All in all, another successful CUHWC trip.

Trip List: Jodie W, Mary M, Peter M, Lucy J, Paul C, Seb P, Danny V, Ben H, Oliver N, Eva C, Milena V, Sarah Mi, Tom S, Bill C, Bronwen F, Chris H, Patrick T, Cameron R, Sarah Ma, Pan Y

Author: 
Danny Vagnozzi