The weather forecast was unusually hopeful as we packed our bags, loaded the boats
and headed north for the club weekend at Ullswater. It very quickly became clear
that the promise of fine weather had attracted virtually the whole of the north of
England to our campsite and finding a pitch proved to be a bit tricky.
We finally found a fairly large spot and set up camp wondering why no-one else had
got there first – before long we found there were three good reasons:
1) We were very close to the bins,
2) We were close to a group of lads from the North East who started each day with
very early, very loud music.
3) Our nearest neighbours were Ben, Lois and Matt!
Saturday began at a leisurely pace with bacon sandwiches and tea (or if you were
Lois, with muesli containing some very strange looking green bits) before setting
off for a river trip to Pooley Bridge. John Stopford had forsaken his yacht for a
kayak and led us off with the wind behind us to the little village for a drink and
some lunch. Even Georgina and Gemma’s decision to travel by rubber dinghy seemed
to work as the wind and water pushed us gently towards our destination.
The way back was infinitely harder work, Gemma and Georgina abandoned the dinghy
and decided to swim back – tying it to the Chair’s kayak showed a distinct lack of
respect and meant I paddled back even more slowly than usual, especially when Jessica
decided to latch on to the back for a tow. All in all though it was a good trip,
beautiful scenery and even some sunshine.
On the Sunday, people split up to do their own thing – John S took parties out on
his yacht, John Elvidge embarked on a mammoth sea-kayak trip the length of the lake
(returning later, triumphant but finding few takers to examine the blisters that
had formed in his armpits!!) and Ben and Lois set off for a days paddle around the
That left the rest of us to either paddle or drive to Howtown for a lunchtime drink
– six kayaks and a Canadian set off and using the yacht as a combination of mobile
drinks station and towing device we reached our destination in less than 2 hours.
Whilst there we were treated to the strange spectacle of Rob A wearing an umbrella
hat – (very cool Rob, could become essential club gear!!) and Sarah, coached by about
a dozen people from the bank, having a crack at open boating – if nothing else, Sarah,
I think it’s fair to say you’ve cracked circling.
That evening saw a number of barbeques and a particularly brutal game of rugby, in
which I lasted about 10 minutes before being flattened by Greg and limping off having
heard the call of the beer bottle. Ben, ex-rugby player and all-round fit guy impressed
us all for five minutes before going a strange purple colour and retiring for that
well-known fitness combination of cider and fags. We watched the remains of the game
from the sidelines.
The Monday saw us packing up to leave, a last paddle along the lake and on the road
to join the traffic queue back south. A great weekend spent in a beautiful place
with good company – what more could you want.