Somehow during my year abroad, I managed to find myself clinging to the side of a mountain on a windy and rainy day in the Lake District.
I had always enjoyed bush walking and what can loosely be called “hiking” back home in New Zealand. So when a few of my friends decided to join the Fell and Mountaineering Club at my host university, I thought I would join too. I mean why not? It gives me the opportunity to travel, make friends and do some sort of exercise while I was studying.
Safe to say what I ended up doing on my first trip with the club was not what I was expecting. However, it turned out to be one of the best weekends of my life.
Visiting the Lake District had always been on my list of things to do while I was in England but it surpassed all of my expectations. It is one of the most beautiful places in all of England and I only saw it when it was raining. It was like the pictures in the travel catalogues; green rolling hills, quaint little villages and deep blue lakes (although technically the Lake District only has one lake; the rest are known as lochs). I was completely blown away by the scenery—it was so different from home. It really hit me I wasn’t in New Zealand anymore.
The first day we climbed Old Man Coniston which is a classic trail in the district. While classified as “easy,” I was not prepared for how steep and exposed it was. Instead of the dense bush and scrub I was used to, the landscape was almost vertical with rocks and granite jutting out. It was so windy at the summit we were almost blown off! Despite it being one of the most challenging things I had done in a while, it was so rewarding. The view was incredible and worth the three hours of huffing and puffing to the top.
Joining your university’s hiking or mountaineering club is a great thing to do while on exchange. I had such a great time getting out of Norwich and seeing other parts of England. It varies so much for a relatively tiny country. Travelling with the club meant that the whole weekend was quite cheap and much more fun going in a really big group. It was so awesome (and a little scary) trying something new but it’s one of the memories of my exchange that I will never forget.Add this article to your reading list