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Duddon Valley June 2018

By now, most club members will have heard tales of our infamous trip to Duddon Valley in February 2017, so vividly recounted by those members who attended it that those who didn’t will nevertheless remember it clearly. The trip included participants banging their heads on the bunkhouse’s low-hanging beams, a cramped social gathering in the main room with an insufficient number of chairs for everyone to be seated, and miserable weather restricting hill walkers to the lower slopes and the nearer pubs.

Thankfully, the committee learnt from this formative experience. The latest trip took place in June in a (successful) bid to avoid bad weather, the group size was reduced to avoid overcrowding, and taller / clumsier members were offered helmets to protect against low-hanging beams. (OK, I may have invented that last bit, but the committee might like to consider the idea for next time!).

Under morning sunshine, we divided into groups of hill walkers and scramblers and set off in adventure. From what I understand, the walks went swimmingly. At least, there was some swimming. I attended the scrambling course with Miriam and Bianca, both of whom were quick to learn the ropes, while I was noticeably less so. In an attempt to alleviate the instructor’s despair, I climbed enthusiastically, so that come the end of the weekend he warmly encouraged me to take up rock-climbing, while diplomatically avoiding any comment on my knot-tying skills.

This was officially Gilad and Marci’s last trip. To celebrate their participation and to wish them well in the future, we had cake on Saturday evening. While this may have been their ‘official’ last trip, I’m sure the club would be very happy were Marci and Gilad to have an unofficial last trip in the future.

After having made the most of the warm evening sun with supper and cake outside, we retired inside to escape the midges and sing club classics, such as ‘I am Cow’. It has yet to be determined whether these songs are loved because of, or despite, their bizarreness.

Attentive members will recall that our co-presidents promised in their joint election campaign to relocate Cambridge to the Peak District. Following the success of our latest trip to Duddon Valley, some members have remarked - somewhat astutely - that the Lake District would offer higher climbs, beautiful lakes, and later summer evenings. However, our co-presidents point out that moving Cambridge to the Lake District would involve a move of twice the distance, incurring twice the cost. Therefore, I regret to have to inform those members that a move to Swallows and Amazons country has been ruled out.

Oliver Neale