SCHOOL JOURNEY TO DERBYSHIRE
During the summer holidays of 1952 a party of boys and two masters went on a holiday to Derbyshire. We stayed at a youth hostel about two hundred yards from the centre of Castleton. We arrived from London on the 11.45 train from St Pancras Station. We had to change at Sheffield and transfer to a local train, which took us to Hope Station, and from there we had a walk of three miles to the hostel. When we arrived, about six o'clock, we at once sat down to a salad dinner. After this meal we established ourselves in the bedrooms.
Castleton is a fairly big village situated in the Hope Valley in Derbyshire. It is sixteen miles from Sheffield and three miles from the next village. Although it has a regular bus service to Sheffield, the nearest railway station is Hope. Castleton is spread round a narrow, winding road. Traffic jams are frequent, as this is the main road to Manchester and the North-West, also a huge cement works near by uses this road for its lorries.
Castleton caters mostly for a summer tourist trade, as it is a well-known beauty spot; though it has a few shops for the inhabitants' use. There is a rich trade in Blue John Stone curiosities, a brittle stone only obtainable in one place in the world, Treak Cliff, a small range of hills about half a mile from the village. The stone is polished and sold in many little shops. There is one hotel, the 'Stag's Head', a school and an old church, the Church of Saint Edmunds, as well as shops and houses.
The land is hilly and split into valleys. Both high land and low land are used for the pasture of sheep and cattle, and a few fields are kept for growing purposes. Few other animals besides sheep and cattle can be found. The rock formations are mostly limestone, which is mined open-cast near by and made into cement. On the high land, rnillstone and shale are found.
Interesting features near by are Peveril Castle, an ancient Norman castle, almost impregnable on account of its commanding position over the village, the limestone and Blue John caverns, Winnats Pass, a deep, steep-sided gorge, and Mam Tor, the Shivering Mountain, a high mount overlooking the village about fifteen hundred feet high.
DERWENTWATER: On hearing that my next Scout camp was to be at Derwentwater, I was from then onwards expecting a beautiful crystal-clear lake typical of Cumberland. We arrived at Keswick Station at a quarter past five in the morning, and were taken the seven miles along the rippling shores in a lorry to Borrowdale, where we were to pitch camp for the next two weeks. When we arrived at our camp site we had a splendid view of the lake, with the rising sun just peeping over the surrounding hills, which are 1,000 to 1,500 feet above sea-level. There was a smooth, cool wind making little ripples on pebbled shores.
The surrounding hillsides are steep and the slopes continue until they meet 98 feet below the surface. We went swimming in the mouth of the River Derwent which, with the famous Lodore Waterfall, supplies the lake with water. Both these supplies are swift-flowing, but there is considerable evaporation of the large surface area. When the spring comes a rise of about two inches may be recorded. I was surprised to learn that in the height of summer the surface evaporation may amount to two feet. This exposes one of the three islands in the lake, which is composed of a compact lump of waterweed which is stuck to the bottom. It is known as the Floating Island. In winter the island is covered, and the combination of these surface changes gives the illusion that it floats. A local guide- book states that the Keswick Band once gave a two-hour concert on this island to an audience in boats and on the shore. All the time the members of the Band were in constant danger of its subsiding under their weight.
I went on a pleasure trip by motor-boat round the lake, which is a great attraction to visitors. M. GORDON-SMITH (IIIC)