Family Activity Holiday at Derwentwater Independent Hostel

The Sale family activity holiday

The start of our family activity holiday

We arrived at Derwentwater Independent Hostel to a very warm welcome from Kathy and the hostel team. The kids immediately started exploring, going up the beautiful waterfall paths, and we got even more excited when we met Tom, our instructor from Glaramara , who talked us through his plans for the 4 half-day sessions of our family activity holiday. We have 3 kids (aged 13, 10 & 8) and the eldest is visually impaired, but nothing phased Tom.

We also got off to a great start with the very tasty hostel dinner (and after the first day of our family activity holiday we realised why the meals are so substantial: people who stay here burn serious calories!) and throughout the week the cooked breakfasts and packed lunches far exceeded our expectations.

The Sale family activity holiday

The Sale family activity holiday

Day 1 am of the family activity holidays: rock climbing and abseiling. Great location but that can be applied to the whole week. Tom taught us how to tie the necessary knots and to safely belay each other. Everyone successfully completed 3 different climbs.

Day 1 pm of the family activity holidays : down to the lake to meet John and Ann of Plattyplus. Life jackets on and a choice of kayak / canoes, which we decided to pair up in. As we toured the lake, John provided a very informative and entertaining natural history commentary, and he guided us safely through the wake of the passing launch: we managed not to capsize! We were all now tired and ready to put an even bigger dent in the hearty hostel dinners.

Day 2 am of the family activity holidays : into the “Jaws of Borrowdale”to find Tom at the Glaramara Activity Centre, starting us off with 30 minutes of competitive orienteering, racing each other to locate 20 codes around the grounds. Next up was archery, with everyone hitting the target once or twice. Then we built 2 coracles (adults versus kids) in which we would later race across the river.

Day 2 pm of the family activity holidays : after lunch it was into warm suits and waterproofs (provided by Glaramara), dragging our coracles to the water. Most stayed upright, though I did manage an early capsize and a face plant in the chilly waters! Wet, we now marched up to a rocky section of cascades, ready to try ghyll scrambling. We all loved this. Clambering over rocks and through shallow waters warmed us up, while the odd waterfall or deep pool crossing cooled us off again!

All of the activities were a fantastic challenge for the whole family, and we gained a great sense of achievement together on this family activity holiday. Everything was done in a very relaxed, safe, and fun way, and we unanimously declared it  “our best holiday ever”.

We booked one extra night at the hostel so that we could attempt some hill walking: from the hostel there are fantastic views and walking options in every direction. All of the hostel staff are very knowledgeable and keen to help, and so with their advice we decided on a Cat Bells walk: just right for us on Day 3.   And then for the cherry on top of this cracking holiday, Dad (me), wannabee ultra trail runner, even got to meet legendary US trail runner and author Scott Jurek (Scott was staying at the hostel for the High Terrain trail running weekend and the Bob Graham Round).

Thanks to the great Derwentwater Independent Hostel team, and to John of Plattyplus and Tom of Glaramara for a fantastic family activity holiday. I think you’ll be seeing more of us at Derwentwater!

Find out more about family holidays in hostels and hostels and bunkhouses in the Lakes.