Stephanie – Exchange to Leeds Trinity University, UK
Semester 2, 2016
Although I’ve been in England for almost a whole month I had yet to really explore the countryside around my area but this past weekend I finally got the chance to! Leeds Trinity Fitness organised a weekend away that anyone could join up for and a few of us international students thought it would be a great way to meet some new people and also do something really fun and hopefully memorable together. And it was definitely just that!
Our weekend started off with a hilly and windy drive through the countryside that made a few of us feel a little unsettled, but we soon arrived at our first stop and we were super excited. First stop was Howstean Gorge where we would be taking part in a gorge walk (the main part of this trip). We changed into wetsuits, took a few photos, met our guides and before I knew it we were ready to abseil into the gorge and get wet! It was definitely quite cold, but the gorge was truly beautiful and I was super keen to get the walking/swimming underway. Being the little adventurer I am, I headed to the front of the line and stayed there for most of the time. Not only was it beautiful, but it was such a great and fun experience that I would definitely do again. We walked through pitch-black caves where I’m sure I touched a few too many bottoms, we jumped into big pools of water, and slid down a lot of slimy rocks and I loved every moment. I nearly lost my ‘Wellies’ at one stage, and I did nearly fall over a couple of times too, but it was exciting and everyone was smiling and laughing throughout the whole experience. We also had amazing guides who made the experience even better, particularly when they put on their Australian accents and talked about ‘flaming galahs’.
After the gorge walk we headed to our accommodation for the night that was in things called yurts (essentially very fancy tents!) and they were part of a large and beautiful estate called Swinton Bivouac. We had a look at the fancy part of the estate where I fell in love with the building and then we headed to our yurts a little drive away and set up camp (without having to do a thing might I add). We had running water, a toilet, proper beds, hot chocolate and even a little wood fire to keep us warm during the cold night. We drove into the closest town for a quick shop before heading back to the accommodation in time for dinner, which was being provided in the onsite restaurant! This was the perfect way to settle down after our adventure-filled day and we had a lot of fun chatting and getting to know one another. After dinner the party went on in one of the three yurts we had, and we whipped out a few card games and continued the fun into the night.
Sunday morning was quite a slow one for most people, but I was up at the crack of dawn with fellow ACU student Amber, to watch the sunrise over Yorkshire. Although it wasn’t overly spectacular, it was a beautiful fresh morning and it was an awesome way to start my morning and prepare me for the day ahead!
After a quick pack up we had a walk to Druid’s Temple which everyone believed looked older than what it probably was. There’s a bit of speculation about what the ruins actually represent but nonetheless it was fun to explore and take photos around. After this, we headed to the Black Sheep Brewery where we had a tour and then some lunch. Not only did I have my first Yorkshire Pudding, but it was also my first roast since being away from home and I enjoyed every moment (although my Mums version is better). Although I’m not a beer fan, I did try a few that were recommended for females and even purchased a ‘Holy Grail’ beer for my Dad which was made specifically for the 30 year anniversary of the Monty Python movie. Although we were all quite full and tired, we made sure to make one last pit stop at the local ice-creamery and boy was it worth it.
So that was the end of my trip and it was amazing in every single way. Not only am I glad that I got to share the experience with my fellow international students but even better was the fact that I met some new people who were all lovely too. Leeds Trinity Fitness will be running a few more day-trips around November and December which I will definitely be taking part in!