UlverSTEM 2019

Today we spent a couple of hours in the Coronation Hall at a science event for young people. It was the second year that the event has been run and the hall was packed with youngsters trying their hands at various experiments and activities with a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics theme.

Megan and William started our visit by learning to fly a drone under the tuition of two Engineers from Siemens. We then saw demos for Virtual and Augmented Reality applications followed by a working model submarine from BAE Systems.

We got to pilot a stunt plane in a flight simulator and blow rainbow snake bubbles in a chemistry experiment.

Andrew Jenkins

For us, however, the star of the show was Andrew Jenkins a young particle physicist from Lancaster University who, ably assisted by Megan, used card tricks to illustrate probability theory to a growing crowd of amazed youngsters. He certainly kept Megan and William entertained and engaged. His use of magic ball and cup trick to describe Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle was only surpassed by his apparent ability to pass a whole lemon through a solid table thereby proving that Quantum tunnelling is indeed possible!

Sporting success

It has been a week of sporting success for us. On Wednesday William was selected to represent the school at an indoor athletics meet at Furness Academy in Barrow. His team came third in the relay.

On Thursday Megan represented the school at a Cross Country event at UVHS. (Alas no photos allowed). Megan started sensibly at the back of the field of 33 girls as the outward leg was downhill and sure to be too fast. At the half way point she had progressed through the field into 20th place and her stamina and pacing was shining through on the uphill leg. The final turn saw her up to 14th and the cheering crowd spurred her to sprint over the last sixty metres, crossing the line in 9th place, by far the fastest finisher.

What has pleased her most about her performance is that the school have recognised her sporting potential and she has been selected for another track and field event next Thursday. Possibly entering the Javelin!

Today William scored two quick goals in the first half against Milnthorpe which put them in control of the match eventually running out 6:1 winners.

Yewbarrow – You bet ya!

The decision to wild camp around the corner of the rendezvous point for the start of the walk served us well and by the time Clare and Tony arrived the eggy bread was underway and eagerly enjoyed by everyone!

Enjoying the versitility of the campervan

After a short faff, we set off on our walk just about on the agreed start time of 8:30. It wasn’t long before we got our first glimpse of our target – the very pointy peak of Yewbarrow.

Our mission – Yewbarrow (628 m AOD)

Before we could embark on the more interesting scramble to the summit we had to conquer the steep foothill. We were however rewarded with wonderful view of Wast Water with the shady scree slopes from Illgill head falling into the water.

Clare and I enjoying the view whilst the others catch up
(psst….I won’t tell if you don’t!)

The scrambling added an extra dimension to the walk and this was clearly the most enjoyable part of the day for William, who shot ahead with Tony, whilst some of us took a little longer to enjoy the views an admire the rock climbers.

As we gained height we gained the narrow ridge above the great door. Here I spotted Lay and Megan silhouetted above me – a must have photo opportunity.

The airy ridge on Yewbarrow

Shortly after the ridge we reached the summit where I snapped a summit selfie with my family. I think the altitude must have got to them!!!

Bunch of weirdo’s

Lay then informed us this may not actually be the summit so we trudged along to the next summit (which was clearly lower than the first) and just an excuse to make us walk the entire summit plateau. William however had enough time for a spot of summit meditation!!


We retraced our steps to a path that led us back down the valley, taking the opportunity to stop for lunch whilst we were still high enough to enjoy the views.


The descent was just as steep and unforgiving as the ascent – I was cursing myself for forgetting my poles as they would have been very welcome.

Back at base we had a brew and a slice of Clare’s delicious Apple and Walnut cake before going our separate ways.

A great peak to have ticked off the list. Its distinctive shape makes it an easy spot from nearby peaks in an area we are bound ti re-visit time and time again in our Lakeland adventure.

Campervan curry in a hurry!

Well… it would be rude NOT to use the campervan at least once during our half term holiday…. so we did!!

On this occasion we decided to take Megan and William to the little wild camp spot Lay and I had discovered earlier in the year and do an overnight stopover in advance of a grand day out in the hills we had planned for the following day.

It was starting to turn dusky when we arrived at the site so by the time we had set up the camper and fitted the insulated covers on the pop top we found ourselves cooking tea in the dark (or at least Megan did!!)

We used the saucepan on the Cobb to cook the chicken before adding a homemade Korma sauce Lay had kindly prepared earlier.

Megan in charge of the Cobb

Pairing this with some boil in the bag rice, naan breads (baked in the moat under the saucepan), poppadoms and mango chutney I am sure you will agree this was a true campervan feast – thanks Megs.

Taa daa – yum yum!!

With clean plates and full tummies it wasn’t long before we found our beds so we would be bright eyed and bushy tailed (the latter being quite literally true for one member of the family) ready to make an early start in the morning.

Sunny Bank Sunday

What I really enjoy about living in the Lakes is sharing a dog walk with my Sister. Little and often seems to suit us both and we have swapped the weekly telephone catch up to a weekly walk (sometimes two).

On this occasion, our walk took us around the familiar Sunny Bank circuit, taking in the shores of Lake Coniston at the start of the walk and Torver Common at the end.

The ever changing lakeside scenery
William enjoying a stone skimming opportunity

Every time I step out of the door I feel like I am on holiday. Its hard to believe that this was just one of our local dog walks. One day I will stop taking pictures of these everyday activities…. but not yet!!

While the boys play….

Whilst William and Lay were occupied playing football at the Ulverston Rangers GSK ground at Canal Foot, Megan and I decided to take Togo for a walk. As Clare has daughter-in-law duties in Ulverston on Saturdays she planned to join us for a stomp up Hoad Hill as soon as she was free.

Megan and I set off along the canal path to find it was lined with large anchors that had been decorated by local schools, organisations and businesses. We later discovered this event was held annually to raise money and awareness for the rolling bridge along the canal.

The canal anchors

We were pleased to spot Clare along the canal and Megan ran ahead to join her. Once together we made our way to the foot of Hoad Hill and started our ascent.

Megan took the steep path and beat us both to the top, where we were all rewarded with an empty bench and wonderful views!

Made it!
Sir John Barrow monument.

Our return journey took us around the back (north side) of the monument and skirting the large houses on the outskirts of Ulverston before popping out into ford park by the play area.

At this point Megan decided she needed a comfort break so we made our way to ford park cafe where we not only used the facilities, but we saw a wedding party entering the walled gardens for the ceremony. The temptation of a coffee and cream tea proved irresistible so our walk ended with us chilling in the cafe.

Ladies who lunch!!

Could this be the start of ladies that lunch…. we could certainly imagine Grannie Annie beetling up the path from their new home overlooking the park to join us in future!!

Swarthmoor JFC

With the upheaval of moving from the south coast to the north west, changing schools, settling into our temporary home and starting a new job, we had left approaching clubs until mid-September. However, once underway with all of that, we set our mind to out of school clubs including finding a new football team for William.

We soon realised that all the local teams had recruited their quota of players for the 2019/20 season. This was also true for Swarthmoor JFC but whilst unable to offer a place on the team William was lucky to get offered a spot training with Swarthmoor’s U8 team.

Joining in with the weekly training sessions, William’s talent and ability on the pitch shone through and it wasn’t long before he was invited to join the team for a friendly match and shortly after a place on the team for the league matches opened up.

As Lay is not actively part of the coaching team or been called up for referee duty (yet) he dusted off his camera to take some action shots of the team playing. On this occasion Swarthmoor were taking on Ulverston Rangers. This was an interesting match as we had also approached Ulverston Rangers for a place for William but had no response. It turns out this match is a bit of a local derby of rival teams so tensions were high at the start.

I think Lay managed to catch some great shots – demonstrating he still has what it takes!

William in defence
Supporting his teammate.
That ball clearly had some power by the look of the opposition!!

On this occasion Swarthmoor claimed a comfortable win – the oppositions coaches recognising they were the better team on that occasion.

We feel very lucky to have found a team with dedicated coaches, friendly parents and a great team of players. Even better, with training on a weeknight and fortnightly matches we still get to have every other weekend free for our Cambrian adventures.

Great Burney and Great Bridges

Today was a show and tell afternoon at school so parents could admire all the topic work each year group had produced over the half term. William’s year were proudly displaying their light projects. It was clear William’s efforts to make had not gone unnoticed as he got a second special mention. The year 6 World War 2 topic revealed lots of Anderson shelters and evacuee stories – something Megan was very proud to show us.

Taking advantage of taking an afternoon off work we decided today would be a good day to invite a friend round for tea – especially as the school disco was also on that evening so we could do the drop off and pick up from school saving parents the trouble given our remote location.

Whilst William’s friend Kayden (from school and football) was able to make it both Amber and Lilly were not which left Megan at a loose end…. or so she thought!!

Great Burney views

I asked Megan if she wanted to test out the route to the top of Great Burney with me. She leapt at the chance. Thinking we were going to be short of time, we drove up past Gawthwaite to the foot of the ridge. We need not have worried however as it only took us 8 minutes from the car to the summit!!! We extended our return journey to make a nice 30 minute circuit – a good route to have up our sleeves if we are short of time.

Meanwhile, Kayden and William enjoyed exploring the garden before building dens inside.

Enjoying the Langholme Mill bridges

After a quick pizza supper there was just time to get spruced up ready for the school disco.

An action packed day and lovely penultimate day of their first half term at Pennington School.

Hi-de Hi-de Hi ……. Hoad-e Hoad-e Hoad

It must have felt a bit like Butlins when a coach load of Pennington pupils descended (or should that be ascended) onto Hoad Hill for the morning.

William and his fellow yr3 and yr4 classmates were luck enough to have a school trip to the iconic Sir John Barrow Monument and even got a tour of the inside (something on my someday one day wish list).

Most of the school activities feature in social media (usually the schools facebook page or twitter feed) and I managed to download a couple of great shots of William…

Working AND smiling!!!
William and his new pal Kayden

We are really pleased that both Megan and William are getting a lot of outdoor learning experiences at Pennington. I wonder how high (m AOD) they will reach during their time at the school.