These days if you look at my Instagram, you'll mostly see pictures from when I'm travelling around, with a lot more landscape photos, especially ones from various hilly areas of the UK. Do you know why that is? Well, about a year ago, I joined the Cambridge University Hillwalking Club and with them, I've been exploring the hills all around the UK.
I've always loved being outdoors and hiking, and I've done a lot of it well before coming to England. This is why I'm often so frustrated about being in Cambridge: it's just an unbelievably boring place if you enjoy the outdoors. Don't get me wrong, the city itself is beautiful and there is a ton of things going on all the time, but it's also flat as hell, with maximum two or three interesting hikes in the area and crappy transport to any place of natural beauty, be that the coast or hills.
However, one of the great things about this university is that you have student societies catering for pretty much any hobby you can imagine, from the relatively typical national and subject-based societies all the way to quidditch and one called "Primitive Living and Survival Society". My favorite one of these is the Hillwalking Club. Due to a series of unfortunate events, I only ended up joining in my second year and I'm sure I missed out on a lot of fun.
As the name of the club says, we go find hills and hike there. The issue with this? There are no hills anywhere near Cambridge, so we drive several hours north to spend the whole weekend hiking, sleeping in bunkhouses and having fun. We go to the Peak District, the Lake District, Snowdonia and many other interesting areas. In little groups, we do long hikes, then spend the evening cooking together, usually followed by singing and chatting around the fireplace. Sunday means another day of hiking, before we return to our regular boring lives in Cambridge.
Now of course there is a downside to hiking in the UK: chances are, the weather will be utterly crap. Without exaggerating, the first time I went to the Lake District, I couldn't see more than 5 meters in from the shore of the lake, it was so foggy and rainy. In the Cheviots, we ended up walking through a bog on a hilltop in a snowstorm with horizontally falling snow. So yes, there are challenges, but they were all amazing adventures. It's not all bad weather however, we had some amazing sunny trips as well (hell, I even got sunburnt once!), you just have to make sure you have your raincoat and waterproof trousers in your bag.
Last academic year, I went on 6 trips with the club, met some amazing people and of course took some photos that I really love. This year I hope to go on even more trips and be an even more active member. Here's to another year in the club!