Students pose with the illustrious Dr. Gillin at the top of Helm Crag.
Over the course of three weeks, seventeen students — joined by Dr. and Mrs. Gillin and their son-in-law Frank Fitzgibbon — hiked throughout the Lake District of England and the rocky slopes of Ireland.
From the “Who’s Who of Grasmere” to the harshness of the moors, students hiked and read from William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the Brontës in order to better understand the connection between literature and landscape. After hiking the steep mountains in surprisingly warm English weather, students bonded together at the Kiplin Hall Estate in Richmond, Yorkshire, England–an estate built by the Calvert family of Maryland.
Over hearty Irish breakfasts, students listened to Dr. Gillin read from Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh, and Leanne O’Sullivan before traversing the rich green crags and slopes of Ireland — sliding down bogs on their daily treks. Returning to the local pub in Glengariff at the end of each day, the bogsliders crowded around one large table to enjoy good food, warm Irish drinks, and the singing culture of Irish pubs.
Dr. Gillin reads Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” while the class takes a hiking break on Helm Crag.
This trip is my favorite WAC memory. I had some of the most awesome people to climb with as well as two pretty fantastic professors to guide us through the literature, history, and hikes. Wouldn’t have missed that for the world!
—Joanna Boczon ’12
It was a truly unique experience. Poetry has a special timelessness in its words, and reading it in meaningful, untouched locations never failed to give me chills. Hiking the same wild moors as Emily Brontë, gazing at the same lakes as Wordsworth, haunting the same graveyard as Dracula — there was never a dull moment.
—Sarah Masker ’13
Molly Anderson ’12, Joanna Boczon ’12, Connie Carpenter ’12, Doug Carter ’12, Stephen Cook ’12, Tina Gardner ’11, Steph Hackett ’12, Holly Irvin, Jim Lyons ’13, Sarah Masker ’13, Lisa Maberry, Erin McAuliffe ’14, Chris Meagher ‘13, Olivia Mott ’12, Michael Nolen ’13, Allie Schoenauer ’14, Rebecca Sussman ’14, Clare Van Schaik ’13, and Zoë Woodbridge ’13
Holly Irvin, Tina Gardner ’11, Erin McAuliffe ’14, Lisa Maberry, Steph Hackett ’12, and Molly-Anderson ’12 stand in front of the ruins of Corbridge.
Erin McAuliffe ’14, Holly Irvin, Tina Gardner ’11, Molly-Anderson ’12, and Olivia Mott ’12 on the top of Hellvelyn.
I loved reaching the top of Hellvelyn and looking down at the lake where we had lunch — one second the entire Lake District before us — and next — nothing but clouds and the sheer whiteness of the fog surrounding us flatly on all sides.
—Olivia Mott ’12
The hills became so wet as we got closer and closer to the ground that many of us started a kind of slip and slide down the hill…I went sliding down the hill…this was my favorite moment of the trip…I enjoyed the climb up and quick descent and the unexpectedness of the storm. We all stuck together, and the cohesive nature of the group, especially evident on that particular day, was what made learning and hiking on this trip so enjoyable.
—Erin McAuliffe ’14
Sarah Masker ’13, Erin McAuliffe ’14, Tina Gardner ’11, Lisa Maberry, and Holly Irvin carry Mike Nolen ’13 through the ruins.
Dr. Gillin reads the poem “Michael” by William Wordsworth in the very sheepfold that inspired the poet.