& Holidays 2007
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Isle of Anglesey - October 2007
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Photos by Martin Housley
Everyone managed to leap the Menai Strait and
arrive at the substantial and comfortable Bulkeley Hotel in
Beaumaris in time for the evening meal. Some visited the castle,
others strolled the Prom or tested the beer in local hostelries.
All gathered eagerly to hear the delights promised for Saturday.
'A' party's destination was Llanfachraeth. This
little hamlet boasted a coffee house established in 1892 and
designed to be a place where the inhabitants could enjoy their
coffee free from alcohol and gambling and political and religious
conversation. From there we walked to the coastal path where,
as long as we kept the sea on the left we were on track
were we?All was well until we reached Ynys y Fydlyn ( we were
in Wales after all) and there the path was diverted round
a wood which meant we took a long time to go a short way.
By this time Wylfa power station was in sight but not within
very easy reach. It's stark architecture was somewhat alleviated
on the south east by a nature trail which we all enjoyed and
those excited by optional extras deviated round the headland
before joining the rest of us in Cemaes for cream tea or beer.
Sunday saw the 'A' party debussing at Four Mile
Bridge(Pont Rhyd y Bent) to set off once more for the coast
- sea on the right this time. Despite excellent mapreading,
the waymark signs failed us and our efforts to exit a field
were not appreciated by the locals. We were soon put right
and we swung happily along to Rhoscolyn where we started an
advanced class in sand yomping and pebble balancing. Our reward
was to arrive in Rhosneigr and see the colourful display of
sailboarders and kitesurfers spread over the bay. How do they
manage not to get tangled up with each other? We continued
our beach trek until diverted by an ancient burial chamber
said to have been built at the time of the pyramids - even
older than us then. A stroll past the local race track brought
us to a tiny church perched at the end of a causeway where
we had a windswept tea stop. Rumour had it that weddings still
took place there and we wondered about the logistics of getting
the bride and guests across the jumble of rocks which formed
the approach 'road'. Aberffraw was soon in sight, however,
and the dreaded pub proved to be very welcoming after all.
On Monday some people stayed in Beamaris and
did their own thing.Those who were walking headed for Pentraeth.
Both 'A' and 'B' parties started from the carpark . 'A' party
made for Red Wharf Bay. This was not without a slight diversion
but it gave us another chance to practise beachwalking - a
skill we have now honed to perfection. Turning inland we encountered
the now familiar practice of waymarks where the path was obvious
and none when you really needed them. The area also specialised
in deeply hidden stiles and impenetrable fields of gorse.
Nevertheless, our intrepid leader was able to overcome all
obstacles. We managed to scale the heights above Llanddonal,
avoid any fracas with local farmers and eventually meet up
with the 'B' party as we emerged from one of our more enterprising
diversions. All tramped together back to the carpark and onward
A very good weekend was had by all and we are
grateful for Lewis's skill in making it possible. He even
foresaw the fine weather, which is always a bonus. Thanks
to all the leaders who did a magnificent job in translating
the walks from the map to the ground as well as fighting the
intricacies of the Welsh language and trying to calm the wrath
of some of the inhabitants. Special thanks to Yvonne, David
and Christina for ensuring that everything ran smoothly and
that everyone was catered for. The time and effort you put
in is very much appreciated.
Report by Diane Exley
Isle of Wight - 24 to 31 August 2007
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Photos by Pat Bottomley
Island of sun sparkling on water and white, white cliffs.
Welcoming hotel with panoramic views, comfortable rooms and
an excellently organised dining room with a fine choice of
well-cooked food. A swim in the pool (not unaccompanied though)
or a steam in the sauna was also on offer. Not to forget the
live entertainment every evening for those who enjoy displaying
themselves on the dance floor - I plead guilty. For those
of a more sober(?) cast of mind there was always bridge or
the pub. For two memorable evenings we all joined in with
a game of short mat bowls - don't ask. Competition was fierce
and handkerchiefs were produced as measuring implements. The
first night resulted in an all ladies final, some of us having
battled against helpful(?) male advice to get there. The second
final was more evenly balanced. We let the men in!
Upon the first night of explanations it was clear that there
were fairly low expectations about how difficult the walking
might be; after all it is a small island with nothing over
300 metres. For us used to walking in the Dales and the Lakes
it would be trivial! This must have been the thoughts of some
A walkers who gave the IoW a miss.
Day 1 - Bonchurch to Ventnor - Both groups basked in a window
of hot sunshine and cool sea breezes. Route finding was interesting
and although we saw llamas and alpacas, we never found the
donkey sanctuary - well not the official one! 'A' party found
a lot of ups and downs, which included many steps, both inland
and on the coast. 'B' party arrived at the Winter Gardens
in Ventnor for a leisurely drink, whilst after all those 'steps'
'A' party, although they definitely deserved one, only managed
a 'swift' drink.
Day 2 - Freshwater to Yarmouth - Both parties followed the
coastal route taking in the Needles, Alum Bay and Totland
on the Tennyson Trail. This was a very busy area, as we realized
when we toddled through Totland, having to scramble over bikini
clad bodies draped across the promenade. However the other
scenery was spectacular. 'B' Party had lunch on the most wonderful
heather 'Down' before walking on to Yarmouth for tea or other
Day 3 - Bembridge to Newport on the Bembridge Trail. The
'A' party walk reached the lowest total with just 3 intrepid
followers trying to keep up with Moya. In order to lull the
party into thinking it would be flat all day we had a gentle
stroll first on the beach from Bembridge, where the timing
of the walk was perfect, half an hour earlier and this part
would have involved paddling. However from here on we started
the undulations that we had become used to; even blocking
off our intended route with a Bank Holiday event did not throw
the leader. However some confusion did occur when we met a
traffic jam; thinking that all the cars must be going somewhere
interesting we mistakenly followed them, only to be dumped
in the local rubbish tip. However we soon learnt and got back
into Newport with plenty of time for a drink and shopping
for the 'B's, well organised by Glennys.
Day 4 - Rest Day - Osbourne House, Bembridge, The Victory
and Mary Rose in Portsmouth were visited
Day 5 - Calbourne. Starting from Calbourne both groups were
doing circular walks. What our 'A' Party leader had not told
us was that this day had most ascent of any of the walks so
it was up and down all day; just for variety we all had to
climb a barbed wire fence just to avoid retracing our steps.
All this meant that we were running late, what would the B
party say? We finally made the pub just after the agreed leaving
time only to find that the B party had not returned. So we
did what came naturally and had a drink! (The rest soon arrived).
Day 6 - Niton Circular taking in Chale, Shepherds Chine,
Atherfield Green, St Catherines Down and back to Niton, the
'B's, led by Harvey, who finished well in time to sample the
lovely café and cream teas before going to the local
hostelry. The final day for the 'A's was down to the 5 main
stalwarts, it all seemed a gentle walk, along the coast and
then gently up to the highest points and a nice ridge walk.
This was far too good, although it was difficult to see how
we find any more hills to climb. However our leader had a
different plan! We would then do the most direct descent he
could find to the lighthouse, Oh what fun, through brambles
nettles etc, until we reached the C group who had been watching
our perilous descent. There was good news however in that
John pointed out a very good pub that would be halfway up
the hill to the coach. So the intrepid 5 duly stopped off
and celebrated a very good week of 5 first class a walks.
And who could not admire the coach driver who not only drove
us safely there and back but also joined in the walks and
acted as advance route-finder. Altogether a really enjoyable
holiday in an unexpectedly interesting place where there really
was something for everyone. ) We covered the whole of the
island between us whether by accident or design and swung
between coast and interior with remarkable ease. Many thanks
to all those who worked to, make this, such a success. We
must congratulate Jean and Trevor who did some remarkable
walking, even more ascent than the 'A' Party on the last day.
This will definitely aid your recovery Jean.
Report by - Diane Exley (overall) David Sherborne (A Walks)
Again a very special thank you to Yvonne, Moya and John for
all their efforts.
Cumbria - 23 to 25 March 2007
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'A' Walk Saturday
'A' Walk Sunday
Photos by Martin Housley
It was with some trepidation that we all set off for Shap
Wells; would the holiday seem the same without Lewis? How
would it be organised?
The arrival to the hotel confirmed that this was an unusual
hotel, big, rambling and miles from anywhere. The early impressions
were not good as a majority of the rooms were not ready and
people had to hang around in the lounge. In retrospect this
may not have been a bad thing as the gathering throng were
able to talk to each other and break the ice. Members dealt
with the problems in their own ways; one by shouting at the
staff and others by getting free drinks from the bar!
Eventually everyone received their room and normal service
was resumed. Dinner was served promptly and food and service
were fine. After the meal the usual announcements were made;
Alan Jagger kindly took over the introductions, giving welcomes
to everyone, especially newcomers. Brief words were said for
Lewis and the whole weekend was to be enjoyed in his memory.
Then the next day's arrangements were agreed and people could
decide on their preferences. Yvonne then said a few words
thanking the club for all the support over the last year.
Then to the bar!!
The next day the coach left on time, dropped off the "C"
party into Joyce's tender mercies and the rest were left on
the banks of Haweswater.
The A party set off first as usual and after a brief flat
stroll along the water's edge set off for the peaks, up Swinedale
trying to keep pace with Martin off in front. The party managed
to knock off Selside, Harter Fell and Mosedale amongst others
before finally getting to High Street. However upon getting
to a flat bit Martin promptly led us all down the steepest
ridge he could find, Two hours later we were back at Haweswater
BUT not at the coach. A further hour's walk finally got us
to the coach where the "B" party were "patiently"
waiting; they were not too keen on the "A" party
being late! The unusual feature of the walk was that Christina
and Yvonne were at the back all day (a real first), both backing
However we all made the hotel in time for a drink, wash,
etc. before another good meal. After the meal there was an
entertaining presentation about the history of the hotel,
including the health benefits of the spa and its use as a
prisoner of war camp.
On the Sunday a much smaller "A" party set of in
cars for Greenholme to explore new regions of the Lakes, climbing
was much less than the day before but the sudden views of
Borrowdale (the one near Shap) were no less spectacular. A
major hiccup was avoided when the diplomatic skills of Christina
allowed us to walk a vital section of the route. On the map
it is a white track, but when we got there it was clearly
signed as private with the owner standing by; still diplomacy
prevailed and from then on there were no major problem so
the cars were safely rediscovered. People then split up to
make their own ways home.
Thanks to everyone for making it so special. Particular thanks
to Martin, John, Christina, Joyce and Derek for leading and
for Yvonne for being there and helping. All in all a good
celebration to Lewis who managed to control the weather very
Report by Dave Sherborne
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