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Newsletter

September 2007

Reports

 

 

Portland                    October 2006

 

About fifteen intrepid explorers arrived on Friday, at the windswept southern outpost, otherwise known as Portland YHA.  After the first of many delicious meals, we split into two noisy teams to play ‘Outburst.’

 

Unfortunately, since the writer was clearly in the wrong team, Glenys’ crew wiped the floor with us time and time again, throughout the weekend.  Saturday saw us walking along the rugged cliffs of Portland around the entire peninsula.  The spectacularly clear blue sea along the coastline made it obvious why the area is such a magnate for divers.  At the halfway point we visited the lighthouse, after which the lighthouse keeper gave us a detailed account of incidents associated with the whirlpool that we could all see at the southernmost point.

 

Other than someone inconveniently leaving a military base in our path, our hike was trouble free.  It offered great exercise, fellowship and a chance to explore yet one more part of our beautiful country.  The bleak, barren landscape and strong winds of the Portland during the day contrasted greatly with the warmth expressed by the leaders Glenys and Robin.

 

When we returned, Bobby the hostel warden added to the contentment of the weekend.  Her humour, food, great choice of sixties music and cosiness of her hostel made the indoor time even more pleasant than we could have anticipated.

 

Sunday found us several miles away on the roof of St Catherine’s Chapel admiring the view, before briefly scrambling onto the famous Chesil Beach and posing for a group photograph.  Afterwards, we entered the glorious paradise that is Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens, where we later sampled their delicious non-sub tropical cream teas!  Sadly, it was then time to bid our fond farewells and to offer thanks to Robin and Glenys for a job well done.

Leaders:                   Robin & Glenys Richardson

Report:                      Joy Read

 

 

Glen Coe                   17 - 24 February

 

Our guides had just arrived and we were all sat around the oval dining table tucking into the evenings veggie and gluten free, high Gl (or was that low GI) meal when the main guide, Chris asked us what we would like to achieve during the week.  So each one of the eight of us shared our expectations - climb a grade 3, improve our ice axe skills, learn to lead a climb - but one small problem we all faced...where was the snow!  We had three great guides to take us out into the hills for the week, but would we be able to find any of that white icy stuff?  We did not have to worry about anything, we were is safe hands, we had four great days of adventure in snow/ice, and one day (because of rain) in the ‘warmth’ of the Ice Factory - an ice and rock wall indoor centre, brushing up on rope and belay skills.

 

One of our group unfortunately injured themselves early on in the week and then spent the rest of the week hobbling around unable to come out with us, but apart from the odd bump and scrape the rest of us came away nharmed.

 

Even though at the start of the week there did not seem much snow around, each day we were taken to the hilltops we found plenty of snow and ice to climb and stomp around in.  This is not a week of having to get to the tops of ridges or mountains, but just having fun in climbing part of a cliff face or a part of ridge that does not always lead to a summit.  It’s a week of stretching yourself to see what you could achieve - and having a great time in God’s creation.

 

A big thank you to John and Kate for once again organising a great week.  The food and accommodation just keeps on getting better year after year.

 

Leader:                     John Penrose

Report:                      Neil Wells

 

 

Coln Valley               19 - 22 April

25th Anniversary

 

The CRC three-day linear walk from the source of the River Coln in the Cotswolds to where it joins the river Thames at Lechlade was great fun.  It was my first weekend away with the CRC, having recently joined.  I soon

decided it was safe to stay, everyone being so friendly and helpful.  We stayed at Stow-on-the-Wold Youth hostel - such a nice village!  The weather was amazing; I really should have brought suntan cream!

 

Spring had really sprung!  We walked past woods filled with bluebells, blossom in the hedgerows, fields full of ewes and lambs, fields full of dandelions, pheasants strutting their stuff, ducks and ducklings, even a family of water voles swam past one day and we heard a cuckoo!  We followed the river as it meandered along, beautiful!  We managed to have some nice stops en route at a Roman villa, two churches, a lovely pub, and two fantastic teashops!

 

The logistics of a linear walk were interesting to say the least!  Prayer, sweat, and patience required!?  Glenys was the star using plates and coffee sachets to represent cars and people to make sure we could all get to the beginning and end of the walks and back to the hostel! We managed not to lose anyone - I think!?  We had a lovely Chinese takeaway and a time of worship on Saturday night.  Especial thanks go to Robin and Glenys for leading, and to Roger for sharing his amazing walk.  It was great, and to be recommended.

 

Leaders:                   Robin and Glenys Richardson plus Roger Philpott

Report:                      Jean Carpenter

 

 

 

Rhoscolyn               31 March - 9 April
Anglesey

South Stack Lighthouse

 

I think it’s fair to say that Anglesey is not the first place most people would chose for a holiday; it does not have the appeal of Cornwall or the Lake District.  Yet sometimes it pays to break the mould and try something different.

 

Our accommodation was an independent self-catering 3 star hostel at Rhoscolyn about 10 miles from Holyhead.  We were fortunate that we had dedicated and efficient volunteer chefs to choose and prepare a wide range of good meals.

 

The plan was to walk half of the costal path of Anglesey starting in the northwest at Amlwch and finishing at Mulltreth Sands over the course of nine days.  This included numerous RSPB, wildfowl and sea birds trusts, including the one next to South Stack Lighthouse.  We also had the added attraction of a nuclear power station and an RAF base.

 

We celebrated Good Friday and Easter Sunday with an in-house Communion Service and our singing (obviously not mine) attracted the attentions of a Christian camper who joined us for one of the services.

 

Many thanks to Sue Edwards, our event leader, who did an excellent job of organising the walks, transport, and accounts for all our spending.

 

Leader:                     Sue Edwards

Report:                      George Clowes

 

 

 

 

AGM                           4 - 8 May

Gradbach Mill

 

Over 80 members gathered at Gradbach Mill for the AGM and walking weekend.  Saturday was bright and windy but warmer than expected so it was a welcome surprise for some groups to find an ice cream van at Roach End.  Other groups found shelter and refreshments at the Cat and Eiddle or the Tittesworth cafe.

 

Walks ranged from an easy 6 miles around the scenic Tittesworth Reservoir or along the beautiful River Dane, through bluebell woods, up to Hanging Stone Rock and through the chasm of Lud’s Church; 10 miles along the spectacular crags of The Roaches or the climb past Three Shire Head to the summit with detours to the Cat and Fiddle and over Shutlingsloe; and 18 miles to Shining Tor.  A nature walk led by John Ashworth ended with tea at his farm and a request for help with his animals.  We also welcomed the families whose children are now old enough to join the adult walkers.

 

Saturday’s AGM was thoughtful, Sunday worship was inspirational and Monday was entertaining with a video shown by Roger Philpott of the CRC Silver Anniversary Walk along the River CoIn.

 

Many thanks to many people, including Pauline for the bookings, Alison Edwards and the musicians for the worship, George Clowes for the walks, and the committee and leaders for their commitment through the year.

 

Leader:                     Alison Edwards

Report:                      Maureen Davis

 

 

Eilean Arainn           19 - 26 May

Isle Of Arran

 

Should there be anyone who may be confused, especially those inhabiting a much larger island to the west of this isle, the author would like to qualify that the CRC expedition was to the Isle Of Arran and not the Aran Islands to the west of the aforesaid larger island and that he regrets he was unable to fulfil any orders for Aran jumpers.

 

Initially 19 expeditioneers plus canine were disgorged on Saturday (plus 1 on Sunday) from the Ardrossan/Brodick ferry and, via the impressively synchronized multi modal island transport system, arrived at the youth hostel and other detached accommodation in Lochranza. Sir Walter Scott’s ‘The Lord Of the Isles’ describes the latter thus:

 

On fair Lochranza streamed the early day,

Thin wreaths of cottage smoke are upward curl’d

From the lone hamlet, which her inland bay

And circling mountains sever from world

 

The weird and wonderful bird flaps on Goat FellAfter an evening sampling the local hostelry with its wall to wall whisky, it was off to the Kirk on Sunday morning for spiritual refreshment of a more exalted kind followed by a northern seashore stroll.  There was trouble identifying the ‘Cock Of Arran’.  Sorry to disappoint the bird spotting fraternity but this is a geological feature.  A Damsel in Distress was rescued by our gallant ‘Sir Knight Andrew.

 

On Monday the Brythonic meaning of ‘Arainn’ as ‘high place’ was keenly felt as the more vertically inclined expeditioneers climbed up to Ben Nuis from Glen Rosa and along the ridge to Bienn Tarsuinn and back via Beinn Chliabhain circling Coire a’ Bhradain in glorious weather.  The more horizontally inclined circled Beinn Bhreac.

 

Tuesday brought a ferry trip to Arran’s very own Holy Island owned by the Centre For World Peace And Health, a community of Buddhists offering their own brand of spiritual enlightenment.  There were no takers for the exclusive retreat of 3 years and 3 months.  Instead expedition one stormed the heights of Mullach Mor in gorgeous weather spurred on by the thought of avoiding an enforced overnight retreat if the last ferry was missed.  We still had time to enjoy the Centre’s hospitable tea and coffee.  Expedition two explored the waterfalls of Glenashdale.

 

Wednesday brought with it a day of glorious precipitation both of the liquid and precipice kinds as expedition one assaulted the north west face of the ‘Mountain Of Wind’, (meaning of the Gaelic ‘Goat Fell’) the highest mountain on Arran, from Glen Sannox via the ridge traversing the Saddle and North Goatfell.  And what a wind!  And what a sharp ridge!  On the peak a weird and wonderful bird of an unknown species was spotted.  Expedition two ascended and descended via the ‘tourist’ route from Brodick castle.  After their heroic deeds with expedition one, Sharon and Sue were presented with a leftover scone by expedition two.

 

Thursday brought with it a ferry trip for one expedition to a remote part of the mainland, the Mull Of Kintyre, via Arran’s alternative ferry, Lochranza/ Claonaig, to view Skipness castle and Walk the Way.  Desperate for a tea shop stop, the expedition sent in the most appealing member of the party first to successfully appeal to the proprietor of the ‘Open all hours’ Skipness sub post office for tea and shelter from the precipitation.

 

On Friday Glen Sannox via Cir Mhor and Casteall Abhail back to Lochranza satisfied the Corbett baggers whilst a party rode Arran’s equivalent of a white knuckle roller coaster, the buses round the island roads, stopping to recover at various villages.  In the evening it was prize giving at a local hostelry with the most birdwatched prize going to Ros for at least 42 species including golden eagles and hen harriers, the organisers’ prizes to Robert and Wei Hei for leading the week, but no prizes for bus spotting or the nuclear sub.

 

Sadly, Saturday was the Day Of Departure from Arran.  But a big thank you to Robert and Wei Hei for organising such a marvellous week, to all those who led walks, drove people and cooked such tasty meals in the hostel and may there be another!

 

Leaders:                   Robert & Wei Hei Kipling

Report:                      David Lunn

 

 

Skye                           19 - 26 May

Pinnacle of Achievement!

 

What a fantastic time I had with the CRC in May!  For me it was a dream trip - to share such beautiful mountains and awesome challenges with a super group of people who also appreciate them.  I’m so grateful to God for keeping me healthy and fit enough to take part and to my husband for taking care of the family so I could go.

 

A clean, spacious, warm, well- equipped self-catering house with lovely views awaited the gathering together at Sligachan on the Saturday night of the Guide (the sure-footed John Lyall) and his twelve followers.  You can see where we were at www.sligachan.co.uk.

 

Sunday saw us assemble at the Skye Bible Church in Portree.  It was a pleasure to worship with our brothers and sisters, although certain songs seemed not quite to fit in with our hopes for the week, and we were rather concerned to find ourselves singing ‘Let it rain!’  However, the weather turned glorious for the afternoon and we enjoyed spectacular views of the mainland and Outer Hebrides during our walk past the Old Man to the summit of the Storr.  Those of us with new digital cameras were able to try out the macro features on the lovely orchids and other wild flowers.

 

On each of the following six days the party split in to two groups, one doing a tough walk/scramble in the Black Cuillins led by John, while the other group had a rest day or a CRC member-led walk or scramble.

 

John’s expeditions involved the use of ropes, helmets and harnesses for the difficult bits.  With John’s expert guidance and the group’s good humoured encouragement, where needed, we succeeded in completing a section of the Cuillin Ridge Traverse (Sgurr a Mhadaidh, Sgurr a Ghreadaidh and Sgurr na Banachdich); an ascent of Am Basteir and Bruach na Frithe; climbing the highest Cuillin, Sgurr Alasdair; rock climbing the Inaccessible Pinnacle of Sgurr Dearg; and scrambling up the west ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean.

 

The skills we learnt with John included putting on a climbing harness correctly and without tripping over; bouncing on our toes and leaning out over a vertical drop (some of us didn’t manage that one); and interpreting Mountain Guide language (‘airy’ means ‘you’ll be petrified if you look down!’ while ‘interesting’ or ‘a wee bit tricky’ translates as ‘verging on impossible).  Rock climbing the ‘In Pinn’ was definitely ‘airy’ and ‘a wee bit tricky’, especially in the rain, although some found the descent even worse and Mark resorted to reciting the 23 Psalm for courage as he was lowered through the mist down the vertical face.

 

Personally, I found the scrambling challenging and was relieved that the visibility was so poor on the first day that I couldn’t see the drops below me! However, I gained confidence throughout the week and felt that all twelve of us summiting the ‘In Pinn’ (on two separate days) was an amazing achievement for the group and a testament to John’s leadership.

 

Activities enjoyed by the other group included a walk up Blaven with the sighting of a herd of red deer; a walk and scramble up Sgurr nan Eag; a relaxing swim in the pool at Portree; a ferry ride to the Isle of Raasay and ascent of its highest point, the distinctive Dun Caan; a lovely coastal walk around the northernmost headland of Skye, marvelling at the nesting seabirds on the spectacular cliffs and sea stacks; and an ascent of Sgurr nan Gillean by the ‘Tourist Route’ (which despite its name involves some scrambling), meeting up with John’s group for the descent and some ‘bouldering’.

 

Amongst the other highlights of the week were the calls of the cuckoos which accompanied us everywhere (the one heard through the mist high on the Cuillin Ridge was said to be commenting on our sanity!); the super meals (cooked in turn by teams of two) especially Ann and Jan’s epic mango chicken stir-fry followed by delicious bread and butter pudding; drinking a toast to Grant and Pauline who celebrated their first wedding anniversary on the Sunday; Ann’s nightly slide shows where she displayed on her laptop the day’s digital photos; Jan serenading us with an appropriate song for the day (‘There may be trouble ahead’, ‘I can see clearly now the rain has gone’); sitting on the summit of Sgurr nan Gillean on the last day watching a pair of white tailed sea eagles rise on a thermal from the valley floor to well above the mountain tops then glide off to their hunting grounds.

 

The weather ranged from hailstorms through mist and unremitting rain to glorious sunshine but it was never too windy and by the end of the week we had bagged 10 Munros between us and seen some superb views which I think is very good for Skye!  The wind was a blessing as it kept the midges away.

 

To finish, I would like to thank again every member of the group for being such good company and especially Duncan and Nicky for organising it and gently keeping us organised all week and Ann, Grant and Pauline for collating and distributing the photos.

 

I know I can speak for the whole group when I say that ‘a good time was had by all!’

 

Leader:                     Duncan Parsons

Report:                      Cath Sinclair

 

 

Arundel                     25 - 28 May

 

Six of us (the advance party) arrived at the hostel on a warm May evening ready for our Bank Holiday weekend and we gathered in anticipation to find out more about the walks that had been planned.

 

It was a weekend of contrasts - a hot and sunny start to heavy rain on Sunday - but all through lots of good walking.  On Friday we walked from the hostel onto the Monarchs Way.  We met up with two horse riders and their dogs - the dogs cooling off in a water trough (we were a bit envious!)  A farmer was keen to see if we put a foot out of place so he could tell us we were on the wrong footpath!  Then a battle with a field of oil seed rape and for some Amberley station was a welcome sight and an opportunity to return to Arundel to potter whilst the rest of us continued on our way.

 

That evening our numbers almost doubled as more came to join us for the weekend, and we had another briefing as Sarah gave us details of the walks planned for Saturday and Sunday.

 

The next day we had a good 11 mile walk, going into Arundel and on through Arundel Park and towards Amberley and Houghton with a mix of field and forest.  In the evening we all went out for a meal at the Black Rabbit having worked up a good appetite.

 

On Sunday we received a warm welcome from the Baptist church in Arundel who provided space for our wet weather gear and encouraged us in our walking as we left in the rain.  Lunch was a cosy affair as a church porch provided shelter from the rain and there was a lively discussion on the extent and quality of the rain - could it be described as drizzle, moderate, continuous, tipping it down?  But then it also gave us food for thought as one of the church notices posed the question 5 reasons for believing in God and 5 reasons for being a Christian.

 

By popular vote we went back to the Black Rabbit for another enjoyable evening.  Monday was departure day and farewells with many thanks to Sarah for her leading and organisation.

 

Leader:                     Sarah Risbridger

Report:                      Pat Fennell

 

 

Scottish Week         26 May - 2 June

 

To start the week we explored the Munros around Loch Ness for two days, staying at the Loch Ness Youth Hostel, which has stunning views of the Loch from the dining room.  Unfortunately Nessie turned out to be quite shy, and did not put in an appearance!  The weather held (sort of!) and we stayed reasonably dry on the hills.  Views from the tops were awesome under the overcast sky.  A beautiful double rainbow at Urquhart Castle reminded us of God’s promise to Noah after that first great flood.

 

Monday morning saw us heading to Torridon after replenisahing our supplies at Dingwall, and some even managed a coffee at Tesco’s.  Monday’s walk was short due to a late start, but was nonetheless strenuous, with just a little rain at the end of the walk.  The next two days were really wet with no chance of dry walks.  Some explored the nature reserve mountain trail at Beinn Eighe, while others went to Applecross with its heritage centre, or Munro bagging.  A group attempted Beinn Eighe, hoping for the 80% chance of clear tops, but were met with a downpour euphemistically called “precipitation”.  Some carried on to the top, to arrive back drenched.

 

Advantage was taken of the glorious sun of the next two days to cram in as many miles and feet of climb as possible.  The views from the tops really were stunning, reminding us of the Psalmist’s words: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”

 

All too soon the week was over, and we headed back to home and work after new friendships formed and old ones strengthened.  Thank you George for leading an unforgettable event.

 

Leader:                     George Clowes

Report:                      Adri Rossouw

 

 

Dolgellau                  24 - 28 May

May Bank Holiday

 

Cadair Idris is the second most popular Welsh mountain range after Snowdon and in the opinion of some guidebooks it benefits from finer views.  We had a taste of what was to come on the Friday taking the Pony Path veering right away from Cadair along the Newedd range, enjoying splendid views of the Mawddach Estuary.  The Saturday brought the, Cader for real, again starting with the Pony Track but veering left and upwards towards Llyn-y-Gadair.  The final ascent was a bit of a scramble over the steep stony scree but great fun and delightful when finally reaching the top.  Our effort was soon put into perspective when the runners for the annual Dolgellau to Cadair Idris race reached the top and hastily returned down the mountain.  This year’s winner (2007) was a Robert Richard from the Eryri Dark Club in a time of 1:26:21.  Absolutely amazing!  See www.cader-race.co.uk.

 

The Sunday took us to the other side of the mountain, starting from the Pen-y-Bont Hotel on the shore of lake Tal-y-Llyn.  Passing between the mountains to Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, a small village where a monument commemorates Mary Jones’s walk over Cadair to Bala, to purchase a Bible in Welsh.

 

The walks finished on the Bank Holiday Monday with the Precipices walk.  Between walks we enjoyed a meal together, lit and talked around a small bonfire enjoying baked potatoes and had a time of worship.

 

Very BIG THANKS! to Heather for all her hard work and for everyone who came on this weekend making it a memorable occasion.  Happy-snaps of the weekend can be found at: www.flickr.com/photos/marsbarone.

 

Leader:                     Heather Griffiths

Report:                      John D Marsden

 

 

Boggle Hole             25 - 29 May

 

Boggle Hole hostel is an old corn mill commanding a splendid view of the sea and surrounded by cliffs.  What a trek it was for 16 intrepid walkers to leave cars, walk down a steep country lane laden with luggage, and cross the beck via a wooden footbridge to reach it, to be greeted by friendly staff.

 

Walks included coastal paths with bracing climbs, undulations and spectacular views; a disused railway track - once the Whitby to Scarborough line; a nine mile circular walk centred round Heartbeat country which took in forest, Wheeldale Moor and a Roman road.  Highlights and scenic spots were captured by Ann, our official photographer.  The weather was, on the whole, kind to us.  Sunday was wet, but most of the party got drenched walking that extra mile to the teashop in Goathland.  A few folk dived into the Aidensfield pub and escaped the deluge.

 

We learned one true fact about each person by playing the True/False game, but it was sometimes hard to distinguish which statements were false.

 

The theme of our time of worship on Sunday was ‘bearing fruit’ (John 15); we all had a piece of fruit to enjoy.  We spent Monday morning in Whitby and visited St Mary’s church at the top of the 199 steps.  Two sets of keys were lost and found in one day.

 

Monday evening saw us in Robin Hood’s Bay where we rounded the event off with a meal at the Bay Hotel overlooking the sea.  Haddock cooked in beer batter is to be commended.

 

Thanks Kevin for organising the event.  We had a great time!

 

Leader:                     Kevin Prior

Report:                      Stephen Bennett

 

 

 

 

Islay                           2 - 9 June

Port Charlotte

 

How often do participants in a CRC event know the walks that are planned before the first day, including the category of every mountain, hill, and knoll that will be climbed?  Such was the organisation of our glorious leader; the weather as ever was less predictable.  The six souls who headed south from Torridon on Saturday already had first hand knowledge of the vagaries of Scottish weather, complete with sodden footwear and scorched necks!

 

At Oban we were joined by four more of the party, and a steady heavy rain that lasted for the next 48 hours, allegedly resulting in the highest rainfall ever recorded at Islay Airport.  Conditions underfoot for the rest of the week were to say the least, interesting.  After a stirring service led by the Interim Moderator in the Kilmore & Oban Church of Scotland, we met a couple of trusty birds on the esplanade before heading on to Kennacraig for the ferry to Islay.  Heather & Peter were already waiting in their caravan.

 

The first day’s walk on the Mull of Oa introduced us to the great variety of wildlife to be found on slay, but was little more than a taster of things to come.  With an expert guide in the shape of John Ashworth, and plenty of

binoculars amongst the group, ecological exhaustion by the end of the week.

 

Tuesday found us on the ferry to Jura for an assault on the Paps.  Unfortunately, as Pat found out after a little misunderstanding, the temporary ferry had room for only one lorry at a time.  While the hard party slogged their way along the path that Evans had ridden on his pony to the screes of Beinn Siantaidh, the moderate group made straight for the highest mountain on the two islands, the Corbett Beinn an Dir.  Here they found out in the mist that “an Dir” means in Gaelic “with an edge”, and not necessarily as the Corbett Almanac suggests “of Gold”.  The hard party passed them on their hasty retreat and pressed on to the summit along a broad ridge with a gentle slope including a path provided courtesy of the Ordnance Survey!  Highlights of the day included a massive herd of red deer silhouetted on the skyline, and a pair of hen harriers rising from their nest on a low crag as we forded a stream.  The incessant chattering of Chats began to get annoying in the heat and humidity.

 

The finest day was certainly Wednesday, with the whole group heading for Bagh an dà Dhoruis: the bay with a door.  The route lay over the back of a speckled cormorant, and through the pass of the west wind.  There we met with an adder and a large herd of brown and white goats, before descending onto a classic raised beach occupied by a newborn fawn.  After a scramble down to the real beach, George and Bernard took to the waves, but were ignored by the kelpies that basked on the reef off the shore.  Others took the chance to paddle, watch the parade of seabirds, or sleep in the sun!  The route off the beach up a broad grassy rake was a lot easier, and a long trudge back along a buggy track relieved by a close we were to encounter with a very friendly green lizard.

 

Thursday saw a divided party, with the hard men tackling Beinn a’ Chaolais, the third Pap of Jura, this time using the proper ferry.  Others headed for Lossit Bay, the spectacular Machir landscape near Loch Gorm, and the ‘Christian Land’ between Kilchiaran and Kilchoman.  Aptly enough the last day was spent on Beinn Bheigeir (The Vicar), the highest hill on slay.  While half the group pressed on over Glas Bheinn, the rest lazed about Claggain Bay watching gulls and a greedy seal feast on a vast shoal of fish.  To round off a near perfect week the resident otter put in an appearance just as we were about to leave.

 

A poignant reminder of our own mortality, and the sacrifices made by Christians of earlier generations was found in the American Memorial on the Mull of Oa and the Otranto War Grave at Kilchoman.  Next time you raise a glass of the original Islay Whisky (a 17 year old Bowmore single malt that comes highly recommended), let your toast and your prayers be for the sailors who gave their lives off the shores of this beautiful island in the Great War.

 

Leader:                     Andy Rook

Report:                      Bernard Spears

 

 

Wells-next-the-Sea:           15 - 17 June

Wildlife (South)

 

The promise of seeing orchids, avocets and natterjack toadsV) lured 12 of us to this Wildlife Event and we were not disappointed.  On Friday evening most of us enjoyed fish and chips by the quayside with views over bobbing yachts and dinghies in the harbour.  We then returned to the well- appointed and comfortable hostel for an illustrated talk on the history of the coastline and were briefed as to what we might expect to see over the weekend.

 

The next morning we set out for Holkham Beach, following the shoreline before heading for the dunes.  Here we spotted bee orchids and a profusion of beautiful southern marsh orchids as well as 7 spot burnet moths.  Burnham Overy Staithe was our lunch stop with coffee at The Hero Pub before we returned to Wells inland through a plantation of Corsican pines.  In the marshes we heard a chorus of natterjack toads, though none were seen.  We did see marsh harriers and a barn owl.  The evening was spent enjoying a meal in a local pub, playing Scrabble and watching the sun set over the sea.

 

Before attending the parish church, which is conveniently situated opposite the hostel, some of us made an earlier start on Sunday morning and visited a Celtic settlement (still under construction!).  After the service we made for Cley Marshes Nature Reserve with its commendably ‘green’ Visitor Centre.  It is run by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.  Avocets, marsh harriers, black-tailed godwits, little egrets, shelduck, Egyptian geese and greylag geese were just a few of the species we saw, as well as yellow horned poppies growing on the shingle bank.

 

It wasn’t easy to leave this beautiful and peaceful coastline to head for home and work the next day.  Many thanks to Sally for organising and leading such an interesting and enjoyable event.

 

Leader:                     Sally Clifton

Report:                      Mary Salter

 

 

Scilly Isles:               19 - 26 June

Like Cornwall but Windier

 

Intrepid ramblers spent as much time on water as land when exploring the Scilly Isles.  Expensive to get to and to stay on, we were however not disappointed.  It proved to be a fascinating place, full of exotic plants more commonly associated with the Canaries and New Zealand.  Wonderful sandy beaches and turquoise, blue and green seas.  Plenty of birds and plants to spot and educational too.  We now know the difference between the Mesolithic and Early Bronze Ages, cormorants and shags, and can spot a six spot burnet at 10 paces.  A lot of weather: enough sun to tempt us to paddle, enough breeze to make the boat journeys exciting and enough rain to know you are still in England.

 

The islands are delightful, with a wonderful community spirit, clusters of homes nestling in bays and hardly any cars.

 

For someone living alone, CRC holidays are the best.  Excellent company allows you to choose to share activities or do your own thing with freedom.  Friendships develop as we try to remember where we last met.  Sharing cooking, planning, shopping and washing up bind us together (is there a song there?!) and you really can cut a marshmallow tea cake into eight.

 

Thanks to Melanie from all of us for the planning and organising this lovely holiday.

 

Leader:                     Melanie Griffiths

Report:                      Linda Olivey

 

 

Bryn Gwynant         29 June - 1 July

or five wet walkers in Wales!

 

A small group of CRCers stayed in the comfortable Bryn Gwynant youth hostel in beautiful Snowdonia.  We had been allocated to the coach house rather than the main hostel and were able to take advantage of the self-

catering kitchen with its two fridges (when I arrived these were completely empty and less than half full over the entire weekend - an unheard of occurrence for a CRC event!).  The coach house also had the advantage of being away from the large school party in the main hostel but did mean those going for hostel meals or to the drying room had to go outside in the rain.  In fact rain was the main theme and constant of the weekend.

 

Despite pouring rain and a poor forecast we set off on the Saturday morning to ascend Snowdon via the scenic Watkin path (the path that includes the most ascent of all the main routes).  This started as a good path through some woods and then alongside a rushing stream, which quickly turned into various impressive waterfalls.  Due to the inclemency of the weather the views quickly disappeared and it became a baffle against the elements.  Having climbed for about 1¾ hours with the rain showing no signs of letup and being cold and wet-through we decided to abandon our bid for the summit and made our way back down again taking a partly alternative path along the old tramway.  We returned to the hostel and after a quick shower and change of clothes we enjoyed a dry and warm lunch in the comfort of the hostel lounge.  Thus suitably sustained, we ventured out again in the mid- afternoon to visit the Sygun copper mine where we donned our safety helmets and enjoyed a self-guided tour through the mine.  On emerging from the mine we were blessed with a brief spell of warm sunshine, but alas this lasted only a short while.  We finished our tour in time to catch the tea shop before it closed and also spent a few minutes browsing through its tiny but interesting museum.

 

Sunday dawned wet, but this time there were breaks in the rain, so after a short meditation in the hostel we set off from Beddgelert and walked along the Aberglaslyn valley.  Thwarted in our attempt to walk through the disused railway tunnel due to the presence of road works we instead took the Fisherman’s Path, which despite the dire warnings of it being a difficult path proved to be no match for our walking skills - though due to the rain the height of the river had impinged on the path in at least one place necessitating the taking of a higher route.  We walked over the hills and enjoyed spells of dryness and views and ended up walking past the Sygun copper mine before returning to Beddgelert.

 

Many thanks to Nick and Irene Singleton for organising the weekend and for their thoughtful adapting of activities and walks to make the best of the weather.

 

Leaders:                   Nick & Irene Singleton

Report:                      Susan Bradley

 

 

Llwyn y Celyn         5 - 8 July

 

For me, it was a really lovely break.

 

Looking across a wooded and hilly valley, hidden from the main road.  This hostel was our home for three nights, a quiet haven with house martins, flying to and from their nests.  A very warm welcome was received by all, from Nikki and Diana who led the weekend.  I met old friends and some new, twelve of us in all.

 

A long weekend’s walking without rain, between weeks of downpours: this was amazing!

 

Friday was a day to build one’s strength up for the following day (well for me anyway), led by Nikki.  We started from the mountain centre nearby, with a varied walk and by some lakes and moors, and seeing the Brecon Beacons from a distance, (and trying to decide which was Corn Ddu and Pen y Fan) and also the Usk valley, and I believe, some red kites.

 

Saturday, Diana led the Brecon Horseshoe walk (Corn Ddu, Pen y Fan, Cribyn, Fan y Big and the ridge back), which was carpeted in green, with beautiful clear views all around.  We also saw the Brecon ponies.  Apparently this walk was of 4,000 feet of ascent but it didn’t seem like that due to the gradual climbs.

 

We had good meals at the hostel in a convivial atmosphere (with other groups present) and then some were involved in evenings of Monopoly!

 

On Sunday we walked from the hostel to the hills behind and had stops for meditative readings and prayers.

 

Many, many thanks to Nikki Cope, Diana Hayes and all who contributed to a FAB weekend.

 

Leaders:                   Diana Hayes & Nikki Cope

Report:                      Daphne Stockwell

 

 

Helmsley                   6 - 8 July

 

An enjoyable time was had by all on a history-themed weekend at Helmsley, a good refurbished hostel.  Some of us had time to visit the castle before 16 of us set off to walk to Rievaulx Abbey on a sunny Saturday morning.  We arrived to lunch at the abbey picnic site before David guided us with information about the history of these beautiful ruins.  The few short showers did not dampen our enjoyment and the sun was well and truly out for our walk back.  Some engines from the Steam Fair Rally were in the town square to enliven our evening as we vent out for a meal together.

 

Sunday morning found us at Ripon Cathedral for morning service, then we went on to Fountains Abbey, another impressive ruin in a beautiful seffing.  After our picnic lunch at the visitor centre David again guided us round the site and on along woodland paths and through the water-gardens of Studley Royal Park.  Again we sheltered briefly from the few short showers and marvelled at the photos of the recent floods which had swept through the abbey.

 

Thank you, David Lambert, for all the information and preparations and choosing such beautiful visits.

 

Leader:                     David Lambert

Report:                      Maureen Davis

 

 

Keswick                    14 - 21 July

Convention Week

 

About 14 of us met in Keswick for the Convention combined with walking.  Most of the group stayed in two self- catering cottages and some in bed and breakfast accommodation, all conveniently situated near to the Convention Centre.

 

The theme this year was ‘Living in Outrageous Grace’ and the speaker at the morning meetings was Alec Motyer.  His talks were based on the book of Exodus.  There were various speakers at the evening celebrations and one evening meeting was recorded for the BBC Service broadcast on August 5th.  There were also seminars on a variety of issues held in various locations in Keswick.

 

All week there was an interactive mission exhibition entitled ‘Graceworks’, which demonstrated how grace is making a difference world-wide.  The ‘Prayer Tent’ was nearby with various rooms’ created to encourage prayer through creativity and reflection.

 

A variety of walks were ably led by Geoffrey, and Julie kindly led some lower level walks for those not quite so fit!  Among the many lovely views we had was a fantastic one coming down into Watendlath.

 

We had group meals in the evenings at the cottages and a group meal together on the final evening.

 

Thank you Geoffrey for organising the week and for letting us bed and breakfast ones have meals at the house.

 

Leader:                     Geoffrey Payne

Report:                      Marian Butchers

 

 

Brownilocks and    26 - 29 July

the 20 Bears! (Mary Jones Walkers)

 

Once upon a time, 23 members of the Christian Rambling Club from across the Nation, completed 26 miles of the Mary Jones walk from Abergynolwyn, back to Bala, over a three day break in fine sunshine, aptly staying at Bala-Backpackers, right beside the Thomas Charles Statue, who was so moved by Mary’s determination that it inspired him to form The British and Foreign Bible Society, still printing Bibles in many languages today.

 

It felt like Brownilocks (Christine Sherriff!) was leading her group of Bears through the woods in an enjoyable stretch of rugged and luscious passes between high mountains, on this three day linear walk.  The trail took us on a bus ride to the monument at the start, where we listened to Mary’s story in true CRC Sunday School style!  We passed a dead cow at the designated coffee stop!  Managed to lose a few members on the way, who wilted on this moderate listed walk!  But miraculously, soon all were present and correct at the delicious Welsh Tea.  Another miracle produced the evening meal, double helpings for all, and those up to it played Christine’s mime game.

 

Day 2 was the Biggy, as some of us fantasized about gaily skipping through a film set of Welsh Mountain backdrop, in Welsh tapestry shawls, along easy, but long, lanes with Cadair Idris remaining in glorious view for over 4 hours, as we remembered Mary’s mission.  Casualties included severely sunburned shins (!!), belly ache, head aches, and absence from a tumble the day before.  Our Swiss time-keeper (Stella) permitted sipping 3-4 mins on the hour, every hour, and like clockwork we arrived at our ETA.

 

Other treats included finding a replacement restaurant at no notice, diverting out of a storm-strewn forest, and bliss at last, sleeping on a hot beach, before joy of joys, steam puffing home along Bala Lake, to a prize- giving on the Sailing Club balcony.

 

No time to sing, but we raised £100 towards The Bible Society and we thanked God for fine days after a week of floods.

 

Leader:                     Christine Sherriff

Report:                      Stella Shaw


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