Since we've been to the western side of Scotland for the last three New Year trips I decided that it was time we headed a bit further east - and nottoo far north - so this year's trip is to a bunkhouse called the Adventurers Escape in Weem, less than a mile outside Aberfeldy in Perthshire.
The dates are 27th Dec 2004 - 2nd Jan 2005, 6nights (Mon. 3rd will be a public holiday since the
1st falls on a Saturday).
You can find full details of the accommodation at http://www.adventurers-escape.co.uk and www.hostel-scotland.co.uk/hostels/, but here are the vital statistics: o Comfortable new bunkhouse (just completed in January) with a dining area big enough to comfortably seat 20, and, according to www.canoeslalom.co.uk, "great drying rooms and excellent facilities" o Dorms in bunkhouse (all described as very spacious): 2 x 4-5 beds; 1 x 8 beds; 1 x 2- 3 beds (2-3 means a double and a single) o Additional accommodation (but unfortunately no separate kitchen facilities) available in studio: 1 x 3-4 beds and 1 x 3 beds - good for families. o Pub next door and another 400m away, not to mention the wider choice in Aberfeldy Besides the obvious mountain walking, the area is good for rafting, mountain and road biking, canoeing and rock climbing. Local attractions for the less energetic among us include the Scottish Crannog Centre (a reconstructed Iron Age dwelling), Castle Menzies, the village of Fortingall, the Falls of Moness, Aberfeldy Distillery, a restored water mill and Cluny Gardens. (I can't guarantee that these will all be open when we're there though!) Pitlochry is only eight miles away, Crieff 17 and the relative metropolis of Perth 23. The accommodation is perhaps a little on the pricey side, as bunkhouses go, but we are getting six nights for the price of five and studio beds, usually more expensive, for the same price as bunkhouse beds. It's £75 per person for 6 nights over New Year or £15 per night if you don't stay for the entire duration. Price includes bed linen. I did try to negotiate an additional discount for children but unfortunately wasn't successful, as each one still takes up a bed (unless in a travel cot). At the last count I had a total of roughly 20 people who said they were more likely than not to come along, including most of our family members. Please email or call me (email@example.com / home 0121 744 2427 / mobile 07720 707749) to confirm your interest; a £20 deposit sent to me at 269 Baldwins Lane, Birmingham B28 0RF will secure a bed. Families might want to get in quickly with those deposits to make sure you get the best rooms for your needs! I've already had to put down a £300 deposit and the balance is due by December 1st so I'll be looking for payment in full before then. For those who want more general local information, try these sites:
Friday 18th March- Sunday 20th March Bamford, Peak District Guy Gibson and his Lancaster Bombers made this area famous just over 60 years ago when they used the nearby Derwent Dams in training for the famous Dam Busting raids in the Ruhr Valley of Germany during the Second World War. Much has changed since then including the addition of another dam for the Ladybower Reservoir and the creation of Britain's first National Park, the Peak District.
Bamford in the Hope Valley, lying immediately to the south, is the location of the Spring SHOT trip. We shall be staying in two bunkhouses belonging to a working farm prosaically named 'The Farm' in the centre of Bamford. The Homestead Bunkhouse has accommodation for 22 people in three bedrooms (2x6 and 1x10), a well equipped kitchen, large day room with oak seating and adequate washroom facilities. The Cheese House Bunkhouse is a small self-contained bunkhouse sleeping four with a kitchen and washing facilities.
Getting to the bunkhouse is very easy. Bamford village is situated on the A6013 a short length of main road connecting the A57 Sheffield-Manchester road at Ladybower Reservoir and the A625 Sheffield-Castleton road through the Derwent Valley. Whichever route is taken into the village, you will either pass a pub called The Angler's Rest or Ye Derwent Hotel, both of which lie on the same side of the road. Between the two on a bend on the opposite side of the road as it twists its way through is the village shop. Turn down the road immediately alongside the shop a short distance to 'The Farm'. Anybody seeing both pubs has missed it! Bamford Station on the Manchester-Sheffield railway line has a frequent service and is only a ten minute walk away.
Stepping stones across the River Derwent at the bottom of the village give immediate access to the lower slopes of Win Hil1, a notable viewpoint and starting point for the northern half of the Edale Skyline walk.
Bamford Edge and Moors to the east are recently opened access lands opening out onto the famous brimstone climbing areas of Stanage Edge. Upper Derwent Dale and its reservoirs, Derwent Edge, Bleaklow and the Snake Pass are a short drive to the north, whilst Edale and especially Castleton, the local tourist honey pot, will provide alternative money-spending opportunities. Cycle hire is available at Fairholmes near the Derwent Reservoir for a particularly attractive traffic-free route around the reservoirs which may appeal to parents trying to do-energise their offspring. Please send the usual £ 5 deposit to Gustav to book a place.
Back to school with a vengeance for the summer solstice sojourn. The Old School in Hardraw, known as Harris House, has been converted to a small field study centre by Manchester's William Hulme's Grammar School. Our visit will be preceded by a stay from the Grammar School's Pet Club a.k.a the Biology Dept. Hopefully, all signs of dissected frogs, worms and creepy crawlies will have been removed on our arrival.
Harris House, as a former village school and headmaster's house, is a Grade II listed building. Improvements and/or alterations have been ongoing since a major refurbishment in 1992. The current leaflet mentions all the usual expected facilities as well as a games room with a small snooker table and table tennis table. The size of the sleeping accommodation has recently been downsized from 40 and now consists of 6 bedrooms (3x8 and 3x2 beds) totally 30. Please bring a sleeping bag.
Once again the bunkhouse is very easy to find. First of all locate Hawes in Upper Wensleydale. Drive north across the River Ure on the road for Thwaite and Swaledale. It bears left at a T-junction and when it turns right to go uphill to the Buttertubs Pass continues along the dale bottom to quickly enter Hardraw. Go past the Green Dragon inn on the right, cross the bridge over Hardraw Beck and then turn immediately right into the school playground used as a car park. Hardraw is newt much more than a hamlet, but manages to be visited by thousands of people each year.
One of England's highest waterfalls, Hardraw Force in its natural amphitheater, is situated close nearby and accessed through the Green Dragon. Kevin Costner plunged into its pool in a scene from his film 'Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves'. The Pennine Way starts its long drag up Great Shunner Fell from Wensleydale immediately alongside Harris House, en route for Thwaite and Swaledale. This may be used by some of the group, but a short drive over the Buttertubs Pass into Swaledale or westwards into Garsdale will provide alternative walking opportunities. Wensleydale itself is at this point broad and relatively undemanding. Hawes, the capital of the dale, is barely a mile across the river on the Pennine Way and apart from Wallace and Gromit Cheese entertains multitudes of visitors with all its attractions. Please send the usual £5 deposit to Gustav to book a place.
This trip is now fully booked, but details of finding the hostel can be found at; http://www.llysednowain.co.uk/index_files/Page460.h tm If you are interested in still coming along then I am sure there will any number of local Bed and Breakfast open for business. The area longs for the exploring of the nearby Rhinog Mountains, offering the toughest hill walking in England and Wales – a fractured and convoluted landscape. Rhinog Fach and Rhinog Fawr are the two highest and more accessible peaks in the centre, with Diffwys and its ridge the easiest at the southern end. The Rhobells, are somewhat protected by forests, and the Arenigs lie to the east. Unfortunately the popular Roman Steps and Cwn Bychan are awkwardly placed in the Rhinogs from the Trawsfyndd side. Nearby attractions include Ffestiniog Railway, Harlech Castle, Port Merion or those feeling brave and warm the nudist beach at Morfa Dyffryn.
The french riveria, hopefully some good weather - warmer that our last few trips some luxury in our top hotel and the lure of Monaco and its glamour just down the road should make for a top trip.
Spring 05 Newsletter
Autumn 05 Newsletter
Winter 05 Newsletter