Friday 22nd March – Sunday 24th March, Tremadog, Llyen Peninsula, Snowdonia

Just like waiting the No.15 bus from East Ham to Ladbroke Grove in my youth (Editors Note; surely you mean a trolley bus it that was long ago!) you wait ages for one then two appear. So it is with SHOT. After celebrating Yvonne and Dave’s Big Four Zero last October another brace appear on the horizon. This time it is Neil (formerly known as “Young Neil”) and Sandra. There is quite a pronounced baby bulge going through the SHOT ranks at the moment

Tremadog is a small village situated beneath a line of cliffs, popular with crag rats, which was once an ancient coastline. It manages very successfully to escape all the crowds of tourists that flock to the attractions found at Porthmadoc barely a few hundred yards away. Apart from the two very good pubs found around the small market place - The Golden Fleece and the Union Inn – there is also the rather luxurious accommodation provided in the Snowdon Lodge Hotel. It is also called Lawrence House, named after D.E.Lawrence who was born here. He became better known as Lawrence of Arabia. If at some time in the future Neil becomes internationally famous, then I think unfortunately Postans of Oswestry will not have the same resonance in the film world.

Lawrence House has been completly filled by SHOT. So much so that Daniel and Ben have been volunteered by their parents to sleep on the floor, there are ten bedrooms. Also some very comfortable surroundings and facilities. A list will be emailed before the trip showing the best fit allocation for bodies. Someone may have the fortune or indeed misfortunate to sleep in the room where Lawrence was born. Perhaps Neil has ambitions of greatness and will find himself there. Lawrence House is very easy to find as it is effectively the first house on the right (near a lamp post) coming into Tremadoc on the A487 from Porthmadoc. Just beyond is the church (also on the right) and then the centre of the village at the market place.

There is a wealth of things to do. The best walking is found around Cwn Pennant just to the north of Tremadog. Further afield at Beddgelert the higher peaks of Snowdonia can be accessed. Sections of the Llyen Peninsula Costal Path can be walked using the main railway line or bus service to complete linear sections. Devotees of steam railways will naturally gravitate to Porthmadoc which is the terminus of two narrow gauge railways – the Welsh Highland Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway. Both Harlech and Criccieth have castles to explore for the historians, while the Italianate village of Porteirion will give fans of the cult TV series “the Prisoner” for the chance to find where No. 6 actually lived. Industrial archaeologists will target the slate mining industry around Blaneau Ffestiniog. As for the rest of the group under the age of 12 sand, sea and candyfloss can be found at Criccieth, Pwllheli, Lanbedrog and Abersoch.

Friday 21 – Sunday 23 June 2013, Llanrwst, Conwy Valley, Snowdonia

Wet, windy weather has blighted many of the mid-summer trips in recent years. Cynwyd, Langdale and Aberllefenni spring readily to mind. The previous trip to Llanrwst was in October one year, and on that occasion serious flooding occurred in the Conwy Valley. So taking everything into consideration the chances of this happening again must be quite remote – the law of averages, etc. So an excellent warm, sunny weekend is long overdue.

Timbo has once again managed to book the Barclays Bank Fell Walking Club Hut at Llanwrst. This has 34 beds. Three bedrooms have beds (1x4, 1x6 and 1x8). Another room has 6 sleeping places on alpine sleeping shelves, as does the attic which has 10 sleeping places in similar fashion. One brilliant and courageous idea would be to put all the shotlets in there – must be space for a good 16 in there (Editors Note; and maybe Gus as the supervising adult?). It may be possible to also book one of the 6 bed flatlets that are available, depending on the popularity of this trip. The hut comes fully equipped with all the usual facilities. The only drawback being that despite the close proximity of the pubs in Llanrwst, on our last visit all of them were very Welsh and unappealing. Make sure you a sleeping bag for this trip. The post code for the Cae Groes Hut is LL26 0SD. It is situated on the south side of Llanrwst, andthe key to getting there is the railway bridge across the A470 (T) on this side.

For those people coming up from the south (Betws-y-Coed, Llanngollen, etc) you enter Llanrwst passing about 250 yards of the first houses. You reach a junction at a slight left hand bend just before the railway bridge. Turn right and then immediately right again (only 5 yards) onto the B5427. This is Nebo road. Go down here for approx half mile, and immediately before the high chain link fence of the Leisure Center turn left up Cae Groes drive to the hut. For those people driving up the Conwy Cae Groes Hut valley on the A470 (T) from Llandudno Junction and Colwyn Bay, you must first of all drive through the centre of Llanrwst itself, perhaps noticing the River Conwy on the right, before reaching the railway bridge, and then the junction with the B5427. Drive straight across the junction into Nebo Road and follow until you reach Cae Groes as mentioned above. The main walking opportunities are found across the Conwy Valley on the Carneddau Mountains. Several small valleys come down the nort-east flanks giving a chance for pocket sized horseshoe walks or more demanding high level ridge walks. There is a particular attractive landscape of oaks woods and lakes at a lower altitude either side of Betws-y-Coed. Hordes of tourists flock here to visit the famous Swallow Falls, while the resident shopkeepers will do their best to sell you outdoor gear, ice cream or afternoon tea. For those people with a Rail card then the stunning train ride up to Blaneau Ffestiniog opens up even more opportunities for exploration. And then if it does end up raining on the off chance, then people can escape to the coast at Conwy, Llandudno and Colwyn Bay

Please send the usual £ 5 deposit to Gustav to secure a bed or two.

Friday 18th – Sunday 20th October 2013, Great Hucklow – Peak District

There is a steady stream of people confessing to yet another birthday or even having a ‘special’ one coming up. Perhaps folk have got used to the regularity of these events. The latest to join the Merrie Band is Jean who will be hoping to celebrate her 59+1 birthday. She will be Queen for the day, and like the QE2 herself, her official birthday will be later in October. The nearby pub is even named after a queen.

Great Hucklow is one of a cluster of small villages in the northern part of the White Peak between the honey pots of Castleton and Bakewell. The Foundry Adventure Centre is found in the centre of the village. It has two self catering units in one building. We have booked the ground floor Kinder Unit. It is a convenient large size in a good location, but to be brutally honest, a bit expensive for what it offers. There are 31 beds at £19 per night. Ouch! I have booked it for just 27 people (NB if anyone asks we are only 27 in number) and SHOT funds have brought the price down to a realistic £15 per night. There are 5 rooms (1x2, 1x3, 2x8 and 1x10) but make sure you bring a sleeping bag. We have filled our unit with Andy, Bernie and Timbo reluctantly offering to have B&B at teh nearby Queen Anne. Any late bookers can try Youth Hostel accommodation at nearby Eyam or Losehill Hall near Castleton. Central heating is only on for a short time each day (we pay for extra hours!!) but we should be able to survive with the wood burning stove. Finding the centre is easy. Get yourself to the queen Anne in Great Hucklow. Keep the pub on your left and 50 yards later turn right on a gravel track to find the centre after another 50 yards.

There are many walks from the doorstep offering a good mixture of limestone scenery, dry dales, baby ridge walks, pockets of moorland and river valleys. The Monsal Dale cycle track was fully opened this year and has proved to be an immediate success. All the railway tunnels have been opened with illumination. It is about 10 miles long with a plethora of tunnels, cuttings and bridges/viaducts with some excellent view points. Yes, enjoy Monsal Dale and the Wye valley while it lasts before the superb woodlands are decimated by ash dieback. Castleton offers show caves, castle and Blue John jewellery shops, and Bakewell is full of tarts. Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall are also well worth a visit.

For those very few people who like pubs and beer, apart from the Queens Head and the Bulls Head in Foolow, there are some which are searching out for different reasons. Try the Three Stag’s Head in Wardlow Mires, the Packhorse in Little Longstone, the Stables Bar at Monsal Head and the red Lion in Litton. Unfortunately, the Old Bulls Head in Little Hucklow, which had a room built into a cave is now a private house. Bakewell is home to the excellent range of beers brewed by Thornbridge (try their Jaipur) and Abbeydale from Sheffield (try their Absolution or Moonside) is usually on at the Three Stag’s Head. How much will Queen Jean and Prince Chris indulge? We have had a good mileage out of Chris and the Enoch’s hammer story, so we need a new one.

Please send the usual £ 5 deposit to Gustav to secure a bed or two if you are a late booker.