Friday 18th – Sunday 20th March 2016, Pendle Witch Country, Lancashire
Ostensibly, Nessie was on official rat catching duties for Ribble District Council when she had to carry out an inspection on the Girl Guide's Activity Centre at Waddow Hall. Or she just may have been checking out her antecedents! This part of Lancashire became notorious in 1612 when 9 women originating from this area plus another unfortunate one from St Helens were hung at Lancaster for being witches. Whether or not Nessie discovered any family connection with Alizon Devize, Anne Nutter, Demdike and co remains to be seen, but a black and white print of the Lancaster gallows scene does perhaps show a possible resemblance! Any strange noises and happenings during our stay should be reported to her as she found this venue for us.
Waddow Hall is a well known Girl Guides Activity Centre which, within its grounds, has for us some suitable accommodation. The Adventure House sleeps 30 people in 8 bedrooms (6x4 and 2x3 beds) and the nearby Rose Cottage No 1 has an additional 4 beds. Both buildings have the usual facilities, but please bring sleeping bags. The extensive grounds also offer tree climbing, abseiling, grass sledging and tunneling for children, but do need to be booked in advance. It is short walk up the road to Waddington and its 3 pubs for evening refreshments. The Waddington Arms and Higher Buck in the centre of the village are obvious, but the Lower Buck Inn (owned by the Waddington Hospital Trust) behind the church is the better one. All 3 pubs are expected to be busy.
Pendle Hill dominates the area and offers an obvious challenge, The Forest of Bowland and its moorland provides a stiffer challenge further to the north. Walk along the Ribble Way to Sawley and see what the owner of the Boundary Mill shopping centres can do with £11 million rebuilding Sawley Lodge. The stone cladding alone is reported to have cost £1 million. The small Swan with Two Necks pub in Pendleton was voted CAMRA's National Pub of the Year in 2014 and will be a target for some people, while Julian will no doubt be on a shopping expedition to Clitheroe. Byrne's Wine Merchants, Cowman's Sausage shop, the Ale House micro pub, a nearby specialist shoe seller, and a Rohan shop slightly further afield, are attractions if bad weather precludes. Nessie may be carrying out further research on her family tree. Any Lord of the Rings fans can also indulge themselves in seeking out elements of the surrounding countryside as Tolkien is reputedly to have based his fictitious Middle Earth Kingdom on the area.
Waddow Hall is very easy to find as it is lies midway between Clitheroe and Waddington on the B6478. Enter the centre of Clitheroe and find signs for Waddington. The B4678 goes underneath the railway bridge near the station and within half a mile crosses the River Ribble. Shortly after a left bend take the first access road on the left to Waddow Hall and drive through the grounds to the main buildings. The Adventure House should be well signed. If you miss the entrance and end up in Waddington village then double back and try again. Gustav expects to be the first person there.
Please send the usual £ 5 deposit to Gustav to secure a bed or two if you are a late booker.
Friday 17th – Sunday 19th June 2016, Llanberis, Snowdonia
Whether or not it was rumours of a special offer on Double Egg and Chips at Pete's Eats or a free bell if you bought a pair of extra streamlined super durable, bespoke rubber tyres for push bikes at the Framed Bicycle Shop in Llanberis we have Andy to thank for finding the venue for our June trip
The Bryn Du Mountain Centre is a well appointed activity centre in a converted Victorian house close to the centre of Llanberis operated by Boulder Adventures (www.Boulderadventures.co.uk). During the week they organise courses for various organisations and schools, but at weekends its self catering accommodation is available for groups such as ours. We have booked 28 beds which all have bedding and are in relatively small rooms consisting of 1x1 bed, 2x4 beds, 3x6 beds and 1x8 beds. The observant amongst you will notice that the beds total 35, so if we exceed the booked number we shall have to pay for extra bodies as the bedding will have been used.
Dominating Llanberis is the Snowdon Massif which can be accessed directly from the Centre. A multitude of walking routes of varying difficulties can be attempted. Across Lylyn Peris lake the Glyders Group of mountains form more of a linear challenge. There is enough interest right right on our doorstep to keep most people happy. Inclement weather may entice people to visit the Electric Mountain of Elidir Fawr or the Padarn Country Park with its very interesting slate museum and narrow guage steam railway. Parents with bored or disinterested offspring should distract them from the possibility of going up the very expensive Snowdon Mountain Railway. Alternatively, you could join Andy on his shopping expedition or help him find a good location for his memorial bench affording a good view of hills he used to ascend in his youth.
Bryn Du is very easy to to find. Most people will approach Llanberis from the North Wales Expressway (A55) from Bangor. Follow the B4547 and join the A4086 two miles from Llanberis. Ignore this road as it bypasses Llanberis alongside Llyn Padarn lake and follow the old road into the centre of Llanberis. Proceed down the High St passing Pete'e Eats on the left at the junction with Market St and Goodman St. Take the next right near Crib Goch Outdoor World down Snowdon St. At the far end is Ty Du Road. Turn right and Bryn Du Mountain Centre is found shortly on the left. If you see the Framed Bicycle Shop and Joe Browns Outdoor Shop you have missed Snowdon St, so turn back and try again, All those coming from the south via the A5 and A4086 should enter Llanberis just past the Snowdon Mountain Railway Station and locate Snowdon St on the left having passed Joe Browns and the pushbike shop. Users of Sat Navs use the postcode LL55 4HE.
Bwlch, Usk Valley, South Wales - 14-16 October 2016
For many people the Welsh word 'bwlch' brings back memories of a different kind. To some people what was a promising easy crossing through a pass from one valley to another recalls slogging across a boggy morass. Whilst to others it is a welcome discovery when doing a ridge walk and a low point appears out of the mist just where it should be. But for some locals living in the Usk Valley it is their home.
The A40 road from Abergavenny to Brecon follows the River Usk quite closely, but at one point an area of high ground protrudes into the valley from the north forcing the road up to 600ft before it descends back down towards Brecon. Here lies the village of Bwlch, which when viewed from above looks vaguely Alpine . It used to have 3 pubs, but the New Inn remains with the Star Bunkhouse conveniently just across the road.
The Star Bunkhouse has 20 beds complete with bedding and the usual amenities. This will be ideal for all the family groups. The New Inn also has bunkbed accommodation and two rooms (4 beds each) have been booked for most of the childless adults. There are no cooking facilities. However a continental breakfast comes in the £22 overnight fee. Having stayed there once this small friendly pub is perfectly suitable, although some pre- planning may be required for the Saturday night evening meals.
Getting to Bwlch (LD3 7RQ) is very straight forward indeed. Follow the A40 west from Abergavenny towards Brecon passing through Crickhowell. Five miles later the road begins its ascent towards Bwlch after a right hand bend. The first houses of Bwlch will be seen at the next left hand bend. Shortly afterwards the Star Bunkhouse will be seen on the right hand side of the the road in the centre of the village with the New Inn diagonally opposite on the left. The A40 road can be a very busy road during the daytime, but in the evening it quitens down considerably.
Walking opportunities will be focused on the Brecon Beacons escarpment which dominates the Usk Valley. Various interesting horseshoe routes can be devised. Easier ambitions can be fulfilled around Llangorse Lake, the Talybont Reservoir or along the Monmouthsire and Brecon Canal. There will be enough variety to suit most people's taste.
To book a place please contact Gustav with the usual deposit.
Christmas trip - Tenerife, 2-5th December 2016
Winter Sun, volcanos and beer what more could you ask for! Contact Mark or Tim for more details.