Friday 18th- Sunday 20th October 2019 Ribblehead, Yorkshire Dales

Portillo and Ashton are not two names that the majority of people would automatically associate with Ribblehead, and the Carlisle and Settle Railway. Michael Portillo regards his greatest achievement as a politician (Minister for Transport) in safeguarding the future of England's finest scenic railway (with its engineering marvels) through the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Judging by the popularity of the route at present with its increased train frequency and higher passenger numbers he has been totally vindicated. Indeed, it is hard to imagine that this railway line had ever been endangered with closure.

Meanwhile, Michael Ashton contributed to its fame in his own inimitable way as a young, energetic student on a SUHC weekend trip to the Yorkshire Dales. One of his finest moments came when he whimped out of a walk at Ribblehead (to be fair this may have been a rather ambitious winter Three Peaks Walk). On arriving at the Station Inn at Ribblehead he decided it would be best to save his sinews and get the next train to Horton-in-Ribblesdale where he could rejoin the others and then get a lift in the minibus back to where SUHC were staying. This happened to be the bunkhouse NEXT to the Station Inn where he had spent the previous night drinking. Our own Seeley the Sage may well recall if conditions at the time were foggier than Mashy was!

The Station Inn Bunkhouse is rather cheap and basic, so fear not, SHOT are not paying it a return visit. Instead, we are relocating to Gearstones Lodge which is just one mile away. This was once the Gearstones Inn which morphed into a Shooting Lodge for the local landlord. In 1972 it was purchased by the good folk of Mirfield, West Yorkshire who now run it as a Charity, with a booking secretary who is a rather elusive fella. Despite its appearance and isolated location it seems to have all the expected facilities including an LPG gas central heating system. There is also an 'Education Unit' in an Annex which has Table Tennis, and a Pool Table with only a single cue. Sleeping accommodation is on the First Floor and consists of 8 rooms (1x2, 3x4, 3x6 and 1x8 beds each). 25+ beds have been booked by SHOT so we do not have to worry about the empties. Views from the main lounge French windows of Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent are described as being spectacular. Please bring Sleeping Bags and/or covers for the matttresses.

The Dales Way and Ribble Way Long Distance Paths cross the B6255 adjacent to Gearstones Lodge giving immediate access to an archetypical Yorkshire Dales landscape. The mountains of Whernside and Ingleborough are blindingly obvious targets close at hand. A strongly recommended traverse of Ingleborough from Horton-in -Ribblesdale north-eastwards from the summit along the ridge over Simon Fell and then a long descent gives a truly spectacular view of the Ribblehead Viaduct and the railway line as it winds its way through the hills. Adventurous folk could also consult the timetable and perhaps take the train northwards and explore further afield.

Despite its isolated location Gearstones Lodge is very easy to find. It even has an equally easy Grid Reference (SD 780800). First of all get to the Station Inn at Ribblehead Station which is near the junction of the B6255 and B6479. The B6255 goes from Ingleton to Hawes. From the junction continue towards Hawes into the blackness and wildness of deepest Yorkshire for barely one mile until you come to the first large building on the right hand side of the road. This is Gearstones Lodge. Park sensibly off the road outside behind the white lines. Do not disturb the occupants of the house next door, who are probably fed up with groups asking if they are in the right place

Please send Gustav a deposit of £ 5 to book a bed.

Friday 14th- Sunday 16th June 2018 Velindre, Brecon Beacons

Mountain ponies and horses are an alternative income source for many farms in the Black Mountains with its open moorland and connecting bridleways ideal for organised pony trekking. The Black Mountains rise to over 2000ft and consist of 4 ridges divided by 3 valleys. These join a long escarpment on the north-west side overlooking the Wye Valey and Mid-Wales with the interesting top of Lord Hereford's Knob as a feature.

Tregoyd Mountain Riders is based at Lower Cwmcadarn Farm just outside the village of Felindre (aka Velindre) within sight of Lord Hereford's Knob. Cadarn Bunkhouse is on the farm and consists of the Old Stables and the Tack Room. SHOT has booked the Old Stables. This has all the usual facilities with 4 bedrooms of 8 beds each. The Tack Room will be available for our use if numbers reach or excede 32 people.

Footpaths lead direct from the farm to Lord Hereford's Knob and the escarpment whereby circuits can be made left or right to include going up and down one or two of the ridges. Alternatively explore the Wye Valley by canoe, bike or even horseback if you so wish.

Lower Cwmcadarn Farm (GR 191356) is situated less than one mile from the village of Velindre and The Three Horseshoes. There are several approaches available. However, for those arriving from the north, they must first of all get to Hay-on-Wye and take the B4350 towards Glasbury and the A438. Just beyond the last houses take the first narrow lane on the left which, in order, goes past the hamlets of Llanigon, Ffordd-las and Tregoyd to reach the Three Horseshoes on the village green after about 3 miles. Turn left here through the first part of Velindre, ignore the minor road on the right after 200m and continue into the second main part of this very small village on a dead end road. This rises steeply for 400m to reach a track junction just as the road finishes. Turn left down the gravel drive to Lower Cwmcadarn Farm. For those coming from the South they must get to Abergavenny and continue beyond Crickhowell on the A40 to reach the A479 going to Talgarth. Then take the A4078 for one mile towards Three Cocks, Glasbury and Hay-on-Wye, and turn right on a minor road signposted Velindre and Hay-on-Wye to reach The Three Horseshoes from the opposite direction - so turn right here instead for the bunknbarn.

Please send Gustav a deposit of £ 5 to book a bed.

Friday 15th- Sunday 17th March 2019 Wirksworth, Derbys

At first glance Wirksworth may not seem to be the obvious choice for SHOT's inaugural urban weekend venue. There are scores of towns in Britain that remain unknown and seldom visited by the vast majority of people seemingly unaware of their attractions. The historic market town of Wirksworth is such a place. Situated barely two miles outside the south east boundary of the Peak District tourists drive relentlessly up the A6 through the Derwent Valley intent on reaching the delights of Matlock, Bakewell, Chatswoth House and then perhaps the rest of the National Park.

The Glenorchy Centre in the centre of Wirkswoth belongs to the local United Reformed Church. It is well equipped consisting of 4 bedrooms (1x12,1x8,1x4 and 1x2 beds) with bedding. There is a main hall (with snooker and table tennis tables, and a stage), dining room, kitchen and 2 washing blocks for ablutions. Push bikes can be easily stored in the main hall.

Limestone quarrying was the main industry during the 18th and 19th centuries so it is not surprising that the National Stone Centre is situated on the edge of town. But this is not the only thing to excite those interested in industrial archaeology. Sir Richard Arkwright's mill on the River Derwent at nearby Cromford is a Unesco World Heritage Site, as it is a fore runner of a 'manufactory' complex. The partially restored Cromford Canal has the Lea Wood Pump House. At the adjacent High Peak Junction an inclined plane was built for an early tramway up towards Middleton Top and then across the Peak District to Whaley Bridge. This route was one of the first rail routes to be converted to a pedestrian/cycle way- bikes can be hired at Middleton Top for care free cycling through the White Peak on the High Peak and Tissington Trails. The National Tramway Museum and its working street trams at nearby Crich is well worth a visit. The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway is a relatively new heritage railway operating vintage diesel services between Wirksworth and Duffield. For the corresponding weekend in 2018 it had a 'special events' day. Unfortunately the Steeple Grange Light Railway near the National Stone Centre does not have open days until Easter. There is also a good Lead Mining Museum at Matlock Bath. However, SHOTlets may be more excited by Gulliver's Kingdom and the cable car at the Height's of Abraham just down the road.

Just a short drive from Wirksworh takes you into the White Peak and pleasant walking. A circuit including Carsington Water and a detour to the excellent Olde Gates Inn, Brassington is an idea. Alternatively a foray south to the Barley Mow at Kirk Ireton is a possibility. However, the Holly Bush Inn, Makeney is an absolute gem not to be missed by anyone who appreciates a classic boozer with excellent beer.. Alternatively, the Ecclesborne Way is a 11 mile waymarked route (see the website) linking Duffield with Wirksworth thus enabling a train ride with a walk.

The Glenorchy Centre, Chapel Lane, DE4 4FF is in the centre of Wirksworth. Drive to the Market Place with its pubs. Alongside the Red Lion is Coldwell Lane (B5035) which leads downhill to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Station. The second street on the left is Chapel Lane. The three storey red brick building which looks like a sort of chapel/school is the Glenorchy Centre. There is no good on-street parking so the most convenient place is a small car park in the street behind the Centre ie the first street on the left coming down from the Red Lion. Overnight parking is available here for the princely sum of £ 2.

NO spare places are available- we are now fully booked.