February 1997

Hi everyone, here we go again!

First let's cover the October trip to Eskdale in the Lakes. We were staying

in the Eskdale Centre, a bunkhouse we've used before, close to Dalegarth

station (end of the Ravenglass & Eskdale railway) & the village of Boot.

Found a new pub with a climbing wall in the corridor, and many happy hours

were spent in that establishment - a lot of them well after 11pm. The

weather was reasonable on Saturday (dry, at least) so the walking wasn't

bad. Sunday was a washout, which meant a trip to Sellafield. We recruited

a new SHOT member on that weekend: Jeff Kuo, who's now living near

Whitehaven and working at Sellafield.

I've had my wrists slapped by Big Mike for not mentioning his epic walks in

the last newsletter (it might have helped if I'd been told about them - I do

my best but I'm not psychic!) so here's the low-down (largely in Mike's own


South West Coast Path: 594 miles, the longest path in the UK, walked in

July/August. During the walk Mike spent 38 days as "a gruesome skinhead

with daft beard". Highlights: "effortlessly gliding over sunsoaked Cornish

cliffs, and slogging my way up a 12 mile pub crawl along the English Riviera

with Neil".

Ridgeway: 85 miles, achieved by Mike, Neil & Mark Hows over 4 days in August

(apparently it took Gustav 4? days when he did it). Mike's description:

"Absolutely knackered & frequently drunk. Great if you like burial mounds,

stones and endless tyre ruts."

Final report: the New Year trip, organised by Mark Hows. We went (I

believe) further north than ever before, all the way up to a region called

Assynt in Sutherland, 1.5 hours north-west of Inverness. And I think

everyone would agree that it was well worth the journey. We had the best

weather in the country - cold at night, but sunny virtually every day, while

most of Britain was buried under snow and suffering from frozen pipes

(remember last New Year trip?) - and the scenery was brilliant, and very

different to the usual Highland scenery. The paths were a bit icy though!

The hostel, only open since last June, was a real find too. The pub

opening hours were a bit erratic, as the place was about to change hands,

but that wasn't a major problem since most people had brought supplies

anyway. There were some original costumes for James Bond theme night on

Hogmanay, the most daring probably being Darren's towel and shaving foam &

not a lot else (think of the scene with the snake in the bath). Of course

there were several water pistols in evidence, some more in evidence than

others (especially Nick's, when George and Cissy, the children of one of the

hostel owners, got their hands on it!). For a couple of nights over New

Year a large group descended on us from Aberdeen, but for the rest of the

time we had most of the hostel to ourselves. Purely by chance, members of

our group bumped into Eric Varley, ex of SUHC, on two occasions - he

happened to be staying at Lochinver with another group. Small world...

That's the recent events covered; now onto the forthcoming ones:

As most people will probably know by now, the first SHOT baby is on its way:

Fiona is due to give birth on April 1st. She decided against coming on the

New Year trip - understandable when exertion and alcohol are both taboo - so

Nick came along on his own, leaving wife & bump at home. Apparently no name

has been selected as yet (Nick's comment was, "If Fiona can produce the

thing, she can call it what she likes!") but the bump is currently known as

Horace, if I remember rightly, so it might be wise to offer a few

suggestions to save the poor child from being lumbered with that name for


[Spoke to Gus on 19th March - no news as yet...]

Still in a similar vein, we have another wedding coming up this summer: John

(Geaney) and Jill (Kirk) are getting married in Neston, the Wirral, on June

7th. John's stag do, organised by Mashy, will take place two weeks before

the wedding and the last I heard was that it's likely to be to Amsterdam.

Most of you will have received a mailing from Chris Hesketh a few months ago

regarding the trip he's organising to La Santa, a sports complex in

Lanzarote, for the end of April. It's probably far too late to sign up now,

but I'm sure Chris would be happy to hear from you if you'd be interested in

going along another time or if you want further details on the resort.

The next SHOT weekend is fairly early this year - 28th February to 2nd

March, less than 4 weeks from now - and it's to Rosedale on the North York

Moors. The cost will probably be less than ?10. Deposits (?5) to Gus as

usual please!

I'm organising another "dirty weekend" in the spring, probably the second

weekend in May, but the dates haven't yet been confirmed & so it could be

the last weekend in April. This time we're staying in a village hall near

Cirencester (two pubs within 5 minutes' walk!) and will be working Saturday

and Sunday morning on one of the local National Trust properties. They

don't know just yet what kind of work we'll be doing, but apparently it's

likely to be either in the woods or on the footpaths. There isn't usually a

charge for accommodation - if there is it will be nominal - and food for the

whole weekend will be provided for ?10 a head. I believe the maximum number

of bodies the village hall can accommodate is about 15, so let me know if

you want to put your name on the list.

[The dirty weekend is now confirmed as 9th-11th May but will be to Ilam, on

South Peak Estate in Derbyshire. Accommodation free, food ?10, max no. of

bodies 16.]

Neil will probably be organising a Midsummer weekend (20th-22nd June) at the

Punch Bowl in the Yorkshire Dales, where we went for Pete & Katherine's

pre-wedding bash last year - confirmation &/or further details will be

available on the Rosedale weekend.

Neil has also taken it upon himself to organise the next New Year trip,

although no doubt any offers of help will be gratefully accepted! Venue

undecided as yet, but it'll probably be the usual dates, i.e. 27th Dec. to

approximately the first Saturday after New Year.

We also need to start thinking about what we want to do for the Millennium;

the hostel we stayed at this year had already had three booking enquiries,

and the place is in the middle of nowhere and had only been open for six

months! Please let me know what you fancy doing - do we want to spend New

Year in a village somewhere, or in the crowds in Edinburgh? Do we even want

to go to Scotland at all?! Maybe a two-centre trip, with a couple of days

spent out in the sticks somewhere (e.g. Perthshire, Galloway Hills or

Yorkshire) and then New Year itself in the big city? There's a new hostel

under construction just off the Grassmarket in Edinburgh, so that's probably

not yet fully booked, but we do need to sort out what we're doing soon.

That's all for now. See you soon,