December 2000


Hello there everyone and welcome to the latest SHOT newsletter,

Well Christmas is yet again nearly upon us.

Since the last newsletter there have been numerous trips, including the SHOT trip to The Forest of Dean, and the Xmas meal to Milan, accounts of which you will be able to read later.

There are also details of forthcoming trips, in particular the New Year trip to Kinlochleven, Scotland.

Lynne seems to enjoying her time in

Japan see her account at the end of the newsletter.

Well, I am sure I will see most of you on the New Year trip. In the mean time please enjoy your quarterly newsletter, feeling free to contribute to it at any time what so ever.

Please remember:

THIS IS YOUR NEWSLETTER (so use it or you will just get me waffling on to fill space!!)




The New Year Trip

Kinlochleven, Scotland

Wednesday 27th December - Tuesday 2nd January 01


Wed. 27th Dec. 2000 – Tues. 2nd Jan. 2001

Well, the Annual SHOT New Year trip to Scotland is rapidly approaching. Accommodation is booked, places allocated, cooking groups sorted, the meal organised and the fancy dress theme decided. We, ‘The Organisers’, thought it best to confirm details in one go for everyone.

Twenty-Seven places have been booked at the Blackwater Hostel, Kinlochleven ( for the nights of Wednesday 27th December 2000 to Monday 1st January 2001 (inclusive). The beds will be allocated on a first come first served basis with the following exceptions: two-bed room (Pete, Katherine & Lindsey) and camp beds (Eric Varley and Charlotte – last to get places).

We are aware that Donna Chambers, Nigel Venables, Mark Stevenson, Zoe James have made their own arrangements. If there is anyone else, please could you let us know so we can fit you into cooking groups and confirm numbers for the meal.

Could all those who have spare places in their vehicles or those requiring lifts please contact us with their starting destinations so that a ‘car share scheme’ may be set up. Details of those requiring and offering lifts will be published on

The cooking rota (including those staying elsewhere) will be as follows:

Thursday 28th December – Mark Hows, Anna, Chris Turton, Eric Varley, Charlotte, Neil Postans, Tom Gibbs

Saturday 30th December – Donna Chambers, Nigel Venables, Mark Stevenson, Zoe James, Rachael Hutchinson, Steve, Dave Steed, Sandra Cavill, Su Bell

Sunday 31st December – Mike Ashton, Yvonne Ledger, Steve Millard, Lisa McLaughlin, Chris Hesketh, Jean, Chris Musson, Darren Bagnell

Monday 1st January – Pete Gilder, Katherine Gilder, Mandy Connor, Andy Connor, Caroline Wilson, Richard, Gus Dobrzynski, Julian Seeley

To avoid four lots of casserole (!!) please could members of each group contact each other and decide what meal they will cook and then inform us of what has been decided. As a guide, each cooking group member should expect to spend £8 - £10 each and you will be catering for approx. 33 people.

The meal has been organised for Friday 29th December 2000 at the MacDonald Hotel, Kinlochleven (

Last, but not least, the fancy dress theme for New Years Eve will be International Stereotypes – we leave the rest to you!!

We can be contacted on either or

Look forward to seeing you in Scotland to celebrate ‘The Real Millennium’!!

Mike and Yvonne



Friday 16th -Sunday 18th March 2001 - Blaxhall, Suffolk.

We have rented the Youth Hostel in the small village of Blaxhall in East Suffolk for our first trip of the year. It lies 4 miles south Of Saxmundham and 4 miles east of Wickham Market both of which lie on or near the main A12(T). The hostel is a converted village school and has 40 beds consisting of 1x2, 2x4 and 5x6 bedrooms. Once again this makes it ideal for those with children. There may also be some spare beds for those who want to bring a friend or two. Blaxhall is centrally located in the Suffolk Heath and Coastline Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty just 7 miles from the coast. Nearby is Tunstall Forest, the heads of the Alde and Butley Estuaries and the venue of the famous Aldeburgh Music Festival at Snape Maltings. A few miles to the north (just past Sizewell Nuclear Power Station!) the coastline becomes more attractive with low cliffs, heathland, Minsmere Bird Reserve, and the historic villages of Dunwich, Walberswick and Southwold.

Chris Musson will provide us with in-depth knowledge of ALL the local pubs.

Send £5 deposit to Gustav to secure a bed or a family room.

For those people with internet access an excellent web-site to use to locate SHOT venues can be found at :-

just type in Blaxhall and keep on clicking. It is also excellent for locating street names.


Any other trips going on?

If you are organising a trip just email me the details and I will add it all in the next newsletter. If you are booking a trip, it maybe a good idea to send me the details so I can check dates of trips don’t clash.

Dates for the Diary

Dec 27th- Jan 2nd, Kinlochleven, Blackwater Hostel

March 16th-18th, SHOT Suffolk Trip

June 22nd-24th, Snowdonia –TBC

Late Nov, Gibraltar, Xmas Meal 2001


Forest of Dean, Penny Weal

This was a weekend for boots, bikes, beer and bulging tummies. It was also

a real family trip with four children under 5 years giving the less keen

walkers a good excuse for an easy day.

On Saturday the family group set off for the sculpture park, a return visit

for those old enough to remember the first hiking club trip to this area.

The rest of the group split into two – the Hikers and the Bikers.

A large number of people brought their own mountain bikes and those of us

without, hired. The Forest of Dean proved to be an excellent place to cycle

with well-marked paths which criss-crossed the sculpture park. After lunch

the majority of the group decided to explore the sculptures more closely

while Mike and Neil headed off on a mountain bike pub crawl! Meanwhile, the

hikers had been progressing towards the river Wye and Gus was on one of his

infamous pub - crawl walks.

Nigel led the bike ride through the sculpture park and did quite a good job

until he led us through the deep dark, heart of the forest. Admittedly

there was a well-trodden path to start with but then the undergrowth became

more dense, the ground more muddy and obstacles, such as fallen trees

hindered our progress. We eventually popped out on the main path where we

realised that after all that effort we never even saw the sculpture.

Following dinner on Saturday evening was the cheese feast, and what a feast

it was. The variety and quantity of cheese that was laid out on the table

was colourful and tasty. Soft cheese, hard cheese, cheese with beer,

chillies, cranberries and even strawberries (very pink). There was also

plenty of wine and port to wash it all down. Gus appeared fashionably late

but there was little chance of him missing out on the cheese. In fact

cheese on toast was the popular breakfast choice. I can see this becoming a

regular event on future trips.

On Sunday a large portion of the group headed to the beauty spot of Symonds

Yat, where Nessie lost Neil, or was it Neil who lost Nessie? Anyway, he

turned up in the obvious place, the pub! I hope everyone enjoyed themselves

as much as I did, but then it was flat and I do love cheese.



Milan Trip

On a cold miserable Friday afternoon in November, we took of from Stansted airport UK and landed in Milan, Italy, on a cold miserable Friday evening, but this was not to dampen our spirits!!

Milan, surprised me in many different ways, from the fantastic architecture of the Duomo to the gargantuan amounts of food that we were made to eat (it would have been rude not to!)

Many varied excursions and adventures took place over the weekend, including a group going to watch a footie match at the San Siro, most of us visited the Leonardo Da Vinci museum of Science and Technology, For added culture we also Visited the Duomo which is the third largest Cathedral in the world no less, there were also a few shopping excursions. The highlight for me was definitely the excursion out to Lake Como which lays beneath the Alps, and although it had been experiencing similar problems to the UK in that most of it was flooded it was a very scenic town with the most fantastic backdrop of the Alps.

All in all Milan was a great success, with a lot of thanks due to Tim for organising a fantastic weekend, and of course a big thanks to Penny for organising probably the most memorable xmas dinner.

Heres to next year…….

The Grapevine

This section I intend to use for general information, exciting news, new members etc, so if you have anything to contribute, please get in touch.


  • We have had interest from some now ex-members of the Uni hiking club, so hopefully we should have some new faces in the club within the next few months
  • As I believe is customary the next New year Trip was voted on and re-voted on. We had several different suggestions such as Lapland, St Petersburgh, Krakow,Barcelona. The final vote and there were several I believe still stands at Gibraltar, this could well encompass visits to Spain and North Africa.
  • Zoe has asked me to let you know that she has purchased a YHA group card, so if anyone wants to book any YHA accommodation just let either myself or Zoe know

Farewell Hiking Commrades

Well there it is the Winter Newsletter. Please feel free to now send me trip detail’s etc for the next edition.

Please could you check that your address/email details are correct.

The next Newsletter will be due for release in February/March,(or whenever I have enough info to fill it!) so plenty of time to send me info.


Lynne’s, Accounts of Japan


Life here in Japan is still going well - I hope you're not missing me too

badly! I'm now three months into my second year here, and I expect to come

back to the UK next August. In the meantime, the open invitation to anyone

who wants to come and visit me still stands - at least until mid-July, when

I'll have to hand my apartment over to my successor. My website at (or just but

that will trap you in an invisible frame) is still being updated regularly

so you can take a look there for my news.

Recently I went out for the first time with a volunteer group to do some

forest conservation work, near Yokaichi, a small city about half an hour

away from me. I got in touch with the group via a contact of Mark S's at the

BTCV. They go out on the 2nd Saturday of every month, if it's dry. (The

Japanese will spend weeks planning an event only to cancel it if it rains!)

There were about 40 people, doing various tasks, and it was a really good

day. I was evidently the first foreigner who'd ever joined the group, and

several people recoiled in horror at the prospect of having to communicate

in English! They were all told that I could speak, read and write Japanese

(which is true to a limited extent) but quite a few of them were still wary

of talking to me - though they were very friendly in a wordless kind of way!

There were also a few who were eager to practise what they could remember of

their English, though, so we chatted in a mixture of the two languages.

I didn't actually do much work in the morning - the guy in charge took

everyone on a short nature walk to begin with (they seem to have at least

half a dozen different varieties of tree which bear acorn-like things), then

he spent some more time showing me and the other newbies around. I got told

the names of loads of different plants in Japanese; nearly all of them went

in one ear and out the other, but it was interesting nevertheless. There are

about 300 types of plant in that little forest, and 60 different

butterflies - not to mention all the dragonflies and mosquitoes (we were all

given mosquito coils to wear, but I got eaten alive regardless). After that

I was paired up with a lady who was placing bamboo stakes near various types

of burr to indicate to visiting elementary school kids where they should

look for them. Effectively that was another nature walk; I even came home

with a bag full of wild ginger! Lunch - prepared in the forest using a

barbecue, a couple of stove fires in metal drums, and even the heat coming

off a charcoal burner - was something of a banquet, with soup, rice and

roasted sweet potatoes, plus yakitori (chicken kebabs) and persimmons (a

fruit which looks a bit like a giant orange tomato but I'm not even going to

attempt to describe the taste). After lunch I joined a group that was

creating three small fields (sandy, normal and clay soils) in which to

cultivate rare plants. So in the afternoon I got some proper exercise, with

shovelling and raking soil.

Will be going back for more next month (weather permitting)!




Or of course you can visit the web site

Contact Mark Hows if you have any articles or pictures you would like to add to this site

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