September 1998


First of all, congratulations to Karen & Mark Waddington, on the birth of Thomas Edward, weighing 6lb 10oz, at 5.07am on August 14th. The latest news I have is that mother and baby were both well shortly after the birth.

A lot of you will by now be aware that Jill and John Geaney are expecting too. Their baby is due in December, if I remember rightly, and is going to be very well-travelled as Jill is planning to stay based in the Wirral until some time next year!

It seems to have been a Three Peaks summer: a group of SHOT members did the Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks and Rachael, having already done the Dales one, completed the Big Three Peaks. Congratulations to all on their achievements! Here's the detail:

From Jayne:

A few of us did the 3 Peaks in the Dales on 15th August: Chris T, Percy, Dave, Tim, Mark H, Steve, Lisa, Neil, Cat, Martyn, Mashy, Sandra and me.

Luckily the weather was gorgeous but not too hot and the Dales were as beautiful as always (yes, and the beer was as strong as always - not that I'd appreciate that!)

Some were a lot quicker than others as you can imagine, but the majority of us finished well within the 12 hours! Just about able to move again 3 days later but am dead chuffed with myself!

Chris T then held an excellent BBQ on Sunday, where we could get together and compare aches and blisters! And finally an opportunity to have a few drinks!

Thanks to Chris for organising it - a great time had by all - what's the next one?

...and Rachael's one:

The Big 3 Peaks After having done the Dales 3 peaks in May, Rachael went completely mad and volunteered to be in the team doing the BIG 3 Peaks in July. There were 8 of us walking and 2 drivers - all work colleagues. We had fine weather nearly all the way apart from Snowdon (no change there then) although expecting sunshine at 4:30am was probably a tall order. Ben Nevis - started 8:15am, we had lovely views all the way down and escaped the mountain at 1pm before the crowds started to wind their way up. Scafell - started at 7:30pm, and had a beautiful sunset whilst heading down the wrong path(!) back to the van at about 9:30pm. We completed all 3 peaks in 23 hours and 55 mins! and have raised about £1600 for St. Luke's Hospice. Thank you to everyone who sponsored me, I will collect contributions on the next SHOT trip.

We have another item from Penny, who's still in Africa:

A Walk on the Wild Side.

The tour brochure stressed that fitness is non-negotiable and I knew that the Environmental Rangers Course would be tough, but I wasn't expecting such an exciting and energetic two weeks. The course is offered by a South African tour company who created it to test their own guides, but also offer it to keen travellers who are interested in the activities and who want to test themselves against nature.

The trip started with a three day trek in the Drakensburg Mountains which border the independent state of Lesotho. Day one involved 1300m of climbing to reach our destination for the night, a cave in the steep rock face at an altitude of 3100m. I surprised myself with how well I coped that day and the leader congratulated us on being the fastest group out of the seven he had already escorted up the mountain. We celebrated with swigs of sherry and huddled into our warm sleeping bags for the night. Next day was a further 15 kms of walking up and down steep slopes along the ridge of the mountain top. The GPS put us at 3300m at the highest peak and at least one of the group was feeling the altitude. We spent the night beneath an overhang and in the morning watched the sun rising above the lower peaks until we were bathed in the warm orange glow. The descent was even more steep and by now the feet and knees were feeling the strain. It was a relief to reach the Cathedral Peak Hotel where cold beers were waiting our arrival. I had survived three days in the mountains and had achieved more than I had ever attempted before.

After the Mountain came the lectures in trees, birds and animals using the renowned Kruger Park as our open air lecture hall. We also absorbed South African history, in particular the Zulu culture whose lands we were primarily travelling in. There was also shooting with rifles and handguns, 4 x 4 driving lessons, abseiling and first aid. We visited a snake park where we handled venomous snakes and caught the most deadly of all African snakes, the puff adder. On the energetic scale of things there was a 6 km run, a 500m swim in the cool river and a 12 m jump from a rock ledge!! (The jump was a leap too far for me so I volunteered to be group photographer on that occasion.)

We spent our nights in caves, traditional beehive huts, tents and under the stars. During the day we absorbed all the information we would need for the three hour examination which would lead to our diplomas as qualified field guides. We also found plenty of time to party and I began to appreciate my fellow team members, a strange mix of male/female, German/Swiss/English/ Australian and South African. In just two weeks I have now reevaluated my abilities and gained some very close friends. Walking in Scotland will now seem like a walk in the park!


Coming Soon: Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana.
PS. Congratulations to Mark and Karen on the birth of their baby boy.
PPS. I hope to see you all sometime during Christmas and New Year.

Recent events

We had very warm, humid weather for Tim's midsummer weekend in Great Langdale, culminating in a downpour on Saturday afternoon which resulted in a lot of people getting back to the bunkhouse looking like drowned rats! The location of the bunkhouse (owned by Barclays Bank) was excellent, directly behind the Old Dungeon Ghyll pub at the foot of the Langdale Pikes. The soundproofing left something to be desired though!

By now I believe Big Mike, Neil, Mark. H. And Andy C. will have completed the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which they were doing in late August. Nobody has told me how it went yet though...

Forthcoming events

My next dirty weekend is 25th-27th September and is to the Henman basecamp near Dorking in Surrey. As usual we'll be doing 1 days' voluntary work for the National Trust. Accommodation free, food £10 to cover the whole weekend from Friday supper through to Sunday lunch. There are still a few places left on this one (the limit is 15) so contact me if you'd like to come along.

Also on the weekend of 26th-27th September is a charity bike ride "From Brontė's Dales to Wordsworth's Lakes" which Cat has asked me to publicise. Here's a copy of the bumf:
Imagine cycling through the breathtaking scenery of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, famous for its literary tradition, in the knowledge that you will be raising money for blind, partially sighted and disabled people who find reading a strain. What a wonderful way to spend the last weekend of summer! This challenging event starts at the home of the Brontės, Haworth in Yorkshire, and finishes in the Lake District where Wordsworth was inspired to write his poetry. You will cycle 100 miles over 2 days, through some of Britain's most spectacular landscape. Call now for your free information pack - 0171 407 9417. You pay an initial £50 deposit (for accommodation, food etc.) and must pledge to raise at least £400 in sponsorship.

Not sure what happened about Sandra's Alton Towers trip, which was to be around now; I've tried to call and find out, but she wasn't in.

The next SHOT weekend is to Snowdonia: Cae Groes, Llanwrst, near Betws-y-Coed. The dates are 23rd-25th October, and the cost will be £13 per person. Cae Groes consists of a converted farmhouse, a purpose-built self-contained accommodation block (for 4 families), a barn with table tennis table and dartboard, a drying room and a shower/toilet block. There is a grassed garden and adequate space for car parking. We will be staying in the farmhouse, which is centrally heated and has a lounge, dining room and kitchen. There are 24 places, in dorms sleeping 6, 4 and 8, plus an alpine bunk sleeping 6. There is accommodation for 10 additional bodies which we have not booked, and so we are liable to be sharing the accommodation - so please keep noise levels down after 11pm!

As mentioned in the May newsletter, Mike Ashton has now booked the New Year trip for 27th December to 3rd January. We'll be staying at The Stopover, Grantown on Spey, near Aviemore. Accommodation for the seven nights will come to around £60 per person. I don't have the details on number of beds etc. but no doubt Mike will be able to fill you in if you contact him.

There hasn't been any mention of a Christmas dinner this year, to my knowledge. Would anybody like to take this on? (I'm not in a position to volunteer to do this myself - see below.) We could go back to the CONTACT one at Salford, like last year; they'll be keen to have us, and it would save us the task of organising a dinner ourselves. The Pav has changed a lot though, so don't be surprised if you barely recognise it!

Other items

This could be my last newsletter from the UK for a while, as I'm planning on going out to Japan to teach English for a year. I may also get a secondment from my current job to Singapore or China, so I could be away for 18 months or so. Nothing's definite yet, but I could be leaving any time after mid-November. I'm happy to still do the newsletter, as long as people let me know what's happening (my new e-mail address should remain valid wherever I am), but it's a bit impractical for me to do the postal circulation bit too, so would someone who has e-mail (and ideally WordPerfect 6.1 and Lotus 123, to save you faffing around with the formatting) be willing to help me out with that aspect? Basically I'd give you my stock of address labels and envelopes, and send you an electronic copy of the newsletter and address list, which you'd send on to those who aren't on e-mail (or whom I've had difficulty getting through to). Not too difficult! I'll also need help with subs collection, as that's obviously a bit difficult to do when you're on the other side of the world!

On the address list: - Please note the new address of the SHOT website, which has moved with Mark H. - Also note that my home telephone number is due to change on 19th September (I'm changing from B'ham Cable to Ionica). - Please check your own details on the address list and let me know of any updates/corrections which aren't already included.

Chris McCarthy has asked me to include the following:

Would anyone be interested in weekends (possibly long weekends) away on the continent? Prices start from as little as £49 per person for a 2-night break (based on 4 sharing a car - Eurostar kicks in at around £140 per person). Possible destinations include Paris, Brussels, Le Touquet, Bruges, but there are many others besides.

If anyone is interested in this, give me [Chris, not Lynne] a ring so we can sort out a preferred first destination and a time. I'd be looking to arrange a first weekend away in October/November, and another in the new year (Feb/March).

Since there were a few people who didn't get their act together in time to order T-shirts/sweatshirts the first time round, and the guy who printed them is happy to do a further smaller order for us, I can offer you one final opportunity to order them now. Let me know by the end of this month if you want any garments and I'll try to arrange for them to be printed in time for me to hand them out on the Snowdonia weekend.

I need to know:

- What garment(s)
- How many
- Size(s)
- Colour(s)
... and please enclose payment (cheques payable to me).

In case you've lost your copy of the May newsletter, here are the options:

The logo that was selected was:

- small logo on left chest
- no lettering on back of garments.

Your choices are as follows (prices are inclusive, but you'll have to pay additional carriage (80p for a T-shirt, £1.50 for a sweatshirt) if you want your order sent to you rather than having me pass it on when I see you):

T-shirt     £5.50
Child's T-shirt(smallest is age 3-4) £4.50
V-neck T-shirt    £6.00
Long sleeved T-shirt   £7.00
Sweatshirt (raglan sleeves)  £9.50
Zip neck sweatshirt   £12.50
Hooded sweatshirt   £13.00
Hooded sweat with full length zip £14.50
Polo shirt - 65/35 polycotton mix £9.00
Polo shirt - 100% cotton  £10.00
Colour choices are as follows:
T-shirt (adult or child)
White, navy, sunflower, black, bottle green, red, burgundy, light blue, royal blue, natural, heather grey, crimson, emerald, orange, kelly green, nautilus blue, turquoise.

V-neck & long sleeved T-shirts
White, navy, black, heather grey.

Sweatshirt White, navy, sunflower, black, bottle green, red, burgundy, light blue, royal blue, heather grey, emerald, kelly green, nautilus blue, solid grey.

Zip neck sweatshirt White, navy, black, heather grey.

Hooded sweatshirt Navy, black, bottle green, burgundy, heather grey, sage, bright gold, sesame, lead, chocolate, solid grey

Zip hooded sweatshirt Navy, black, bottle green, burgundy, heather grey, crimson, solid grey.

Polo shirt - polycotton White, navy, sunflower, black, bottle green, red, burgundy, royal blue, heather grey, sky blue, emerald.

Polo shirt - 100% cotton White, yellow, black, bottle green, red, burgundy, ash, crimson, sky blue, dark navy, orange, lake blue, Persian blue.

If you have Internet access then you'll be able to look the colours up on the SHOT website. For those of you who don't have this privilege, here are my descriptions of the less obvious colours:

Sunflower: dark yellow
Natural: beige/cream
Ash: mottled pale grey
Heather grey: slightly darker mottled grey
Crimson: dark red
Emerald: turquoisey-green
Sage: beigey-green
Bright gold: similar to sunflower but slightly darker
Sesame: fawn
Lead: bluish-grey (fairly pale)
Kelly green: bright green
Nautilus blue: deep turquoise blue
Solid grey: dark grey
Yellow: light yellow
Sky blue: paler than light blue
Lake blue: between royal blue and navy
Persian blue: between light and royal blue
Salmon: pale pinky-peach.

Sizes: most garments are available in S / M / L / XL / XXL. I'll order everything in "large" unless you specify otherwise.

Finally, subs again! About of you have paid up for 1998/9 now, but there are still a few who haven't yet. If I don't get your money before I update the address list for the next newsletter then I'll take your name off it and you won't hear from me again until you pay up! I know a lot of people can't remember whether they've paid or not, so I'm enclosing reminder slips for those who haven't.

See you soon,