Friday 15th - Sunday 17th March 2024 Chirk, Shropshire

'Welcome to Wrexham' invented by Hollywood film stars has superseded the historic attractions of stunning canal architecture that pull in visitors to nearby Chirk and it's famous castle. Even the smell of chocolate wafting over the roof tops from the Cadbury's factory may fail to delight some people. Chirk was once a border town on the old coach road from London to Holyhead. It found itself on the canal network with the construction of the Llangollen Branch of the Shropshire Union between the towering Pontcysyllte and the smaller, but still impressive Chirk Aqueduct. The steep road coming up from the Bridge Inn (the last pub in England) has now been replaced by the new A5 bypass, which conveniently makes Chirk a quieter place.

Chirk Bunkhouse is owned by the local Scouts and Guides Association. It is a modern building located just a few minutes walk from the Hand Hotel and shops in the centre of Chirk. There is a very large hall, comfy lounge and well equipped kitchen. There are three bedrooms (1x 4, 1 x 8 and 1 x 12 beds). Please bring sleeping bags.We are already over full, but are allowed to have extra bodies who do not mind sleeping on camp beds in the hall, or in the lounge. The car park outside has space for 8 vehicles, but please leave a spot closest to the entrance for Richard and Caroline and their camper van. The neighbouring residential streets should deal with the overflow.

Many people will recall a SHOT trip to Sellatyn Bunkhouse with its popular outdoor hot tub, so they will be familiar with the Ceiriog Valley which reaches into the foothills of Wales from the Bridge Inn. The Chirk Aqueduct (and the railway viaduct) cross the River Ceiriog here. A good walk is to follow the canal all the way into Llangollen having crossed the stunning Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and after about 10 miles finish in the old Corn Mill overlooking the River Dee and its waterfalls for an alcoholic beverage or two. Conveniently the number 64 bus departs Llangollen at 15.40 and 17.37, and 25 mins later passes through Chirk. (Please check bus times). The first section of the Glyn Valley Tramway is being restored at Chirk Station. Chirk Castle is a National Trust property which can be reached via a short walk from the Bunkhouse or by a longer car journey - it is up hill after all, where castles usually are. If all else fails, Postan's Perambulations could perhaps be encouraged to arrange an idiosyncratic tour of Oswestry. Nick and Suzy will be providing birthday cake when people return from their exertions.

The Bunkhouse is located in Shepherd's Lane, Chirk. Getting here is quite simple with the Hand Hotel being a useful reference point. Use the A5 to get close to Chirk, which is connected by a short length of the B5070. From the South (Oswestry side) follow it for one mile passing the Bridge Inn on the left. After crossing the River Ceiriog the road swings right steeply up to a staggered road junction (with B4500)) at the entrance to Chirk. Turn sharp right along Trevor Road. (NB If you see the Hand Hotel turn around ). Drive past a large cemetary, and after it swings left reach the Bunkhouse on the right at the junction with Shepherd's Lane. For those people coming from the North (Llangollen/ Ruabon side) join the B5070. Follow this all the way through Chirk going past the Hand Hotel on the left. When the main road swings right at the staggered junction (with B4500) turn left along Trevor Road, past the cemetery and after it swings left reach Shepherd's Lane and the Bunkhouse on the right.

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

Friday 28th June - Monday 1st July 2024 Lucca, Italy

Please put these dates in your diaries. For those who travel only with hand baggage it's worth pointing out this is a SHOT trip and there are mountains close by - expect to need to take your boots with you. I propose to do research into suitable hotels and restaurants later this year though I don't think it'll be realistic to all stay in the same hotel. I'd also stress this is an open invitation - everyone - spouses, partners, children etc are all welcome - although I would not not recommend the approach of a former colleague - who managed to invite both his girlfriends to the office Christmas do - this went as well as might be imagined! I'll get back to you with more information in October.

PS - I may award a glass of grappa to those adopting the most difficult routing to Lucca. Currently in front are the Whelans - who are proposing to come in a Fiat 500


Friday 11th - Sunday 13th October 2024 Forest of Bowland, Lancashire

More info to come