2018 Activities

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January 2018

NEW YEAR BARN DANCE - Mike Buxton

Barn Dance-2Barn Dance-3Barn Dance-1Barn Dance-4

It was that time of year again, the famous 50+ Adventure Club Barn Dance, something to look forward to after Christmas. Great evening, kept on our toes by the fantastic Banana Band. Don't know who did the choreography or if any of us got it right - fun trying though.

Thanks to all who organised it; looking forward to another try next year when I've got my breath back!

 

ESCAPE ROOMS - Pauline Ashby

Escape Room group

Did we escape? Well nearly! But they had to let us out as they had another group waiting.

Two different rooms, ten padlocks in each and twenty clues to solve. Some of the clues were quite easy but some were devils to solve. I for one would still be in there now if we hadn't been able to ask for help when we were really stuck.

This event was great fun and we all came out with aching brains - helps to keep dementia at bay (so they say).

Two more rooms somewhere else next year?

 

 

 

 

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February

POLE DANCING - Alison Andrews

Pole dancing-2

Eight ladies arrived at the Pole Dancing studio in Ketteringto be put through our paces by the instructor Emily. Following a short warm up the first test was to see who had the strength to lift their own body weight on the pole. There then followed an hour of fun, completing a series of moves around the pole including steps, twirlsand falling to the floor. We then tried to put all the set pieces we had learnt together in one continuous movement. The class finished with a promise that we would all be in pain in two days time. Everyone enjoyed the session and a promise was made that men could attend a class ifthere was interest. Well?

 

 

 

 

QUIZ NIGHT AT STANION - Barbara Dickerson

Quiz WinnersQuiz Runners Up

What a great evening and a serious brain workout for our team, not sure about the other teams though! Thank you Pauline for researching such a wide range of topics for the questions and as for those Dingbats, well they were easy once we knew the answers, weren't they?

The music round had our team trying to sing the rest of the song, or nursery rhyme, before the next one started to our immense frustration because they came too quickly.

Well done the 'Far Behind' team for coming first and also the two runners up the 'Cheesy Straws' and 'Jock High the noo' and we all had prizes even if ours was the 'booby' prize.

A big thank you to Pauline who struggled from her sick bed to organise the evening and be our slightly vocally challenged quizmaster.

 

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March

CLAY PIGEON SHOOTING - Daphne Dye

Winners PodiumWe arrived at Kibworth centre with high winds and sleet but determined to enjoy our challenge.

The instructors decided that we should be split into two groups male and female. This was because of the different size guns a lighter 20 bore for the ladies. However, this made the two teams unequal so Alison, who had previous experience was encouraged to join the men.

We had four challenges, the targets came from right to left, left to right; one was called the rabbit run, etc. Each target had its own challenges, but the biggest challenge was the weather. It was bitterly cold and was very windy, we had a welcome cuppa after the first two targets.

At the end there were those who had good scores and some of us were not so good, and my own score was so pathetic I was asked to do this write up as my "booby" prize.

The instructors were amazing, they had great patience and calm tuition. I believed thoroughly that my efforts were faultless, and the weather was to blame for my lack of hits. I had a great day, thanks to everyone taking part and to Paul for the organisation.

AlisonPaul

 

BMW MINI PLANT TOUR, OXFORD - Keith Sulphur 

25 members joined together for the visit to the home of the MINI. We were shown into the exhibition hall where there was a range of MINI cars from the very first models through to Monte Carlo winners of the mid-1960s. The hall ended with the mouth-watering models currently in production.

RobotsWe were then met by our tour guide Michael Dickson. After putting on our visitors' jackets and ear pieces, the guide had a microphone to converse with our party.

He led into the start of the production works. This is where the multitude of small parts are put together to become MINIS. Then it was on to the main assembly plant, this was a truly vast building that seemed to stretch away for ever. It was here that we were all amazed with the workings of the robots, giant machines that welded together body parts and dozens of other operations. Then onto the final Production line where the factory fresh MINIs were rolling off the assembly line. MINI Coopers & Clubmans, looked fabulous.

 The Oxford plant manufactures 1000 cars a day of which 80% are exported to 105 countries around the world. A great British effort of which we can all be proud. Having seen the scenario of 21st. century production, my thoughts are that we urge our grandchildren to take up apprenticeships in robotic maintenance. At the end of Miniwonderful afternoon's tour, we thanked our guide and made our way to a well-known A43 watering hole between Brackley and Towcester. We arrived at 7.10 pm to discover that the chef had stormed off home and it was 9.30 pm when our meals were served at our table. The 50+ members are a stoic lot and after a lot of banter we took it in our stride. Once again, many thanks to Dave Chapman for a wonderful day's visit.

 

 

PS After a complaint was made in writing, the pub owners have promised us a substantial cheque to offset the cost of our meals. It pays to complain!

 

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April

BRIXWORTH VILLAGE TRAIL - Elizabeth Rush

The WinnersWooden SpoonThe Search

Thirty-two hardy 50 plus members met on a very wet Sunday at the Coach and Horses pub for the Brixworth village trail. We set off in groups of four trying to solve the intriguing questions. Our quest for the answers took us all around this very quaint village. Unfortunately, due to the wet weather, our answer sheet turned to pulp, as I'm sure everyone else's did. Well done to the winning team, The Desborough Mafia, commiserations to The Wanderers (my team) who lost, but walked away with four excellent prizes! Our trail was followed by a very good two course lunch. Many thanks to Tim Holt (plus his support crew - Jan and Jude) for organising this event.

 

 

 

 

SPRING WALK - Richard Coles

Mudder

Twenty something Mudders racked up at the pub "The Navigation" Stoke Bruerne, to start the "Tough Mudder Challenge walk" devised by Jane.

Yes this was the 50+ version of the Tough Mudder challenge, a hard core event.

MudMore MudIn which participants attempt a 0 to 6 mile long obstacle course that is devised to test mental as well as physical ability and strength. One of the muddyest events in Northamptonshire. Originally designed by British Special Forces to challenge the toughest of the tough.

The course was set for the participants to negotiate wooden styles, farm gates, puddles of water, wooden bridges and most importantly MUD.

Spring WalkGroup PhotoIt plays on basic human fears of getting wet and cold, getting muddy, and slipping down or falling over. Fortunately the 50 plus challengers made it through to the end and seemed to actually enjoy it. So well done Jane you just have to find a walk to test us further next year.

Oh yes the Pub lunch was good.

 

OSPREY WATCHING AT RUTLAND WATER - Carol Pullen

Osprey on nestThe first Osprey returned to Rutland Water from Senegal in March and with her mate she is now sitting on three eggs. Wow, were we lucky to see so much on a freezing cold Spring day.

First we saw the male (called 33) circling over the water and then he dived to catch a fish before pulling up and flying off at the last minute. Why? Well the water was extremely choppy and cloudy and he couldn't see the fish clearly enough, so had probably gone somewhere less choppy. From the camera mounted above the nest we watched Maya (the female) incubating her eggs whilst we were in the warm at the Visitor Centre. After a talk by one of the volunteers we went off to the various bird hides along the shore to get better views of the birds. I arrived at 'Waderscape' and almost immediately 33 flew in with a fish for Maya and she took it and flew to a pole nearby where she ate it whilst 33 incubated the eggs. When she had finished she went back to the Looking for Ospreysnest and 33 flew to a nearby branch where he posed for the hide full of twitchers and 50 plussers. By this time the hide was so full of people plus tripods with binoculars, cameras etc that it was difficult to get out without tripping over something.

I went to the next hide 'Shallow Water' which was closer to the nest (a platform on the top of a pole in the water) and quieter and I got some better shots with my smaller camera.

Thank you to Hilary Hearnshaw (who is an 'Osprey' volunteer) for suggesting the visit and to Jane for organising it.

 

 

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May

FOOTGOLF - Marilyn Rogers

Run upKick offwinners

On the 5th May, a sunny Saturday morning, 20 members gathered at the Cold Ashby Golf Course. We all chose a football and were divided into 4 teams of 5 each choosing a team name. Pin High, Odd Balls, Rushborough and The Famous Five. Setting off to the first hole, each one the same size as on a golf course, put our skills or lack of them to the test. A long way to kick a ball when you're not Christiano Ronaldo! Kicking balls uphill in long grass and downhill into a large hole. The winning team was Pin High consisting of Jane, Joe, Dennis, Denise and Bob who did extremely well and may one day be spotted for a local football team.

The morning ended with an enjoyable lunch at the club. A great day had by all and THANK YOU Dennis for organising the day.

 

WOODHALL SPA CYCLING/WALKING (& HOT TUB) WEEKEND - Various

OVERVIEW - Carol Pullen

The CabinHot tub

After all the muddy activities lately, it was good to have sunny weather for all our outings. On Friday, we all headed to Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, to our various overnight accommodations. I, and five others, were staying in a luxury lodge (complete with hot tub) at the Woodhall Country Park right on the edge of a lake; in fact, we woke to the sound of the cuckoo and families of geese with goslings. The hot tub was very well used during the weekend, not only by us but other 50plussers caravanning on the same site. However, we all managed to find a seat in our lodge to eat fish and chips on the first night, washed down with a magnum of Prosecco and other drinks. What a good start to the weekend!!

PrpseccoKinema

Woodhall Spa has a 'Kinema in the Woods' and we all went there on Sunday afternoon to see The Leisure Seeker with Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren, who take to the road in their ancient Winnebago. I have no intention of telling you the story but suffice to say it included Alzheimer's and death and we headed back to our lodge for a further drink and another dip in the hot tub to help us get over it!! In fact, at one time there were so many in the tub that it was in danger of overflowing.

Thank you Jenny, for organising an excellent weekend in a town with so much history.

FRIDAY ARRIVAL - Tricia Booth

Cottage MuseumThe weekend began for the group when eight of us met up at the Cottage Museum in Woodhall Spa, which is a rare Victorian corrugated iron bungalow, which came flat packed from Norwich costing around £265

It was home to John Wield, his wife and two children from 1887 to 1964. John must have been a very busy man, as not only did he ferry people from the station to the spa, but he made bath chairs, watches, clocks and spectacles. In his spare time, he took photos and developed them, which has left us with a snapshot of the spa town and the people who lived and worked in the local area.

I left with the feeling that I could have happily lived what seemed an idyllic way of life, but not so sure I would have wanted any of the spa treatments on offer!

 

CYCLING - Chris Jenkins

Cycling groupLunch stop

 

Saturday morning saw our party weave our way through the leafy lanes of picturesque Lincolnshire en route to a 14 mile off road return trip to Horncastle. A wheely nice time was had by all.

Relax One of the highlights was hearing the cuckoo whilst riding through the tranquillity of beautiful English countryside, another was the very welcome coffee and cake shop in Horncastle, a lovely little market town that is well worth a visit. Some of us visited an art and music festival taking place in the church, others the small quaint independent shops selling some unique and interesting wares and a small market which resulted in us buying 4 hats from an amazing hat stall. The return journey included speeding past a field that was being covered in very smelly muck, a fabulous picnic next to a much sweeter smelling field, and the realisation that one of us had acquired a puncture. We all returned safely and the puncture did not deflate the enjoyment of the trip.

 

SUNDAY WALK - Lyn Lewis-Nichol

"I'll leave the board game and tea cake here" said Jane as she left the communal lodge for her caravan on Saturday night, " because I don't think we will be walking tomorrow morning." The weather forecast had predicted rain until late in the afternoon, however, after a night of heavy downpours, Sunday morning dawned chill, dank and grey but certainly nothing to daunt a seasoned 50 plus adventurer.

Walk GroupSunday WalkBob jumped on his bike and pedalled off in the direction of Lincoln. Lucy and Janice packed their swimming things and headed for the heated outdoor pool at a nearby campsite while Jane, Dennis, Jenny, Carol, Chris, Frank, Tony and I strapped on our walking boots and trudged through the sodden grass to the pedestrian part of the Viking Way. This section ran alongside, and crossed, several golf courses, and we were treated to tableaux of Sunday morning golfers teeing off from the greens. There was no eviscerated duck (which we had spotted the day before) but we did come across the corpse of a stout.

We hiked until we reached the part of the Viking Way at which we had started the cycle ride the day before, then turned around and walked back. As we approached the end of the track, a low rumble could be heard in the distance, gradually growing louder, until the dark shape of a Lancaster bomber appeared out of the clouds and banked low over our heads. I know you are a brilliant event organiser, Jenny, but a fly past ...!!

OUTDOOR BOWLING - Hilary Chapman (formerly Connon!)

Outdoor BowlsJust back from our Paris honeymoon and straight into a 50 plus activity. 25 of us turned up on a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon to play outdoor bowls.

Cathy Spencer and her able team gave us instruction. Those who had played before, launched straight into a match.However, the rest of us benefitted from some exercises and instruction before beginning an actual challenge.

 

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June

Paintballing - Sue King

Spot the 50 plussers- they are very well camouflaged!

PaintballOn an overcast but warm day in June eight intrepid 50+'ers went down to the woods - not for a teddy bears picnic but a shoot 'em up session using paintballs. All participants donned camouflage jumpsuits, a red or blue balaclava and a visor. There were eight 50 plus members and eight 20 something males and we were split into two teams with four 50+'ers and four 20 something males in each team. We were then set 5 different scenarios and had to shoot members of the opposing team whilst avoiding getting shot ourselves in order to win. The only hits that didn't count were head shots so every other part of your anatomy was a target. You knew when you had been hit because it really stung and the bruises came out later as proof. The scenarios included taking and holding a bridge to see which team could keep control of the bridge the longest and another where one person in each team was nominated as a VIP who had to be protected by the other members of their team so they were not shot. The first teams VIP to be shot lost the game. This was a very enjoyable session even if some of was a bit painful. At the end of the session all the 50+'ers retired to a local pub for a well deserved lunch.

Paddleboarding - Bob Gibson

As the rain lashed down and the gale blew, we approached the Nene with our slim pieces of polystyrene and wondered how on earth we could possibly cope with the six feet high waves. Fortunately that was only a bad dream; and on the day, the sun shone, there wasn't a breath of wind and the only ripples on the Nene were caused by the occasional passing insect. The three aged adventurers (Bob, Trish and Keith M) were joined by four others (Pauline immediately went into sales action) and were soon given clear and expert instruction by our host Lyndz.

Paddleboarding-1paddleboarding-2We picked up our paddleboards, light enough to carry, but heavy enough to provide lots of stability and were soon kneeling on them on the water. All that was then needed was to paddle them out of the backwater and to stand up! Amazingly, we all did just that! Most of us had really shaky legs as we stood up, but, even so, the boards' stability prevented anybody getting an early ducking. Eventually the legs stopped shaking and we were all sculling along like professionals. Of course, some people have a competitive streak and the site of the instructor moving effortlessly through the party was too much to ignore. "Surely, if I push my paddle in deeper and push harder, I'll move just as quickly". After just a few seconds I lost my balance and almost fell in. Armed with this knowledge, I tried again......lost my balance... and fell off the back of the board. There's no fool like and old fool except an old, wet fool! Surprisingly, I managed to climb back on the board. (Just how stable are they) and quietly joined the back of the group as we paddled home. All thoughts were now being focussed on the tea rooms opposite, where hot drinks and cake would soon be consumed. Even with the ducking, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but I do wonder "why stand-up and paddle when you can sit down in a kayak".

A big thank-you to Pauline for looking after us and taking the photos and to Paul for organising the event.

50+ ADVENTURE CLUB’S ANNUAL INVASION OF THE LAKE DISTRICT

Ice-Breaker activity - Hilary Chapman

When I recall our visit to the Lakes last year the Ice Breaker was a miserable affair - trying to do archery in the cold, pouring rain in our waterproofs. This year was a totally different experience. The sky was blue and the sun shone warmly.

Ice breaker-1Ice-breaker-2We were put into pairs and told to make shapes balancing against each other or pretending to ride, etc. according to the instructions shouted out. What started as a simple exercise got maniacally worse as the instructions came faster and many pairs were knocked out in the early stages.

We finally got down to the last couple (which coincidentally was me and Alison) who were declared the winners.

The second exercise was a cunningly devised test of four teams' endurance. Anyone who has done an icebreaker before will have encountered the 'skis' where four people have two planks of wood and string and have to co-ordinate the lifting of one side up to step forward and then raise the other side to go forward. As usual there was lots of shouting LEFT-RIGHT (no, the OTHER right!) and frustration as always one person lifted the wrong foot and no progress was made and the front person fell over.

We had to shuffle around a course to a finishing point.

Ice-breaker-3Next task was to cross to a bucket of balls and pick up 4 lengths of guttering. Roll the ball from one person's gutter to another without dropping it on the ground - so tantalising when you nearly get to the end and it drops and you have to start all over again.

After completing this for five balls, the final challenge was to scoop water from the ball bucket to an upright pipe to try and float a ping pong ball out. This was fiendishly difficult as there were holes drilled in the side of the pipe and one person had to 'play the recorder' to cover the holes as the others transported water, there were some bits of tape too but they stuck less and less. Someone (nameless 'cheated' and took the whole bucket over which meant it poured out everywhere and soaked the holder.

Still it was hot weather, so we weren't too bothered. I have no idea who won, I was so wet I didn't really care.

Thanks to Glaramara staff for organising this event.

Viking Boat - Elizabeth Rush

Gift of the Gael On a bright sunny morning, the team boarded the Glaramara mini bus for the journey up to Derwent water. Upon arrival we were met by our skipper who got us fitted with our buoyancy aids, then on to our boat "The Gift of The Gael" Elizabeth was made our starboard rudder lady. Pushing away from the jetty we rowed out to the lake, it was at this stage that some members of the crew saw that we had a leak. Our skipper assured us there was nothing to worry about. He explained that the hot and sunny weather of the past few days had dried out the wooden hull causing some seepage. He then operated a hand pump at the stern and flushed the water away. The wind had now increased and we were able to unfurl the sail and give our oarsman a much needed rest. Eventually after sailing through the beautiful scenery it was time to turn and return to our harbour. The wind died away and the skipper had to call on his radio for the rescue launch to come and tow us back to port. Once on dry land we all agreed that we had experienced a great 50plus adventure.

Voyager canoeing on Derwent - Mick Cook

A group of us were at Derwent Water on a sunny Saturday afternoon for a spot of canoeing. This year's event was one with a difference, the eight-man canoe had a outboard motor, was this here because of our age? We were told not.

Voyager canoecanoeing Derwent WaterConner our instructor struggled to get the motor running so we paddled up the lake to St Herbert’s island, here we were shown where his hermitage was. We started to paddle back when, hey presto,

Conner got the motor running so all of us sat back and admired the view. As we approached the landing stage we did not want to give the wrong impression to the waiting ferry passengers, so we started to paddle again. As usual we had lots of laughs on this event. Thanks Dave and Jane for a great weekend.

Rock Climbing - Dave Chapman

Rock Climbing Group

"Finally!" everyone exclaimed. After years of the rain stopping the rock climbing from happening the bright sun meant that we would be able to climb rocks, rather than the indoor climbing walls of Keswick.

After a walk and scramble to the base of Shepherd's Crag two routes were set up for us to try. We all agreed that climbing a rock face was more challenging than the indoor version, the fear of falling or getting stuck present in everyone's mind. We were also impressed by the stunning views across the valley that the climb provided.

After the climbing was done we walked back to the transport which required us to scramble again through the rocks and boulders at the bottom of the crag, which was good fun in its own right.

 

 

Coracle Building - Richard Stanley (aided and abetted by Janette Taylor)

'Don't panic, we will not get wet, think positive' says Julia. Again, saying 'we will not get wet'.

Five women and I head down to the shed where we are shown a mixture of plastic tape and tubes and we got ourselves into two tea After sticking it all together into a dome shape, and Rachel, our instructor, saying it looked good, I knew we were in trouble. The tarpaulin was added and looking at our competitors, Janet, Marjorie and Sheila, our coracle looked like a ragged old birds nest compared to their circular bath!

After going up to the changing room to don teddy suits, off we went along the road with coracles in hand. Ropes were strung across the river and ("I will not get wet") Julia, whizzed across the river - without getting wet.

Coracle BuildingOop'sJanette's turn, but half way across gradually began to sink, but I rescued her (Ed’s note: What a hero!) With the coracle half full of water, I thought at least I won't have to go across. No chance, instructions were to tip the water out and start again. Yes, I sank too.

In the meantime, the other team had all been across and even had two in. As they were dry, decided to go for a swim!

It was all great fun but should have realised when Granny Apple got her flip flops out we were heading for trouble.

Thanks go to Jane and Dave for all the weekend's organisation.

Abseiling - Brenda Bumstead

Abseiling GroupAbseilingThe 9 abseillers set off on a beautiful bright clear morning in 2 vehicles with Wes as our leader. On arriving at the site we were shown how to put on our gear and while Wes was setting up the ropes for the abseiling and to help us climb to the abseiling site, most of us went off to see the Bowder stone. A massive boulder believed many, many years ago to have fallen from the cliffs above. This boulder was climbed by us all the easy way, up a flight of steps.

On returning to the base of the abseiling cliff we found everything ready so we all clambered up to the launching point for our abseil. While we each waited our turn we were able to admire the stunning scenery. One by one we abseiled down, some of us confident and fast others slowly and carefully but we all managed it and most of us went back for a second go.

While waiting for Wes to gather all the gear together we were able to watch small children abseiling rather faster and more confidently than some of us. Then back to Glaramara for lunch. A very good morning.

Saturday Afternoon Walk - Sheila Smith

On a glorious hot sunny afternoon (could we really be in the Lake District!) some 11 or so 50 plussers (Dennis was in his element as the only man amongst all us women) and Rachel our guide set off on what was going to be a wonderful walk starting along the Borrowdale Valley climbing up High Lodore with the promise of a tea and cake stop at the cafe at Watendlath and then back down to Glaramara.

Saturday walkWalking poles at the ready we started our steep ascent up through the woods to the top! Rachel had already assured us that after this half hour steep climb it would be plain sailing. On the way up we learned about the Wood Sorrell which Rachel found, a clover like plant with 3 heart shaped leaves with a red stem at the bottom - quite tasty to eat; a Pig Nut - white flower with spiky leaves whereby the stalk bends at right angles underground to the nut root which can be eaten; Sphagnum Moss with its antiseptic properties used for wounds in the war and also if taken short in the woods - I'll say no more!!!

It was at this point that one of our group became very poorly and collapsed. Rachel called Mountain Rescue giving our grid reference as there was no way that we could carry our member back down or to the nearest road and she was not responding to questions. However, after about half an hour or so she started to come round and was able to stand and walk slowly on. Suddenly out of nowhere a white Land Rover loomed in front of us and yes it was the Mountain Rescue team, even though called off, they still wanted to find us to make sure our friend was alright. After assessment by some 'fit' men and a ride in the vehicle back to the nearest road where David from Glaramara was waiting, she was advised to be checked out at Keswick Cottage Hospital. Off they went leaving us 'stranded' at the edge of the woods with the cafe in sniffing distance!!

Sadly, our walk ended there as we were shuttle-bussed back to Glaramara, so no tea and cake but what we had done was enjoyable and, most importantly of all, our 50+ friend was given the all clear by the hospital and arrived back at Glaramara in time for dinner.

High LevelL Walk - Richard Coles

High Level WalkSo then there were three of us left to do the walk - John, Tim and myself led by Simon and Dot (his dog from a sheep farming family).

We set off in good conditions to scale Seathwaite Fell at 601m and a round journey of 8 miles. The route was from Seathwaite farm up the valley to Taylor Ghyll Force, a 65m high gorge and waterfall, it was challenging in places with loose shale and rocks to scramble over and a garden gate half way up. At one point Dot decided to go diving underwater and brought out a stone then placed it in Tim's rucksack side pocket as a gift.

Great views from the top of the fell all round and it was here that we heard an unfamiliar bird call, In true leader style Simon opened an App on his phone and identified it as a Wheatear.

A great day on the Fells with good weather and good company.

Via Ferrata Keith - Sulphur

Following on from Friday and Saturday the day dawned clear bright and sunny. As I drove up to Honister, the thought did cross my mind that out of 29 50+ adventurers I was the only one to have elected to go on the VIA FERRATA. What did they know that I didn't. (Ed's note: we have all done it before Keith!) After checking in, I was in a party of 10 scheduled on the 9 am climb. After being kitted out with our climbing harness and shown how to work the spring-operated carabiner locks, we set off to start our climb. This involved a steep walk of about half a mile to our starting point. I had already used up half my day's energy reserves. So the climb began, hook on, climb up, hook off, hook on. Another 12-15 ft up the sheer vertical rock face we eventfully arrived at the infamous Bridge of Infinity.

The BridgeVia FerrataThe bridge is so named because often you are unable to see the other end! Strung across a breathtaking gorge high up on the mountain, 1500ft above the valley floor below, it is the longest in Britain. I was the third person to cross; it consisted of the foot wire, 2 hand wires and above your head a further wire which (hopefully) you were hooked onto. About halfway across with several people behind me, the wire started to sway quite vigorously from side to side. With a 1500ft drop beneath you, it was not quite the ideal way to spend a Sunday morning. The voice of our mountain guide called out "push the hand wires out as far as they go and you will stabilize the bridge". It was great sense of relief that I got to other side. It was here we were able to have a break. By now 75% of my energy reserves had been used up. The break went on for longer than expected, as a man in the group having seen the Bridge of Infinity said he would not take the risk of crossing it so the guide had to escort him back to the beginning.

The next stage was up through a dark very steep tunnel. Puffing away at the exit, I asked the guide if we had much further to climb. He pointed out the green scramble net another 300ft up the mountain. "Good Grief" or words to that effect were my thoughts. With my energy reserves by now near exhausted, it was a case of sheer determination to get to the summit. The last challenge was the 66ft vertical scramble net; what a relief to eventually reach the summit at 2126ft. After what seemed like a long walk back to base, I bought the Tee Shirt and the photographs from the Honister shop. Upon returning home from the Lake District, I viewed the pictures on my laptop I could not believe the photos of me on the sheer rock faces. To those of you who have completed the Via Ferrata in the past and think what on earth is Keith on about, there are now 2 Via Ferrata climbs, the Classic a gentle climb, and the EXTREME which your writer endured. Next year I think I'll take the Sunday Walk! Thanks to Jane for organising the event.

Go Ape in Whinlatter Forest - Barry Fitzhugh

Another bright sunny day and eight of us headed to Whinlatter Forest Centre and Go-Ape. The centre has walking trails, segways, cycle tracks as well as the Go Ape course.

After the usual safety checks we were off. The course has five separate sections with several crossings of various difficulty. Alison went first and we kept the same order as it worked well with no-one getting held up. We found the most difficult crossing was steel circles at the end of 6-foot ropes, which moved in all directions when weight was applied. Another different one was 3 logs hanging in line which also moved all ways. There was a slightly easier route if you didn't want to do these. At the end of each section there was a zip wire back down and a walk to the next section. On the zip wires most of landed backwards, getting covered in wood chippings - mine kindly being brushed off by Janet! The last and longest zip wire was over the car park -slightly more unnerving than over trees.

It took about 2 hours to get round; most found it more physical than anticipated but all enjoyed the circuit.

Thanks to Jane and Dave for organising a great weekend.

Sunday Walk - Bob Wakefield

Sunday Walk Group1) Some parts of Richard's body turned up for the walk, others protested that they had a note from their mother.

2) Two plonkers who shall remain nameless (Jane and me) had let our bus passes expire.

3)An open topped bus ride took us on the first part of the adventure as the post honeymooners caught a leafy bouquet. Dave should have placed it behind Hillary's ear, rather than in it!

4) Lodore to Hawes End via water taxi was idyllic. The Lake District at its very, very best.

5) Dennis like Hikaru Sulu, plotted a course with map and compass. All systems were go; uphill, uphill and a bit more uphill.

6) Ann stated she had been bitten by a flying thingy. It turned out to be only a Cumbrian love bite.

Waiting for the Bus7) The flying thingy put its teeth back in and set to making a meal out of Jude.

8) The cataclysmic sound of a cat trying to go to the toilet with its bum sewn up, rang through the forest when Christine walked into a low hanging bough. "Ouch that hurt", then falling back onto Janette and a muddy puddle, signalled all was OK as an oversize egg grew on her forehead.

9)Dennis explained how to use a map and compass to find a planned route. The 50+ WhereTheHellAreWe pioneers nodded in agreement as the advice sailed over our heads.

10) How Janette removed her vest, fully dressed, whilst standing up, will remain a mystery. The sound of the wet thwack however when it hit the ground, will remain with most of us for a long while.

11) We walked up it, down it, round it, under it, over it, On the Busthrough it, fell over it, slipped on it, tripped over it, a few even stepped in it! The group continued as if we were in searching for something. We didn't find it, but as the last discords faded away our facial expressions twisted into the determined expression of a group who intended to go on looking.

12) Eventually Jane's nose twitched as the tea shop beckoned, not the first full tea shop but the second!

13) Bus on time back to Glaramara? Two said plonkers having to pay. This time Ann enjoyed a hefty whipping on the upper deck.

14) By this time Richard had made a miraculous recovery, convalescing on the wonder drugs of beer and World Cup football.

15) Really wonderful walk, unspoilt views, mirror lake, blue skies, great company, bit warm and sweaty but not too strenuous. Thank you, Jane for organising.

THE GANG (minus three)

The Gang

HERE ENDETH THE ACCOUNT OF OUR 12th LAKES WEEKEND AND OUR 10th VISIT TO GLARAMARA. MANY THANKS TO ALL THE CONTRIBUTORS, MOST OF WHOM DIDN'T NEED THEIR ARMS TWISTING BEHIND THEIR BACKS! SEE YOU NEXT YEAR?

 

Wyboston Water Park - Judith Sampson

"It's a beautiful day. The sun is shining. I feel good. And nothing's gonna stop me now......"

I couldn't have had a better song on the car radio as we pulled into the car park at Wyboston Lakes. The sun was shining, the water sparkled, the Water Park appeared before us, beckoning us in.

A short safety briefing, a rather longer time struggling into our wet suits and we were ready for the plunge. The water was warm! It really couldn't have been more perfect.

There was a whole course of activities and the hour just flew by. We clambered out of the water onto rafts, climbed to the top of towers and slid down, negotiated our way round obstacle courses, swung on ropes and dropped with a shriek! But best of all was the Aqua Blaster that cannoned me up into the air from a sitting position and down, down into the water.

Some of us were more daring and energetic than others (Barry) but we all had a really good time. The young men who were the safety guards were well impressed!

A hot shower was followed by coffee and excellent cake and we all agreed that this was something we wanted to do again and again. Well, next year at least. We were quite a small group and I'd urge any member to try it if they get the chance. It was such fun!

Many thanks to Sue for organising this great activity.

 

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July

AnnualL Barbeque & Games Afternoon - Jane Thurland

For the first time on a Saturday afternoon (which worked very well) we met for the Annual Barbeque. A variety of tasty fayre arrived in ice boxes and picnic baskets. Then in the age-old tradition of Man's fascination with fire, it was mainly the guys who were found with tongs in hand, fanning the flames over the charcoal.

With the rising temperatures, it was not just the sausages that sizzled, so definitely hats, sunscreen and finding some shade were the order of the day. But as always it was a great opportunity to catch up and socialise in a relaxed environment. With the heat it took a little more effort to rise from our chairs to partake in more active pursuits. There were a few takers for the croquet, but then more general participation and competitive spirit in the rounders with able bowling from Dave and Janette. It was played with zest and enthusiasm, a little too much on one occasion when our beloved organiser Pauline received a whack from an over vigorous release of the bat, whilst an opponent was running to base. Thankfully no serious damage, with Pauline bravely soldering on behind the wicket.

An enjoyable afternoon. Thanks to Pauline for her usual proficient organisation of the event.

Summer Walk and Picnic - Maggie Marshall

It was hot, hot, hot, as we set off along the River Ouse, thankful for the cooling breeze off the water, watching the boats gently pottering along. Crossing the meadow, we made for our first stop in the shade. Drinks all round (water that is). We wandered slowly through the lovely villages of Hemmingford Grey and Hemmingford Abbots. At Hemmingford Grey some of us had a potted history of the Manor House from the tour guide. It was originally bought by Oliver Cromwell's father and is now owned by descendants of Lucy Boston, who wrote the Green Knowle children's books. It is well worth visit on a summer Sunday afternoon, lovely gardens too. Lots of other historic properties in the villages.

Summer Walk

Our next stop was by a tiny riverside church where they had just finished a Waterman's Service held outside under the trees. Suitably refreshed we walked on by the river crossing towards the meadow which led to Houghton Mill, our lunch stop. With two cafes and a pub in the village of Houghton and lots of picnic benches by the mill it was an ideal place to break and we enjoyed our lunch in a shady spot followed by a cooling ice-cream. Lots of people in the river cooling off, it was just like the seaside!

The first half of our walk completed, Jenny assured us that the second half would be shady; we followed her along the thicket path through the trees, Richard and Mick acting as back markers in case we lost anyone. We dodged cyclists coming both ways, often with little warning, and arrived safely back by the church of All Saints St Ives, which had a beautiful painted screen and statues of the saints. A few stayed for afternoon tea in the grounds but after thanking Jenny for a lovely walk our group dispersed into St Ives.

So thank you Jenny for another pretty walk with lots of shade on a very hot day.

White Water Rafting - Hilary Cave

Rafting GroupOn yet another of our glorious summer days 12 participants and five spectators gathered at Nene Whitewater Centre for a morning of fun and not getting too wet! After watching a safety briefing, our instructor Elliot took us down to get kitted out in wetsuit, helmet and life jacket, then it was off to see our boat and for more practical instruction on where to sit (namely as near to the edge without falling off), how to hold the oar and commands he will use while out on the water. Then it was off to the water carrying our boat, all looked pretty calm as we entered the water in our boat, down a couple of small rapids and around the corner. The first to go overboard was our organiser quickly followed by his wife (I don't think they could bear to be parted!). When we got to the end we all climbed out and took the boat to the beginning to have another go in different seat positions, this time we went alongside the biggest rapid and tried to paddle ourselves out to no avail, so was instructed to jump out into the water one at a time, there was a cry from the front saying 'I think not' - be rest assured he DID go over!

RaftingRafting 2

We all had several goes at water bombing into the water, we then got back into the boat for a final run, I was secretly priding myself at not falling out of the boat then we hit one of the obstacles at a funny angle and over I went. I think poor Hilary got the record tho' for falling out most. This was my first time at rafting and I thoroughly enjoyed it; another one ticked off the list! Thank you, Dave for organising the event, a Sunday morning well spent.

Go Karting Pauline - Ashby

Ready for the offThe podium11 intrepid petrol-heads gathered at Whilton Mill track for an afternoon of exciting racing including heats, semi-finals and the grand final. After donning the racing gear, they headed off for a few practice laps before the serious racing began. After several heats in glorious sunshine, the heavens opened for a few minutes, making the track incredibly slippery and adding 10 seconds to most lap times. The track dried out very quickly and after two semi-finals the Grand Final commenced. Steve Pelling was in pole position followed by Alison Andrews, Mick Cook, Bob Gibson and John Kemp. The winner, with a fastest lap time of 34.029, was Alison. Second was Steve P and third was Mick C. The heavens opened again and included a hail storm, so we had the medal ceremony indoors. The fastest lap of the day was just under 34 seconds and a special mention must be made to Elizabeth Rush. Although Elizabeth doesn't drive, throughout the afternoon she managed to knock 20 seconds off her first few lap times. It just goes to show that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

 

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August

 

HERRINGS GREEN ACTIVITY CENTRE:

Falconry Experience - Pauline Ashby

Falconry-2After looking at all the birds at the centre - including a beautiful owl named Tilly - we all had a chance to hold a Bald Eagle. The "bald" part comes from black and white feathers (piebald), not from "bald" as in no hair. The bird was much heavier than I expected and tried to eat the leaves on my T-shirt. We then went and watched the flying display, which was one of the best I have ever seen. Pelicans walked amongst us and hawks swooped low over our heads. All the staff at Herrings Green were very knowledgeable and made our day most enjoyable. After the display we headed off to the Archery and shooting range for the rest of our visit.

Air Rifles, Crossbows, Archery And Laser Clay - Carole Houghton

After rehydrating with ice cream, lollies and cold drinks, as advised by Owen our guide for the day, we went off to take aim with air rifles, crossbows, bows and arrows and laser clay shooting. Have we seen or even used any of these objects? was Owen's question to which 18 50+'s answered of course we have seen them and used them - but maybe not very successfully. After safety instructions and how to use/fire them and learning that a Cock-Up IS a technical term for putting your arrow on the bow correctly and two fingers isn't rude, it's how to place them on the string!! We were then split into two groups. My group were first to use the air rifles. There were some good shots but that darn rabbit would not bite the dust. All change and the groups swapped over, it was now our turn with the crossbow, bow and arrows. Zombies were hit by crossbows and the target was hit by the arrows. Owen made me take a walk of shame over to the target and pointed out that I had missed the target but had split the wood of the easel it stood on with my arrow "beat that William Tell!" Pauline then pointed out that I may be the first member of the 50+ club to have an ASBO served on me after the incident at the BBQ Games and now pure vandalism. Laser Clay Shooting was next in which we all took part.

There were five guns, so we took it in turns. When you shot at the clay the gun was silent which made you think you hadn't either fired or shot anything. Sadly, mostly the latter and all but three of us achieved. Two of the group scored two shots so had a shootout, Tim being declared champion, Pauline presented him with a bunch of weeds... sorry bouquet. We all had a great day and again fantastic weather. Thank you, Pauline, for organising a great afternoon packed full of information and fun.

Kayaking - Frank Jenkins

Group photoKayaking-1We met our group of 11 quite early on a Sunday morning (9.15) at Yarwell Mill Country Park, on the Nene. After a short on shore safety and instruction session amid the smell of the campers' sizzling sausages and bacon (no time for us to dwell on these), we launched our kayaks into the water. It was about now that we discovered that the difference between canoes and kayaks was that the later are a little less stable and remarkably more inclined to allow the ingress of water; undeterred by this we set off. Despite the protests of a nearby angler who had (foolishly) made an earlier decision to cast his line on our route, Dan our guide took us through instruction on how to turn to the left, right, forward, back and rather surprisingly sideways (this final manoeuvre resulted in one of our crew unorthodoxly viewing his craft from underneath).

Kayaking-2About half way around our circuit we were able to swap between double and single kayaks. We continued our circular route past some multimillion pound Grand Design homes. Dan then asked if any of us were competitive (!!!). The races were enthusiastically fought with increased levels of water both inside kayaks and clothing. Our final challenge was to kayak with our eyes closed..... unfortunately this was very close to the fisherman who we had met earlier However, a nod and smile ensured a safe passage. Yarwell Mill Country Park will be worth another visit as it continues to grow and develop.

 

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September

 

5 Go Windsurfing (with apologies to Enid Blyton) - Bob Gibson

Group photoSurfing-1"Come on!" said Amanda and Alison," You boys are so slow!" They'd been given instruction by Mick who knew a thing or two about getting tenderfoots up and scooting along on the water. "At least it's a super sunny day" said Alison, "although maybe a little more breeze would make it just perfect" Dave (showing the confidence of an experienced hand), Martin and their faithful companion Bobby finally managed to get their wet suits zipped-up and themselves and their boards into the water.

surfing-2Before long, all five had had a jolly ride in Mick's boat and were some distance from the shore. Mick gave us all a cheery smile and with a "Just remember everything I told you and you'll have a great time!" we were climbing on our boards.

It wasn't long before all the sails could be seen pointing up at the sky and heading for shore. Most hadn't got the hang of turning round just yet and poor Bobby kept falling in the water. Still he did seem to be enjoying himself and even he caught the wind from time to time and made his way to the shallow water.

An hour and many boat rides back to deeper water later, we headed back to the quayside. Dave was quite pleased that he'd been able to remember his past skills, Alison and Martin were both pleased that they'd pretty well got the hang of it and Bobby, tired though he was with all the clambering back on his board, was smiling too. Amanda though, pointed out to everyone that her hair and hands were still dry. If we'd had the energy we might well have given miss goody-two-shoes a good soaking.

Seriously though, I loved it and am looking forward to fitting some lessons into next year's schedule.

Thanks Dave for a great afternoon.

HADRIAN'S WALL

A Canny Shank* - Day 1 - Carol Pullen

Day-1After a briefing from Jenny the previous evening, we all knew to meet at the bus station at Hexham (or appropriate stops) for the AD122 service that goes to and fro along the wall, picking up or dropping off walkers where they want. We started our canny shank at Tower Tye, walking into a very strong breeze, but the weather was fine and sunny. Along this part of the route the original wall has disappeared in places but it was very clear why the Romans picked this part of the country to build the wall in AD122 (now you know why the bus is so called!); high cliffs and wild country on both sides and we could imagine the Picts and the ancient Britons (not the Scots because they were further North) having a difficult time trying to invade. Jenny told us that this was a 6 - 7 mile walk but we were heading towards 8 miles when we reached the toughest part of the walk that day; two very sharp scrambles down and up gullies that were almost perpendicular and then we saw 'Housesteads' (Roman - Vercovicium) in the distance and after 8¼ miles we stumbled into the Visitor Centre. No stopping for coffee or tea, 'we must catch the 4.30 bus back to Hexham'. The end of a hard day walking for me, but the rest of the group were a lot chipper than me!

Thank you Jenny, for organising an excellent week.  I really mean it!!

*A good walk

Day 2 Chris Crick - (New member)

Day-2Day 2 dawned bright and sunny. After another good cooked breakfast, we popped into Hexham for a look round the farmers’ market. Preparations were underway today for the royal visit of Prince Charles who was visiting the area to officially open The Sill; The National Landscape Discovery Centre.

We then caught the AD122 Hadrian's Wall bus to the next stage of our walk. A strange sight just before the start of our walk had us all quite bemused. A gentleman in his car driving past us had an unusual front seat passenger - a goose with a bow tie, and in the back seats, a rabbit and a dog. Oh, and his wife!

We didn't walk as many miles today as yesterday, but it was still quite challenging as we tackled more uphill parts of the wall. There were some very good sections of the wall visible today. The landscape is stunning but very desolate with views as far as the eye can see.

The walk ended, as all good walks do, at a pub where we were all very grateful for the refreshments.

We then caught the bus back to our accommodation for a well-earned rest before getting ready for our evening meal.

Day 3 - Jenny Walker

Day three of Hadrian's Wall walk started like the previous two, catching the Hadrian's Wall AD122, country bus. This bus proved to be brilliant, announcing the stops along the route, making it easy to reach and explore this Roman heritage. Our party of 19 walkers disembarked at The Sill, a National Landscape Discovery Centre and a brand new 86 bedded Youth Hostel - the roof being fully accessible, with a viewing platform and panoramic views in all directions. Well worth a visit.

Sycamore GapWet DayLeaving The Sill, we walked down the road for half a mile, to reach Steel Rigg. The ascent was very steep, but with a lower easier path available. In true 50+ sprit, the walkers conquering their fear of heights, soon reached the top, to continue along the 'wall'. Sadly our 'good weather disappeared, it rained most of the day and we all got very wet. The terrain I would label strenuous at times, very steep ups and downs. All the walkers did remarkably well, finding their 'hill legs' and reaching our destination - Housesteads Fort. Some found the energy to explore this site, before finding tea and cake and the bus home.

That evening 23 of us enjoyed an end of trip group meal in The County Hotel, in Hexham. Sprits were high, everyone saying how much they had enjoyed the trip.

 

PS from Maggie Walker

Who dashed back to the pub to get his glasses? Having checked the tables in the bar and restaurant he found the friendly waitress. "Have you found any glasses" he said," try your head she replied" then collapsed in a fit of giggles - we think this will keep the locals amused for months.

Don't think we'll be going back there.

Canal Boat Day - Brenda Bumstead

In the LockIt was a miserable, cold, cloudy, rainy morning when we all gathered at Sileby Mill. Quite soon Paul told us our allotted boats, 9 persons per boat and 3 boats, Rumble, Fumble and Jumble and we were off slowly motoring down the river. As we motored along the rain stopped, the clouds cleared and the sun appeared. Along the river we saw many birds, heron, geese, ducks, swans etc. as well as pleasant countryside and many rich people's homes and gardens. On reaching a lock everybody joined in the teamwork of holding the ropes, opening and closing gates, winding up and down the gate paddles, steering the boats in and out of the locks. After motoring for a few hours and going through 3 locks we arrived at the Boat Inn where we stopped for a drink and then went back aboard our boats for lunch. At one time during the lunch break "Happy birthday" was heard coming from one of the boats. Also, someone had provided us with loads of cake. We then turned round and as we motored back more tea was drunk and more cake eaten. We arrived back at Sileby Mill just before 5 o'clock having had a very pleasant day out.

Thank you Paul.

 

 

 

 

AND.......... Mike Buxton (lifted from Facebook)

Forecast pretty dire for our nautical adventure, wipers full belt en-route to our ships. The weather surprisingly eased a bit before embarking on our epic voyage along the Soar. Soon after setting off the sun appeared, it was like gliding on a mirror, really smooth, apart from the throbbing of the diesel, I did have a go at a fight with the tiller, I'm sure it's directly connected to the propeller, I didn't have any mishaps, much to my relief. The scenery was stunning especially when reflected in the water, plenty of wild life, lots of herons and even cows venturing into the water.

Thanks Paul it was a wonderful day with unexpected beautiful weather.

 

 

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