Canoeing on the Ouse - Barry Fitzhugh
19 of us met at Grafham Water Centre on the day summer arrived. First one unnamed couple had forgotten their lunch had to make a quick trip to the village shop. All reunited, we were given instructions for the day by our instructors Emma and Karl. After selecting paddles and buoyancy aids, we packed our valuables into a sealed container and set off in the minibus and Land Rover towing the canoes, for Brampton and the river Ouse.
The canoes were unloaded and two tied together to make raft to carry five people and all the bags, etc.
We then set off on our expedition downstream - Pat, me, Paul Marilyn and Hilary in the raft boat, the rest in doubles, Karl and Emma solo to keep an eye on us. After negotiating some river boats, reeds and willow trees we arrived at a lock. The canoes were taken out and as this was about half way we had our lunch here. As we were waiting for all the boats to be refloated, there was a loud splash - it seems that Lyn's sunglasses had fallen into the river and Keith had gallantly stepped into the shallows to try and find them, but on climbing out slipped back into the water. Once Keith was sorted, we carried on down the rive - lovely views and various birds, including a heron. Karl asked us to stop after a while as Keith's exertions in the river had left him with a badly cut foot, which needed attention. We then carried on and after avoiding more pleasure cruisers we arrived at our destination near Huntingdon. The canoes were reloaded and we travelled back to Grafham after which some of us had a well deserved drink in the pub at Perry.
This was my first experience of canoeing and would definitely do it again. A really good day, which I am sure everyone enjoyed.
Thanks to Paul for organising the event.
Fly Fishing - Jeremy Furnish
Six of us met at Rutland Water, with high hopes of a trout barbeque! The weather was good and we met Malcolm, a very pleasant, informative and helpful teacher. We had a talk about fly fishing, then a practice outside. That was when we found out that casting is not as easy as we had thought. With the short time available, practice did not make perfect, but it did demonstrate the wisdom of Malcolm's insistence on glasses and a hat.
Although we were not then using hooks, the pink tell-tales at the end of the lines did fly about a bit and I made the decision there and then to stand a good distance from anyone with a real hook on his or her line.
We went to the water after the practice and tried to put what we had learned into practice with varying and variable success. I got a good one followed by several bad ones. Malcolm spent the whole time giving us one-to-one help and I think that we all benefitted from this. I abandoned all thought of barbequed trout after the second cast but I still enjoyed myself.
Fly fishing has been said to be a relaxing hobby. When I did it, it was tiring, probably because like all amateurs I tried too hard and the harder you try the worse you get until, probably after years of trying, something clicks. I don't think that it clicked for any of us that day, but we'll see for the future. Thanks Carol for a well organised and enjoyable day. We had a great time.
Lake District 2013 - Written by Anonymous
Firstly a big, big Thank You to Jane and Janette - these things don't just happen, they take an awful lot of planning and organisation and as usual everything went like clockwork - even the weather was kind, so well done.
Who spilt a full pint of beer over a brand new tablecloth at dinner?
Who couldn't finish his pudding and asked if he could hide his strudel under a lady's lemon posset and was told she doesn't get offers like that every day?
Who fell backwards in the Viking Boat, forgetting that oars have a mind of their own?
Who thought they had won the orienteering beating the girls by a mile only to find out it was the other way round?
You guessed it - of course it was Richard
Note to Carole Houghton - 'stuff the washing'.
Here's to getting the 50 Plus members back to Glaramara next year. The best accommodation en-suite, exquisite food, fabulous views, exciting activities and an all round great time.
DON'T MISS OUT IN 2014!
Orienteering (Lakes) - Janette (for The Girls)
Eight of us were taxied up to Whinlatter Forest by David, the owner of Glaramara for orienteering.
We were armed with maps and walkie talkies and given the task of finding as many letters on posts that were scattered over the forest.
Mick decided straight away that this should be the Boys against the Girls! So Mick, Barry, Steve and Richard got off to a flying start whilst us girls (Pat, Glyn. Rachel and Janette) decided to take the top path. However, after walking upwards and upwards decided to go back to (almost) the start..
One and half hours later, we met up at the cafe for tea (provided by the losing team) - thanks Richard and Steve.
The Boys were not convinced that we beat them hands down and even asked for a recount (you can stop sulking now guys).
Fabulous views of the forest and beyond provided for a great afternoon out.
Abseiling (Lakes) - Diane West
3 Old-timers - Diane, John and Mike - and 2 First-timers - Caron and Stuart - teamed up with Leader Simon and his faithful dog for the afternoon abseil. Would we like to do the short slightly scary descent or the much longer difficult one? Being 50+'s we chose the latter - Woden's Crag - a wonderful 60ft drop. We set off laden with ropes, harnesses and helmets accompanied by our intrepid photographer Dennis.
While Simon went off to set up the ropes, we gazed upwards to assess the climb. It looked challenging and awesome and we were ready to go. We got the call and headed upwards through the undergrowth to the very narrow ledge, clipping onto the safety rope; what fantastic views!
The first-timers went first - a little hesitant as they descended - followed by the old-timers. Poses, photo's, swinging about finding our footing; we all had a grand time. We all rushed back for a second go but the dog had lost interest and wandered off. Fortunately Simon stayed behind. Super, exciting, scary; when can we go again?
Viking Boat (Lakes) - Mike Booth
From the jetty we sailed, rape and pillage our aim
It soon became clear t'was to no avail
(O what a shame)
The wind gave up, so no puff in our sail
Stuck out in the lake was to be our fate?
Cries from the crew 'CONCENTRATE'
Turn us about said the captain(s)
'CONCENTRATE' came the shout
I tried once more but all in vain
So 'come on crew, oars in again'
'Row us about to get us on course'
We gave up the task we set out to do
Wanted to go back with the weary crew
Called out the boat to give us a tow
Line attached and off we go
Failed again, as we normally do (?)
But what great fun with a motley crew
Thank you Captain, what a great day out
Yes we will be back of that there's no doubt
Thank you also to the Motley Crew
Ghyll Scrambling (Lakes) - Paul RogersThree of us, namely Carole Houghton, Marilyn and myself got kitted up in warm 'Teddy' suits and old trainers. Our Instructor (sorry, have forgotten his name) then led us to the nearest 'ghyll' which was just past the village of Seatoller at the bottom of Honister Pass. We entered very carefully as it was very rocky and the water was extremely cold. Our instructor walked confidently over the stones as if he was strolling along a flat pavement. We stumbled our way carefully between the rocks and in several places the water came up to our chests taking our breath away. Climbing the waterfalls it became very slippery and once or twice we received a good soaking. Fortunately the suits kept us warm. We eventually arrived at a concrete wall. This was as far as we had gone on a previous occasion, but this time as there was only three of us we continued up the ghyll almost to the top. Eventually, after having had a really enjoyable afternoon, we called it a day and returned to Glaramara to have a hot shower and a cup of tea. Great afternoon enjoyed by all. Sorry, no photos - too wet for cameras!
Climbing (Lakes) - Caron LovelockThis was my first trip away with the 50+ Club & boy, was it good! On Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast, seven of us set of for Shepherd's Crag. When we arrived at the hole in the hedge, Simon our instructor sent us off with his trusty dog to find a rock called Brown Slab, while he took a different route to drop the ropes from the top of the climb. This sounded simple enough! We walked a short distance & found what we thought was the right rock & waited to hear Simon above us. The dog was with us so that was comforting. After a while with no sign of Simon & some deliberation on whether we were in the right place or not, it was agreed that we should go on a bit further so we pressed on. Some of the terrain was a bit dodgy & Dennis our official photographer for the trip, managed to trap one of his digits between a rock, then stand on it squashing it some more. Then we hit the end of the trail & realised the dog had deserted us but eventually we turned back & en route, heard Simon above us asking where had we been. It turned out that the first time we stopped, we had been in the right spot. After some training from Simon, it was time to don our harnesses and rock shoes & get climbing. Some of our group, Diane & Steve or was it Barry? had done some of this before but for others it was the first time. Perfectly safe with someone on the belay, whilst we found foot and hand holds up the crag. For Stuart & me it was a first. Stuart was not at his most comfortable as he has a fear of heights. I enjoyed the climbing & the views from the top across Derwentwater were breathtaking.
HIGH LEVEL FELL WALK (Lakes) Tricia Booth
Nine 50+ members set off to conquer Haystacks lead by Graham our tour leader from Glaramara. We started with a steep incline from Honister state mine and headed towards an old disused house, once the home to workers long ago but now it is only a few weary walkers that shelter from the rain or spend the night there, but with its broken windows and slate beds we were not tempted. From there we headed on up and only stopped to pay our respect to AW at Innominate Tarn where his son is said to have scattered his ashes, then off up to the summit and what should be pulled out of Jane's rucksack (no, not Dennis) but the 50+ flag - so after a pose for the camera and time to admire the views we felt like we had earned lunch. It is not every day we eat lunch in such a beautiful place.
Well what goes up must come down and Graham suggested going back a different way that was also new to him; well, being an adventure club we said yes. This route took us over towards Great Gable ridge which some members will remember from last year but maybe didn't have such a good view as we had, due to the mist. We arrived safely back and all in one piece only slightly worse for wear with only one walker testing how deep the bog was ('knee deep Ann') and yes it is very wet up there and that is without the streams that gush their way down the valley even quicker than the fell runners. Thank you Graham for a lovely day but did you have to tell us it was only classed as a hill at 1959 ft - just a bit short of a mountain? Well being 50+ we may just forget that bit or maybe next year we can top it.
Thank you fellow walkers and to the people who put in all the hard work that went into organising this lovely weekend.
Via Ferrata (Iron Way) (Lakes) - Sheila Guilford.
Six of us had signed up for the 'Extreme' course. Three of us were newbies and three had done the previous version of the course. We were welcomed with a weather forecast - windy with rain coming in later! We kitted up with full waterproofs, helmets, harnesses and so forth. A quick introduction about how to stay safe and we were off. No gentle start but a sheer climb down of about 100 feet and then around a sheer cliff face where photo opportunities were taken. After initial nerves, wondering whether my body was up to it, I settled into comfortable progress. The course was sheltered from the wind and we were able to enjoy the stunning vistas whilst avoiding looking straight down. New elements of the course included a tightrope style bridge - rather wobbly in the middle (or was that my following adventurer swinging it about?) - and a near vertical cargo net - a wobbly structure to match my wobbly legs. I had wanted to have a go at the Via Ferrata ever since I first heard about it and it didn't disappoint. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity and to actually achieve it. Thanks to Jane and Janette for the organisation.
Sunday Walk (Lakes) - Anon
With a shout of 'Lodore, please' to the bus driver, (checking first that we wouldn't overbalance the vehicle if we all sat on the open top) and much flashing of bus passes we set off on our next Lakes adventure, winding our way up the beautiful Borrowdale valley towards Derwentwater where we boarded the Keswick launch. The very elegant boat lady gave us a substantial discount on the fares and we bobbed our way over the Lake, watched over by magnificent Catbells and Skiddaw fells (Cumbrian term for mountains). This was followed by a beautiful walk through woodland and by the water, pausing only for the obligatory group photos taken by a very youthful HPP and a beachside lunch. Ignoring the first teashop in Grange village (we had encountered a less than welcoming proprietor last year) we recuperated with tea and cake in the next one, a super spot in gardens running down to the river by the bridge. This was where, in olden times, the local witches were thrown in; the guilty ones floated and the innocent drowned! (We girls made sure that we crossed over quickly before the men could test the legend). Jane was reunited with her walking pole and we returned to Glaramara, again upstairs on the bus, with much hilarity as we fended off tree branches which threatened to knock us onto the road. Exhausted but still in good spirits, we made our last trek down the drive to Glaramara, some to make the return trip home and the rest staying on for an extra night.
If you want to hear the story of how Richard, Tony and Dennis rescued the lamb that evening, you will need to ask them because it is not being recounted here!)
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