Trip to Two London Bridges - Diane and John West
A coach load of 50+ers rose early to head for the Big Smoke; most were taking part in the Bridge visits; others had their own plans. Our talented driver Paul navigated us to the foot of The Shard (easy - it's the tallest building in Europe!) and just a short walk to The London Bridge Experience for an interactive journey through London's murky past. We entered into darkness and narrow corridors with screams and wind and 'things' lunging at us; dangling heads, chopped limbs and frightening noises. Real actors appeared to tell gruesome tales of the past. We went through 'The Squeeze', a narrow inflated area where you pushed hard to get through to reach the Mortuary with an actor enjoying telling lurid tales. We finished on a wobbly walkway surrounded by a disorienting kaleidoscope of colours. About 30 minutes of excitement; hope no members had nightmares!
We came out to a beautiful sunny day and throngs of tourists; then onto lunch at Butler's Wharf, alongside the river, followed by a short walk to Tower Bridge for our next adventure. Carol had found us 2 excellent tour guides to take us around. We went to the upper level of one tower and walked across to the other over the glass floor; some members overcoming their fears to walk on the glass and look down to the roadway and river. With perfect timing Carol got us to the centre to look down and see the bridge lift and a sailing ship pass through; a great experience.
Finally we walked across the bridge and past the Tower of London to rejoin our coach; though our journey home was delayed by demonstrations and road works. No matter, we had had a marvellous time.
Thank you Carol for a great day out and all the work to put it together.
Farm Visit - Tricia Booth
We started the day with a walk from the farm across the beautiful countryside of Leicestershire where the wild flowers were at their best and views to die for. After a 4 mile walk we arrived back in Somerby in time to have a bite to eat at the award winning Stilton Cheese pub, then off we went to meet up with Jane Barnes, the farmers wife to start our tour. Jane told us how her family is building up the herd of Ayrshire cattle that supply the milk to make the famous Stilton Cheese; when the protein levels are high the money they get paid increases. We then had a walk up the fields to visit a very vocal bull and the girls (the cows) who were munching away at the rich grass; they all have collars on with a number so they know how much milk each one produces. Then off we went to the barns where earlier in the day a calf called Sunshine 1 had been born; she will stay with her mother for 24 hours then join the other babies to be feed formula milk and mum will go back to the field with her friends to be milked twice daily.
Next we took a look at the small milking parlour and dairy room (which cost more than my house) filled a jug with chilled milk and then off to the old dairy to taste the cheese.
Did you know that milk is only 4% fat? (not to sure about the scones, crackers and fruit bread!).
We had a lovely day and I am so glad that we have such dedicated and hard working farmers to give us all this wonderful food; it is so easy for us to go to the shop and just pick it off the shelf without a thought of how it is produced.
If you would like to follow Southfields Farm Somerby you can visit Jane Barnes on Facebook.
White Water Rafting - Mags Walker
On Saturday 13 June 12 intrepid members of the club rendezvoused at the Northampton White Water Centre on a wet but reasonably warm morning to experience their white water rafting course. Some in the party had done this activity previously and clearly had enjoyed it enough to go back again. Sheila was particularly pleased as she had not been able to do any water based activities for months due to a foot injury, but thankfully she was given the go ahead to participate.
There were many people who, like me, had never attempted white water rafting, so it was a new and exciting experience.
To be honest the rain wasn't a problem as we were soon all soaked to the skin, but snug wetsuits and cagoules prevented that from being too much of an issue. We were joined by two young men doing the activity independently, and were separated into 3 separate rafts, two with 4 people in them and one with six, plus an instructor for each boat. Initially we had to carry the rafts to the river, so I was pleased to be in the 6 man boat as that lightened the load. We paddled across the river, dismounted to manhandle the rafts across a small weir and then carried the boats up to the start of the course.
By this point we had been coached in how to manoeuvre the craft, so we set off on a thrilling ride to the bottom, through gulleys and waterfalls, back to the base pool. We then carried the rafts back up tot the start to do it all over again. We did a total of 4 runs, but on the third and fourth runs the instructors made us face into a waterfall and lean into the water flow, so we all got thoroughly soaked. Only one person fell out of our craft, bless Janet, she did laugh about it. Finally we all took turns to jump into the waterfall flow in superman and other mad poses, and then we floated feet first on our backs and down the waterfall.
It was a great day and I am looking forward to the tubing event on the same course at the end of August!
LAKE DISTRICT ACTIVITY WEEKEND
Friday Evening Ice Breaker
"Can you remember any instructions for more than 7 seconds?" was a more fitting title for this hilarious start to our much anticipated weekend with our old friends at Glaramara. As the majority of us needed an excuse for blundering through an hour of mind-bending problems we all blamed it on the long drive up the M6 and the distraction of the surrounding scenery. Remembering the location of 40 individually numbered discs, shouting them out in order and running (yes, running) back to the start line, getting a team of 7 over shark-infested waters with two planks of wood then the logistics of running (yes, running again) through a whirling skipping rope without finishing up in A&E proved far more difficult than anyone could ever imagine. As usual, Glaramara Graham's patience with what seemed to be a group of candidates for the local Alzheimer's Society knew no bounds. It certainly gave us an appetite for dinner!
Lakes Weekend - Canoeing - Richard Stanley (one of the FBs)
Mr Platty - the boat yard owner - greeted us saying it would be best if the 2 overweight illegitimate men could sit in the middle of the boat to give it ballast and the other 6 position themselves round us! As there were 10 of us Sheila and John went in a 2-man canoe and we set off on a calm Derwentwater. We were treated to tales by Platty - Swallows and Amazons is being filmed in July and the island location and the boats to be used were pointed out. The two FBs were squabbling over their rowing technical ability and oars cracked together a few times.After landing on an island, Jude and her sister Jan swapped places and went in the smaller canoe on the way back. We were treated to a tale about the protected Barnacle Geese who, instead of migrating to the Arctic Circle, travel a few miles up the road to Lake Coniston (what sensible birds) and then come back to Derwentwater to nest but so many of them on a small island means that their droppings are killing the trees. We arrived safely back at the boatyard disappointed that the hen party had left and we had missed them paddle boarding in their neon bikinis! A lovely morning out.
Lakes Weekend - Climbing - Diane West
Amanda, Dave and myself gathered to go climbing with our Leader Tom. The overnight rain meant we had to go to the Indoor Climbing Walls in Keswick, a short ride away. We viewed all the great climbs - much encouraged by seeing young children climbing and swinging happily in harnesses! There were many choices and graded climbs depending on our abilities and whether we could "give it a go" which we did as we had all climbed before. Tom showed us knots and how to belay as a refresher and we all worked together. We chose handholds and routes of varying difficulties aiming to go ever higher. We had a thoroughly enjoyable time and all of us reached the ceiling - to touch to say we had reached the top and some more than once! Well Done Us and thanks to Tom for his encouragement. A very good morning on a wet day.
Big Thank you to Jane and Janette for organising such a great weekend.
Lakes Weekend - Abseiling - Jane Thurland
Six of us walked up to Quay Foot Quarry to participate in the Abseil; Dave, Hilary, John, Diane, Amanda and myself, joined by our leader Tom. All my companions had abseiled before and approached the event with some excitement but for me there was trepidation, as I have a fear of heights. In the preceding week I had considered asking to change to another activity, but in the spirit of the 50+ adventure club it was time to move outside my comfort zone.
We put on our harnesses and were assured of the safety of such, but this did not curb my rising anxiety. I knew I didn''t want to go first but not last either with too long to think about it.
I ended up going down a further three times and my fellow abseilers were great...totally supportive and encouraging and I learned from their experience and enthusiasm i.e. fearless Amanda and Diana with her James Bond technique.
A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. Thanks to all.
Lakes Weekend - All day fell walk - Barbara Carter
Six of us, John and Janet, Jane, Richard and Sheila and myself, with Simon our leader (and Midge the failed sheep dog) drove to Little Town and started on our walk up to Hindscarth. Quite a lot of scrambling as it got steeper, but well worth it as the mist cleared to reveal wonderful views. Simon said it was 732 mt. to the top. Once on the summit, the weather had deteriorated but Simon amazed us by producing a sort of parachute from his bag and, telling us to hold the ends above our heads whilst in a circle and then pull it down behind us and quickly sit on it, there we all were warm and dry. No soggy sandwiches!
From there we went on to Dale Head and down onto the Allerdale Ramble path to Honister Pass. The weather did improve, the sun shone for us and Simon pointed out some lovely tiny colourful flowers which acted like Venus Fly Traps and grabbed flies and midges.
Lakes Weekend Orienteering & Archery - Tim Holt
A small group of 6 with a fine appreciation of distance and direction only had to find 12 little red bird boxes fixed to various trees in the Johnny Woods, from information on the laminated maps handed out by Graham, our instructor! Each numbered box had a letter which we needed to solve the puzzle - simple. Except not all of us had fully functioning limbs....the ground, boulders and fallen trees were extremely slippery and we had to retreat without ever finding box no.2! We remembered the letters but not which number box they related too - however with our skills in solving anagrams (and a little guidance from Graham) we managed to find the correct answer.
Back to base for the archery session led by our professional - Jude - - lways up for a challenge when there's a drink at stake! We set standards rarely seen at the centre before, all of us managing to hit the target, some nearer the centre than others. Another skill under our belts we retreated to the sunny terrace for a well earned drink. A great afternoon and evening enjoyed by all.
Many thanks for a great week-end.
Lakes Weekend Via Ferrata - Amanda AllenWow! It was so much fun, when I finished I wanted to go again! An exclusive group of 3 travelled to Honister Slate quarry to experience an amazing sky walk. Securely attached to the safety cable and supported by our instructor, the first loop headed vertically down for 20 metres before branching out across steep rock faces and up vertical ladders. If at this point it's not for you, you need go no further. We continued the route to inch our way across the daunting Infiniti Bridge, strung across a breathtaking gorge high up on the mountain 1500 feet above the valley below. The longest in Britain! The final challenge was over a 66 foot vertical scramble net. An unexpected surprise was the beautiful variety of wild flowers on our route. The views were spectacular and we finished by climbing to the summit of Fleetwith Pike. It was the highlight of a fantastic weekend.
Lakes Weekend - Sunday Circuit of Buttermere
With the promise of en-route ice cream, beer and a gourmet packed lunch this really was a no-brainer decision to finish off another fun Lakes weekend. With our Saturday activity stories to share and the breathtaking scenery to admire we soon put 5 miles under our belts (including the Chairman, with his new knee) and were rewarded with all the delights that Buttermere village has to offer i.e. the pub and teashop.
Oh dear, it's all over for another year - see you in July 2016?
Wherry Weekend - Liz Thompson
Jenny and I travelled up to Beccles by car on Saturday morning form the Oliver Twist public house in Irthlingborough.
A very good drive up with no trouble on the main roads then we hit the countryside - whatever did we do before the SAT NAV was thought of?
After meeting up with a few chatty people in Beccles we followed the
Green Trail for between 3 to 4 miles, getting to know each other and in a line looking like the cast from TENKO. Walking through the trees along the river, we expected to see Humphrey Bogart and the African Queen puff by tooting its whistle.
After finding the Kensington hotel and booking in, we should have met up with fellow adventurers for drinks then an early night but we had the early night first.
Up for early breakfast, but the chef was too late for us so we had a banana and a box of dry cereal for breakfast and marched up to the wherry. This did not dampen our adventurous spirit at all.
We all assembled at Oulton Broads and embarked onto a wherry named the Albion. We punted off from the quay and within an hour we all had the angle of the dangle.
After passing a very dilapidated des res all the girls had visions of opening it up for riverside afternoon teas, thus making lots of money for exotic foreign holidays.
With a running commentary from Paul + Trish about the fauna and flora of the countryside we all learned more then we did when at school
'Jenny the hat' had a new fitness regime by having to run up and down the deck of the boat carrying a long thick cable at the captain's command.
After a very interesting and hilarious journey which we would all like to do again we arrived at Cantley to catch the train back to Oulton Broads and the Wherry inn.
I would like to say a big thank you to all who went:
Chris & Frank
Arthur & Maggie
Paul & Marilyn
Lucy, Trish, Jenny the Hat and Jane - especially my mate Jenny H for making this a friendly + hilarious weekend away together. Special thanks to Jenny Walker for the organisation.