Horse Riding - Viv Fiander
John Phillips kindly drove Amanda and myself to our venue, the Park View Equestrian centre. We did at first end up in a cul de sac (that was the fault of the sat nav).
We met up with the other members who were also riding and after filling in our forms we went into the menage and watched children, who were obviously more skilled, enjoying their lesson.
There were eight of us in the novice class. We were told to mount our horses, some used a block to mount and some of us mounted from the ground. I was quite pleased I could cock my leg over, as at my age I have difficulty putting on a pair of knickers.
We had about 30 minutes riding outside getting used the horses. We then proceeded back to the menage where we learnt to steer left and right. We then tried trotting - that was an experience but quite funny. My rear end will never be the same.
I had a lovely time and it was nice to meet some other members of the 50+ Adventure Club.
In all I had a most enjoyable time, thanks to Carol for the organisation.
Lunch at Houghton HouseE (or The Out of County Walk) - Carol Pullen
After assembling at The Hub in Ampthill and waiting for five minutes for someone who had decided that the walk was the following day (we know who you are!!), we set off through the lovely beech woods and our group photograph in front of the First World War memorial. We crossed lovely heathland with heather and gorse and hoped to see an adder but they must have heard us coming.
Then through the centre of the town taking in the lovely thatched cottages, the wisteria that was in full bloom and some extremely well tended allotments that made us green with envy. We walked over the fields to Maulden and views of the Sundon Hills to the south. After a brief stop in Maulden we started to climb to the top of the Greensand Ridge and the views over the Bedford Plain to the north and our next break at the ruins of roofless Houghton House. Thought to be The House Beautiful in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, it has commanding views over the Plain and we stopped here for lunch. Unfortunately not only were the views commanding but we could see the rain coming towards us so we had to find shelter where we could - in a fireplace, in the lee of a wall, wherever!! However it didn't last and within a few minutes we were stripping off in the heat.
Next stop was Ampthill Park where we saw Queen Catherine's Cross commemorating Catherine of Aragon's stay in Ampthill Castle at the time of her divorce from Henry VIII. A short walk to the commemoration cross to the men of the Bedfordshire Regiment who camped and trained there prior to going to France in World War I with a very long list of names of those who did not return home. Very moving.A lovely walk and our thanks to Judith for arranging it.
Norfolk Activity DAYay - Madelin Atkinson
Eleven of us joined up at the ski slope for a fun tubing experience on a nice sunny day - we were started at mid-height on the slope then progressed to more 'dangerous' heights once we gained confidence. We all got so bold that we even managed a circle of all eleven of us bound together. The stop at the bottom was quite fun with such a large group - you could see panic on some faces.
There were no injuries (well at least I didn't see an ambulance arrive!) and we all were spurred on to get down to the tea room for some well-earned refreshments.
The afternoon boat ride on 'Ra' gave great views of the local wildfowl, many of which had obviously made the most of winter and had up to a dozen chicks following them. Two things appealed to the men on the trip, the technical side of the boat, including how powerful it was, and battery life without sun shine also the story of a thin, and obviously sad, man named Taylor who built a tower as a refuge with narrow stairs which his portly wife couldn't access. The wind in the afternoon got a bit chilly and Janet had to get a blanket out for her knees; who would think it was mid-May?
A few us had made it a weekend away in Norfolk to which this event was a lovely conclusion; many thanks to Lyn for organising a varied and enjoyable day out.
Land Paddling - Amanda AllenIt was a select group of six who met for Land Paddling at the Castle Grounds in Tamworth. Overlooked by Tamworth Castle, the Pleasure Grounds have beautiful floral terraces dropping down to the banks of the River Anker and open grassland - ideal for walks and picnics in summer.
Located at the Activity Centre, we were greeted by Chris Kenyon, who was our instructor. He was very friendly and helpful and explained the principles of Land Paddling, so that we all understood what we needed to do. Actually doing it was a little more difficult. It took a while to get your balance and the feel for the board, but it is not complicated and soon we were off and negotiating the bends.
The boards were like skate boards, only longer and wider, with a pole to push off with, so that you can do Land Paddling on a flat surface and control the speed that you are going. The pole is just above your head, in height, and held with two hands, one at the top and one further down. There were a variety of boards to try...and I tried them all! We were equipped with cycle helmets for protection, and one of our group did have a fall, but got up and was plied with tea and refreshments. We had an area outside the Activity Centre to practice our skills, so we didn't need to worry about avoiding or running over the general public!
I gained in confidence as the session progressed, trying different manoeuvres. It was great fun and I would recommend it. I think I need to try Stand Up Paddling next, so if you fall off, it's in the water!
It was in a great location, with plenty of other things to do, including, children's playground, crazy golf, cycle hire, flat green bowling, outdoor gym, the planet walk, skate park and tennis courts, so you could easily make a day of it. There was, of course, a cafe, which we visited before we headed home.
Many thanks to Carol for organising the trip and to Chris our instructor.
Street Rally in St Neots - Sue Evans
We arrived in St Neots on the Sunday of what had been a wet weekend at the end of May. The forecast was for rain but it was fine when we all met by the Ambiance Cafe in the Riverside Car Park.
We booked in with Judith, made up teams of 4 and were given a clipboard with a map of St Neots town centre with 15 points marked on it and two sheets of questions the answers to which we had to find at one of the points marked on the map.
Each team set off at short intervals with a different starting point to each other so that we weren't just following each other round. No prizes for getting back first, the prizes were for getting the answers right.
We all had to be back at the cafe by 1pm. The race wasn't between the teams but with the weather - could we get back before it started raining?
We set off at a fairly leisurely pace and started to look for the clues. After getting half way round the course we managed to go the wrong way - I'm not taking all the blame for that even though I had the map because I did check with another team member that we were going the right way! After getting back on track we then had a job finding the answer to the next clue - we spent some time going round in circles but eventually we found the answer we were looking for and were able to move on.
As we had wasted some time we had to up our pace a bit. With 3 clues to go it started drizzling and then raining so we were a bit damp by the time we got back to the meeting point. However, we we were back by 1pm and we weren't last - the final team got back just by the skin of their teeth.
The teams that got back first took over the Ambiance Cafe for a well earned drink and something to eat. There didn't seem to be any free tables or chairs at 1pm so I am sure the cafe did a roaring trade.
Judith gave us all the answers to all the clues and we very very pleased that we got them all correct. It was chocolate bars all round and then everyone set off for home.
St Neots is a charming riverside town with a friendly and vibrant character and a rich heritage dating back over 1,000 years. The town centre is compact so the two hours we had to find all the clues was enough that a leisurely stroll between all the points was fast enough.
A very enjoyable way to spend a Sunday morning and a big thank you to Judith for organising everything.