June Write ups
Friday Day 1 of this trip began early for some of us when we sat sipping some homemade Sloe Gin prior to enjoying a very fine meal in jolly company at The Pleasure Boat Inn all decorated with little lights on Hickling Broad.
Saturday we made a foray down to the beach passing an alarming sign BEWARE OF ADDERS. An old sea dog stood alone on the beach watching the waves - lost in thought (Cecil).
Sunday Jenny and Lucy arose early and attacked 3 loaves - making a fantastic picnic for the crew of the Wherry. At Womack Water after the safety briefing and the donning of life jackets and a little quanting The Albion 1898 was under way. We had been warned that the day might be under constraints because of strong winds. We were passing many unusual birds like the great crested grebe. Expensive holiday homes slid by with manicured gardens right to the waters' edge. Even matching thatched boat houses and a play house for children of the super-rich.
Lunchtime and moored up opposite The Ferry Inn every one of our jolly band sat in the bowels of the old lady at a long wooden table flanked by wooden benches enjoying a wonderful repast. Afterwards we took time for a revelatory short walk through the Bure Marsh Nature Reserve where we saw orchids, water lilies and many birds. On our return, the American Wheel Steamer bursting with "well oiled" customers were taking photos of us taking photos of them.
It was momentous to see our heavy black sail catch and fill with wind and hear the creaking of the otherwise silent boat. Note: The local regatta had to be abandoned as it was too windy! It was an amazing feeling to take the strong wooden helm and to be in control of such a magnificent craft. By the time we slid into Womack Water we all felt very happy at a day well spent.
A huge thank you to Jenny not only for her sterling organising but for the lovely cakes she so generously made.
We are Sharon and Tracy (no jokes please) and this was our first outing with the 50+rs. We actually made it to Kettering car park without getting lost and hopped onto the mini-bus joining Jane, Dennis and all our other intrepid adventurers. Everyone was very friendly as Jane introduced us all.
We arrived at Chatsworth house in Derbyshire at about 10.30ish, booted up and raring to go but out came the choccy bars and drinks so felt we had to indulge.
The weather was great, we were fed and watered so now for the off. Jeremy set the pace as we walked through the beautiful Derbyshire countryside and after walking for a couple of hours we stopped beside a lake for our picnic lunch. A nap would have been nice but we had to go. The next rest stop was at Chatsworth house for an ice cream.
The final leg of the walk was uphill so we had to stop and admire the view, more than once. We finished our walk at the garden centre where tea and cakes were enjoyed by all
What a great day, but now feel we need to go for another 8 miles to work off all that food.
Picture a beautiful early summer's day. The sun shining and gently warming our band of paddlers. Ducks parading their new chicks. A fluffy cloud floating by as we drifted leisurely along the River Nene, reputedly the slowest flowing river in Europe. The scenery was surprisingly beautiful. The view from the water so different from that of the occasional passers-by who were astonished to see a group of the more mature on a fine day out.
We picked up our canoes at Ditchford Lock near Irthlingborough and were driven to Thrapston to launch onto the water after a safety briefing. In all, there are 4 locks to navigate along the stretch of the river that we tackled. This meant getting the canoe out of the water and manhandling it over to the other side of the lock.
Our first goal was the King's Head at Wadenhoe where we stopped for a very welcome stretch of the legs and pint of beer in the lovely garden by the river. This was quickly followed by our picnic by the lock. At this point I realised, as a new member of the club, that my friendly question, "Have you been a member of the 50+ club for very long?" translates as "You look old" - must remember to rephrase that one!
Then, apart from avoiding the occasional passing barges and dealing with a couple more locks, it was plain paddling to our end point which was Barnwell Mill at Oundle. We arrived back safe and sound and happily exhausted. The minibus back to Irthlingborough was a very welcome sight.
Memorable points of the day for me were:
A man-overboard moment (no names here) which was resolved quickly and sensibly
Lovely pint of real ale at Wadenhoe
Friendly welcome as always from all
The lovely weather and scenery viewed from the river
Many thanks to Jane for organising the day.
My first adventure with the club was the Multi Activity Day at the Avalanche Centre at Sibbertoft. Four activities were on offer - Digger Driving, Buggy Racing, Argo Cat Driving and Blindfold Driving. Most members had signed up for 2 activities but being new and enthusiastic I had signed up for 3 so I went from one event straight onto the next.
My first activity was Digger Driving. Our aim was to scoop up soil in the bucket and deposit it in each of 4 large barrels. As our group seemed to be taking more than the allotted time, our instructor decided that 2 scoops in each barrel would be enough.
After this activity I was immediately sent to get dressed for the buggy racing. This entailed waterproof trousers and jacket, goggles, gloves and helmet. Everything was covered except the face which ended up mud splattered (a free mud pack). 4 members were in the activity and we raced around the track, which became more muddy with the rain showers.
My last task was to drive an Argo Cat. The first time round the course we were shown how to drive it. The second time round was our turn. I didn't do very well on this as I was braking and accelerating at the same time. By the third go I had given up and asked the Instructor to drive me round the course as we had now progressed to going over hills and through the water. The other two ladies with me persevered and drove themselves round. Luckily for me it then started to rain heavily so we returned to the Land Rover and that was my experience over.
Multi Activity Day (2) - Ann Cook
Another new experience for me, Racing Gemini Buggies at Sibbertoft. Twelve of us signed up for this event and although Mick achieved the best track time over the three sessions, conditions changed so quickly it was anyone's race really. But we all managed to get around the rough figure of eight in under a minute with Roger’s time second and mine third. I think we three cleared the track of puddles in the first run so that the others could have a dryer run.
The real challenge of the day was staying clean - it was impossible, showery weather, muddy track, you get the picture, but it was terrific fun. All decked out in waterproofs helmet and goggles, mud still managed to get in and under it all. The main thing to remember was to keep your mouth shut whilst in motion, there were no mud guards on these vehicles!
Thanks Anne for organising a great day out.
The sun decided to come out for our orienteering day. Competitors arrived in an array of footwear from walking boots to flimsy sandals.
Frank and I teamed up with sisters Tracy and Sharon and at 10 o'clock we were off! Two hours to do the course, but it turned out to be a lot harder than it seemed in my school days. After half the time had gone we had found only 2 marker posts - for some reason we thought they would be on the footpaths, how wrong we were! At one point we even considered hiring a hang glider from the field next to Fermyn Woods, hoping we could see the markers from up above! But instead, we hurriedly started scrambling through the undergrowth and our luck seemed to change.
Tracy and Sharon consumed a flask of coffee which revitalised them; they started running up hill and down dale, they ran everywhere for the last half hour (I have to admit I let them carry on, I found a seat and did not move for at least five minutes!). After a last minute dash around the visitor centre trying to answer the added questions, we admitted defeat and handed in our paperwork. We were even penalised for arriving back late, I thought one point for every minute over time was quite harsh but rules are rules. Oh, that cool drink tasted so sweet.
Frank and I left in a hurry - not to find more marker posts and not in embarrassment - we wanted to watch the F1 Grand Prix - honest! Tracey telephoned to say our team came 8th out of 10 teams, so our team name was quite appropriate - THE NO HOPERS. Please note, all other teams - we saw you split up and go in different directions looking for clues, so we know how you beat us and we are ready and looking forward to beating all of you in the next outing. It was a good morning - thank you.
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