West London May Newsletter is available May 2016 Newsletter
Hello, West London Ramblers, and best wishes for another year of good walking
We wanted to make the AGM at the end of our anniversary year a little bit special. A good number of people gathered to reminisce over the old photos and other memoribilia and enjoyed some Christmas socializing and festive fare, including a special iced cake, with a candle for each decade.
Two very important people retired from the committee after many years of dedicated service. Neil Marsland was a member for more years than he cares to remember and our walks organizer for 10 of them, and has religiously taken down details of your walks over the phone. Problems with his eyesight means he can no longer do this, but he has been helping Jackie over last year, and his role will now be subsumed into hers. Alan Ross has been our treasurer, quietly and efficiently, for 13 years, but he, too, has decided to step down. Huge thanks to both of them, and we hope that they will continue to be involved with WL for many years to come. Monika Eady has agreed to take on the role of treasurer, and all other committee members continue in the same roles for the coming year. However, we
would like to extend the scope of the committee by having a few ‘working parties’ in areas such as programme planning, publicity and perhaps holidays. This would enable people to get involved ‘off committee’ in areas which particularly interest them, and save actual committee time for more long-term planning. Please let me or the relevant committee member know if you would like to help in this way – all it would involve is a social get- together a couple of times a year to exchange ideas.
A presentation was made to Alan (l) and Neil (r)
A number of people have at various times asked about opportunities for training, particularly in leading walks and in navigation. Anyone who has access to the internet should check regularly in the volunteer zone of the Ramblers website. It is worth signing up as a ‘volunteer’, which means you will get email alerts about events, including training days, which are free to Ramblers members. Even travelling costs can be paid. The committee is exploring the possibility of offering an evening of basic first aid training which we would encourage walk leaders to attend, but anyone is welcome. Please do let me know if you would appreciate this..
A number of WL members recently attended the funeral of Maureen McQueen, who sadly died on 9 November.
Ann Davis, a long-standing friend, spoke at the funeral, and says this about her: ‘Maureen was a member of West London Ramblers from 1972; she had previously been a keen walker in her beloved north-east. She rambled most Sundays in those early years, joined in weekends and holidays away and made many lifelong friends, most of whom attended her funeral on 27 November. Behind the scenes she helped with the successful running of the group. She was involved in leading walks, was on the committee for a period, hosted committee meetings and in recent years with Bert Neale enveloped and sent out our programmes.
Maureen will be remembered as a bright, cheerful, chatty, smiling person, good company on rambles and at social occasions, a lover of the countryside, parks and gardens. She was also brave and strong especially in recent years as she fought illness and pain. Even in these difficult times she remained interested in the group and joined in when she could. We send our condolences to Bert Neale, Maureen's faithful partner who cared for her to the end. As Bert says, “She was a lovely lady.”’
It won’t come as a surprise to learn that Monika Eady has decided not to go to Palestine in the foreseeable future, but she may think about this again later. David Slater’s proposed holiday in the Yorkshire Dales will not now take place, either, as he ran into difficulty finding accommodation. However, WL has been to Wells on at least two previous occasions, so I am hoping that we will be able to find suitable B&Bs again there. The likely date is 25-29 April, so please contact me by 17 February if you would like to come. Double rooms for single
LAKE DISTRICT LANDSCAPE FLOOD APPEAL
The December floods have caused huge devastation in the Lake District, an area much loved by ramblers. The Friends of the Lake District have set up an appeal to help restore these special places. You can donate by phone (01539 720788) or via their website (www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk). use will probably come at a price, so if you are willing to share, so much the better. I spoke to Bob Scanlan in Keswick after the floods hit in December, and although he said that the devastation in the town was great, he did not think it would affect a holiday in October 2016. We shall know more by the time our next programme comes out. I suggest 17-21 October but there will be further details later.
Just before Christmas we had news of Margaret Spooner, who has settled into a flat with a view of Sydney Harbour, and found a group to walk with. Some walks have been challenging, in temperatures of 36º, but others obviously more relaxing!
Nearer home, 5 intrepid WL walkers braved the engineering works and the inclement forecast to see the New Year in on the South Downs. They must have completed the walk at a fast trot, but did stop for celebratory drinks and nibbles on the top of Ditchling Beacon.
Members will know that WL is part of the Bucks area. This is mainly for historical reasons, and the committee will in the coming months be looking at whether this is our best option for the future. Meanwhile, all members are invited to attend the Area AGM on Saturday 6 February, at the Guide Hut in Ruislip. Full details are given in the December issue of SE Walker. The circular walk preceding the meeting is on our programme – please support this, and then stay for the AGM at 1.45pm.
This is an edited version of the newsletter that get emailed to members.
Hello, West London Ramblers
It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that we are at the tail end of summer already, and that our new programme is full of autumn and winter walks! But nothing can beat a walk on a sunny autumn or a crisp winter day, so there is much to look forward to here. Members will be happy that our traditional new year’s day walk from Hassocks to Lewes, pioneered by Eddie Royce and carried on over so many years by Ken Royce (no relation!) has been revived for 2016 by Howard Densley. All we can hope for is the gift of a sunny day to enjoy it.
Before that, we have a Christmas lunch walk in the Darent Valley on Saturday 19 December which is also becoming a tradition. We shall be returning to the Crown Inn at Shoreham, which made us so welcome last year, and please note that the special menu must be booked with me in advance. And to see us into the new year, David Slater has arranged a lunch to follow Martin’s walk on the morning of Thursday 14 January.
This will be at the Casa Mia Village Restaurant in Pinner Green at 1 pm. Please book your place direct with David by Mon 11 Jan.
There have been a number of holidays this year. After the weekend in Ely in April came a short break in May when a dozen of us enjoyed walks out of Shanklin to Godshill, Appledurcombe Down and Wroxall, and from Brading on the Bembridge Trail.
It was good to be joined by some past members now living in the area. And a small group had a very enjoyable few days on the South Downs in June. Bath did not prove a popular venue for a holiday, so this won’t happen in October, but may be replaced by something in a similar area next spring.
There are already plans afoot for next year. The holiday at the Willersley Castle Hotel in September, mentioned in the last newsletter, is fully booked but David Slater is keeping a waiting list. But well before that, he is inviting members to join him for six day’s walking in Malta, 5-10 April 2016. He says: ‘The walks are not hard, and generally flat. I will be based in the Qawra area and will give advice on local hotels etc, as participants will need to book their own accommodation and flights.’ For further information, please contact David.
Monika Eady is suggesting that WL members might form a group in late April, when the wild flowers are at their best, to visit Palestine, where she spent a week this year and would like to return. She says: ‘We stayed with local families. The Palestinians are very welcoming and I felt safe throughout. The Palestinian guide is flexible and can offer a mix of sight seeing and hiking. To make it financially viable we need a minimum of 6.’ Anyone interested should contact Monika direct and she will arrange a meeting to discuss things further.
The indefatigable David Slater is also in negotiation with our friends from Northumberland (Malcolm McVey led our Northumberland Coast Path holiday last year) for a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales, 22-29 June. More details next time.
And Bob Scanlan has offered a further holiday for us, perhaps tackling the lower fells of Lakeland from Keswick, in the second half of October. Please let me know in advance if you are interested in either so we can assess whether it is feasible to run all these holidays in 2016, or whether it might be best to postpone Keswick until 2017.
Our appeal for new leaders has resulted in several people coming forward. This is excellent – it is obvious that the group cannot function without leaders. But the more we have, the more varied our programme will be. There is a lot of useful information in the Volunteer Zone of the Ramblers website, but WL members are anxious to help and advise, so please give me a call if you would like someone to walk a route out with you.
Many of our current leaders and other members have been helping in what has become known as ‘Ken’s Walk Project’. Ken Royce, who died in 2013, led walks for the group over a period of 50 years or so. The committee felt we would like to honour Ken by recording these walks in some form so that they could continue to be enjoyed in the future.
Ken - always leading the way
We had only the brief descriptions in the programmes to go on, so members have been dredging their memories and poring over maps to reconstruct the walks and describe them. Some 20 have now been walked out, described and checked, and the intention is to post them gradually on the WL website so that other members can try them out and make constructive comments. Pete Grist, our website manager, will be starting to do this quite soon now, so please look out for them. Many thanks to all those who have helped, but especially to Margaret Spooner, who has spent many hours co-ordinating the project. Margaret has now left on her travels for a year, returning to her native Australia via, among other places, the Grand Canyon. Bon voyage, Margaret, and we look forward to hearing many tales of adventure when you return.
Several members help to check the state of paths in our area, but Ramblers have now launched a campaign called the Big Pathwatch, which is a chance for everyone to get involved, as the aim is to survey all the paths in England and Wales! There is a downloadable App which lets you report on the paths in any of the one kilometre squares on the OS Explorer maps. You can choose your own square(s), and the Campaign goes on to 31 December. Why not make this part of a walk with friends? See page 40 of the Summer issue of Walk magazine, or go to www.ramblers.org.uk/bigpathwatch.
In June, we recreated WL’s first walk in 1965 through Henley
It is a little early to be wishing members a Happy Christmas, but your chance to do this will come on Wednesday 16 December, when we hold our AGM and Social Evening. Please come along if you possibly can. This is your chance to have your say about how the group is run, but we try to keep the business section under control so there is time to enjoy one another’s company. We hope to round off this year of celebrating 60 years of WL Ramblers with a slideshow of photographs and other memorabilia, and maybe something special in the way of refreshments. See you there!