It’s been rather a long time since the last Bummell was issued and the fault is entirely mine. A report had reached me that Nigel Emery thought that the last issue represented best £1 he’d spent, but even that didn’t stir me into action. Ed S nags me constantly and so finally, here it is - the 2006 edition.
A Reminder about who we are and where we are:
Ed Skinner, John Boucher, Barry Roberts, Colin Maher and Ed Wragg meet at infrequent intervals to plan reunion events for ex-members of the Cheltenham YHA Group. We call ourselves The Committee and do try to follow committee procedures (we don’t usually succeed). We used to meet at the Cheese Rollers in Shurdington because there were very few customers and we could always find plenty of space and peace to do our essential planning. The theory was also that the venue should be equally inconvenient for everyone. However, word soon got around that it was a hip place to be (Gwilim’s band started playing there when they found out we held our meetings there) and so we couldn’t get the space or the peace.
We moved on to the Bell, just up the road and a little nearer to Ed W’s house. The Bell was nice and dreary, with few customers and a very occasional jukebox. It suited us fine. However, our fame followed us and word again got round that we hung out there and it was a cool place to be seen. The management decided to promote it as a fashionable gastropub and we had to move on again. Actually, we were there on the opening night and were given an enormous plate of whitebait, presumably in gratitude for bringing about such a large increase in their trade.
We relocated again, this time to the Wheatsheaf in Old Bath Road. Now this did compromise our principle of equality of inconvenience for all, being only a quarter of a mile from Ed W’s house. Fortunately though, it was ideal in other ways, being run-down and always empty. We held three meetings there and then the brewery spotted the way things would go. A new and enterprising landlord moved in, the lounge was redecorated, the seats were reupholstered and now there’s live music there. I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to meet there.
If you’d like to join us, perhaps to inject some new ideas, give Ed Skinner a call, he’s the most organised and will probably know when we’re due to meet next. It would also give Barry a break from having to organise walks because he doesn’t turn up at the meetings.
We held a couple of weekends at Pwll Ddu, a Gloucestershire County Council outdoor centre near Abergavenny, but then it was closed for refurbishment. Ed S reports that £138,000 was spent on it and it has now reopened so we might go back there in the future.
Group Reunion Walk 11 May 2003
I awoke that morning with a nagging doubt in my mind: has anyone planned a route? Probably not, I thought. I’d better take a map and my trusty book of Cotswold walks, just in case, and had a quick look at them before I left home. When I arrived at Seven Springs my doubts were confirmed.
“You’re leading the walk” they said.
“Oh” I said.
“It was decided at the meeting “ they said.
“What meeting?” I said.
“The last committee meeting” they said. “You weren’t there”
“I didn’t know there was a meeting” I said. (I found out later that I had actually written the date in my diary, but of course had forgotten about it, probably the effect of old age again. You know how it is, don’t you?) I began poring over my map (filthy habit, I should stop doing it.)
There then followed the usual milling around and chitchat while we waited for everyone to arrive. While this was going on Colin Maher was sidling up to people with his clipboard and trying to persuade them to write their names and addresses on his form. It was suggested that he wanted someone to send the bill to. Before we set off, I regaled the party with a particularly fine joke about a viper (if you missed this, see me privately). Unfortunately this inspired Brian to dredge up another, from his repertoire of corny mathematicians’ jokes. I should have known better! (Were the jokes or the mathematicians corny? - Editor) I hurriedly headed towards Leckhampton Hill, closely followed by Ed Skinner, John and Sue Boucher, Colin Maher & son, Steve, Colin Hagger, Brian & Gill Wood and sons Andrew & Martin (this is beginning to sound a bit like a builders’ convention - Editor), Richard & Chris Hoy, Pete & Jan Workman and dog, Mike & Mon Wake, Dave & Chris Williams, Jackie Smith, Heather Tibbott, Robin Belton and Bernard Lee, though not necessarily in that order. Ed Wragg and Bob Wilson could not come as they were in Scotland, but Catherine and Rose came and were immediately christened the “Scottish Widows.”
Charlton Kings Common was a fine sight, with a lovely display of cowslips in full bloom. A little further on we came to the remains of a recent and quite extensive bush fire, which had come up the hillside burning mainly old gorse and dry grass. Here I found a Roman snail, one of the hill’s most famous inhabitants, which had escaped being cooked. We were now starting to warm up in the sunshine and we enjoyed a view across Cheltenham that was new to several members of the Group. We continued along the top of the hill to the Trig Point and descended past the old quarry car park to the minor road, and then via Hartley Farm to Hartley Wood. On the way we had a look at the old pump house and mused over all the strange mechanical artefacts we could see through the windows. At this point, we especially missed not having Bob with us, though the dog provided us with ample entertainment and never tired of playing “fetch the stick.” (Bob doesn’t do this).
With perfect timing, the rain began just as we arrived at the Seven Springs Inn for lunch. It is a large pub and heaving with people, who were all ordering food. Eventually we all placed our orders and found tables and the food arrived remarkably quickly. I think everyone was impressed, as the portions were quite large and the prices very reasonable.
Pat Maher joined us for lunch and came with us on the afternoon walk. The rain had stopped and we followed the Cotswold way to Upper Coberley, then down to Coberley and back to Seven Springs, where we said our goodbyes.
Upper Cantref Farm Bunkhouse
Sunday 2nd May 2004
After a good stoke up on cooked breakfast we set off along the lanes at the crack of 10.30. Ed S appointed me as leader and promptly went to the back for the rest of the day. The weather was hazy but soon the sight of the Beacons loomed up above us. “Shall we take the Roman Road or Bryn Teg?” After a protracted debate we opted for the Roman Road (it looked flatter) and headed up towards Bryn y Fan, where we had our second breakfast.
By this time some of the party were getting a bit worried about the aim of the climb - “Is that Pen y Fan up there?” “No that’s Cribyn. It’s just a little hump before you get to the proper hill.”
Alarm bells were ringing as we slogged up Cribyn only to see Pen y Fan towering higher further on. It was at this point that three of us decided not to be beaten, so in the company of Ed W and Brian Wood, I puffed my way up Pen y Fan - the longest 0.27 miles imaginable (remember, Robin had his GPS with him, hence the accuracy! - Editor), while Ed S led the rest of the group down a scary route off Cribyn and back home. By this time we were 3,793 miles from Aden - only one mile further than when we were at Cantref.
We three made our way back along the ridge over Allt Ddu and through the lanes to the ranch. When I arrived, I found that Upper Cantref had moved 0.14 miles according to the GPS! (I don’t recall the earth moving for me that day - Editor) We had covered 11 miles.
After a splendid candle-lit risotto for supper, prepared by Ed W and his team (I blush - Ed) we had a slide show and a good laugh at one another’s expense.
UPPER CANTREF FARM - DAY THREE
They promised me it would be flat……………..
After two days in the Brecon Beacons I was looking forward to a steady stroll on the flat. So today all nine vehicles were driven to Pencelli and parked up in a very large lay-by. From here we took a very short walk down to the towpath alongside the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, and WHEY………….! It was FLAT.
Advancement along the canal was at the Group’s usual leisurely pace, stopping occasionally to watch narrow boats negotiate bridges, or families of ducklings looking for adventure. One group of ducklings was observed to consist of seventeen members, about which Lucy was heard to comment “how on earth can she sit on that many eggs?”
After all this pondering and meandering, lunchtime beckoned and in true YHA style we found a suitable hostelry at Talybont-on-Usk. After refreshments the return meander commenced.
There being no suitable alternative route, except ones including hill climbs, we retraced our steps along the canal towpath to return to the cars and hence back home. A most agreeable walk!
MINUTES OF COMMITTEE MEETINGS (a bit compressed)
8/4/03 at the Bell
Present: Ed S, Ed W, John B, Colin M
Matters from last meeting: Most people notified of forthcoming local walk; Barry (by default, because he wasn’t there to object) & John to lead; Ed S to list those coming; John to obtain email addresses.
Pwll Ddu: Reply from Vernon that there may be building work there next spring; Ed S to find out more; alternative suggestions - go in the autumn, go to a similar place to BPU which Ros knows, in the Peak District
Bummel: Ed W has written article on last year’s Cadbury Cup, hopes to have edition out in time for the walk.
8/7/03 at the Bell
Present: all five members!!
Leckhampton walk: Agreed that it had been a great success; 27 turned up; weather very good; Barry had done a great job of leading; Colin had obtained a list of addresses; Barry had done a write up for the Bummel; Colin has sent Brian Wood some photos and email addresses and collected £24 from those present.
2004 Weekend: As Pwll Ddu was not guaranteed to be available next spring, it was agreed to provisionally book a bunkhouse at Upper Cantref, near Brecon, for two nights; John to make up a leaflet.
Cadbury Cup: Ed W to ask Gloucestershire Outdoor Group for details
6/4/04 at the Wheatsheaf
Present: Ed S, Ed W, John B, Colin M
Apologies: Barry R (dipping out again - Editor)
Previous minutes OK. John grumbled that he wasn’t told about the new venue (He preferred to cycle in the rain and would not have driven if he’d realised.) OK to park and leave our gear at Cantref bunkhouse on Saturday morning. Bill for bunkhouse has been paid in full. Food for weekend: fish & chips in Brecon Saturday; Ed W to cook risotto, soup, cake & custard on Sunday; one healthy breakfast & one unhealthy; Ed S to buy.
Next walk Sunday 24th April 2005
Treasurer’s report (Colin): £22 in the kitty!!!
15/6/04 at the Wheatsheaf
Present: John B, Ed S, Colin, Ed W, Bob Wilson (observer)
Brecon weekend: went well; accommodation good; weather good; Robin & Pat had sent in write ups for the Sunday and Monday walks; Brian had agreed to do Saturday’s.
Correspondence: letters from Gillian and Robin saying how much they had enjoyed the weekend.
Accounts: Colin had audited the postage and telephone records and found them correct; also checked the Brecon weekend accounts
Future Reunions: Agreed to stick to the alternate year set up for local walks and weekends away.
2005: 24/4/05 Walk in Stanway/Toddington area - Barry to organise (he wasn’t there to object! - Editor)
2006: May Day bank holiday - South Wales.
Bummell: Ed W reckoned he now had sufficient material to put another issue together.
(We’ve had more meetings since then, but I think Ed has lost interest in writing up the minutes)
Some more pictures (inserted to get better value for money from this page)
Ed Skinner 01452 305525
John Boucher 01242 581300
Colin Maher 01242 511285
Barry Roberts 01452 859274
Ed Wragg 01242 242766
All pictures courtesy of Colin.
Brecon Weekend 2006
Do we have your email address? Local walk 2007