C&B Group Walking Holiday based at Sheffield University - August 2019
Good Weather and Excellent Walks - written by Andrew
On a bright sunny morning, August 5th, a party of 53 C&B members had departed Sandon school car park by 8.30am, 49 on a coach and 4 in a car. So keen were we all to get started that we left a few minutes earlier than planned. Unusually for the annual C&B walking holiday we returned to the same venue, Sheffield University, and we even stayed in the same student hall as last year. Could this year’s visit be as good as last year? After a very smooth journey and with a couple of breaks we arrived at Sheffield University Halls of Residence. After collecting our keys and settling in we were ready for our afternoon leg stretch. Fiona took us on a tour of Sheffield University sites, and many and varied they were in age and architecture, but equally impressive. The following 4 days each had a long walk and a shorter walk and all based in the Northern end of the Peak District. Geoff led the first long walk over Stanage Edge and down into Hathersage whilst Rob led the shorter walk from Castleton to Hathersage. Wednesday saw the long walkers, led by Bob, in Millers Dale while the shorter walk focussed on Eyam and was led by Chris and Anne. Two days of good weather and excellent walks – could it last?
Castleton was the finish point for both walks on Thursday. Doug led a circular walk from Castleton via Hope whilst Andrew & Vivian started at Ladybower Reservoir and tackled Mam Tor before descending into Castleton. Another warm and sunny day. Friday dawned cloudy and the weather looked a bit iffy. However not to be deterred we dropped Sue and her walkers at the Robin Hood farm ready for her walk to Chatsworth. The coach carried on to Rowsley ready for the longer walk, led by Doug. Friday was a bit chilly and by late afternoon the long walkers were caught in a huge storm which brought down branches and flooded roads. Fortunately it didn’t last long and we soon dried out. At the end of each days walk there was ample time for ‘tea and buns’ or a pint or two before boarding the coach back to the University.
The evenings were taken up by various after dinner events. A Musical Bingo organised by Mo proved highly entertaining with many of us knowing the tune but couldn’t remember the title. A chorus of ‘Oh, of course’ greeted the answers. A Quiz Night was hosted by Andy in his usual inimitable style (say no more) and organised by Elaine. Modesty forbids me from saying which team won the quiz but it was a close run thing and decided on who knew most about Shipping Forecast areas. A visit, or visits in some cases, to the Itchy Pig was a must for some. It certainly is a quirky Beer House serving excellent craft beers. On Friday night we were invited to a concert by the Hand Bell Ringers who had spent a week at the University. We were enthralled by a performance from young hand bell ringers of Hong Kong.
Saturday, our last day, dawned wet and only a few brave (or foolish) souls tackled the short walk from Rowsley Railway Station to Matlock, led by Carole. The wiser ones either caught the steam train to Matlock or were driven there on the coach. The walk started on good, but wet, paths but the path soon became steep, muddy and slippery and we were not unhappy when we reached Matlock. By common consent we left Matlock an hour earlier than planned, because of the weather, and by 6pm we were unloading the coach at Sandon School after an excellent journey home. We all had memories of last year’s 9 hour return journey! Was it as successful as last year? Public opinion says it certainly was and thanks are due to the organising team led by Hazel and Maureen. We are all looking forward to the 2020 holiday, wherever that might be.
Vast open Spaces and Spectacular Views - written by Ann
On Monday 5th August the Chelmer and Blackwater Ramblers returned to Endcliffe Student Village at the Sheffield University campus for a second visit. Having had a favourable experience the previous year expectations were high. I would like to personally thank all those involved with the organisation and running of this years event. The relaxed atmosphere allowed for the group to enjoy not only the two varied walks planned for each day but extra leaders introduced some further last minute options so that all interests and abilities were catered for. Of course, members could also opt to do their own thing too.
The week began with everyone attending Fiona’s tour which included seeing some interesting architecture, both old and new, of the various university seats of learning and each having their own charm.
Of course after this initial walk our experiences of the week varied. As a slightly less confident walker than many, I personally went for the slower, less vigorously demanding walks, or the slightly adapted walks. The latter gave the same spectacular views achieved by the ‘superior’ (fitter) walkers without the extra strenuous accents.
On Tuesday, Doug’s walk for me was the joy of experiencing vast open spaces, beautiful cloud formations, streams, woods and sheep. The neat little sheep I photographed was nicely clad; others were in various stages of ‘shornness’ and not quite so photogenic.
On Wednesday Chris and Anne’s walk was an education. Chris had invited her daughter, her daughter’s daughter and her daughter’s daughter’s delightfully cute son of 7 months to join us for part of the walk. So yes, she is a Great Grandmother and, I have to say, she can keep up with the fastest walkers, which all goes to show being a member of ramblers is definitely good for one’s health and fitness. The clouds, this day, were a little more ominous than yesterday and at one point the umbrellas were up. There were beautiful flowers and cattle to see and after relaxing by the famous Mompesson’s well, the walk through the woods brought us to the historically interesting village of Eyam.
It was in this mining village that the plague took hold having arrived in cloth brought by stage coach from London. The bale of cloth was opened by George Viccars, a tailor’s assistant, releasing disease ridden fleas. There were 260 deaths in the village between 1665 and 1666 but under the guidance of the rector William Mompesson the village voluntarily isolated itself. This heroic act saved the surrounding villages by containing the disease. The story of all these facts and more can be found in the village museum. In the front gardens of some of the village houses plaques about the victims of the disease were being read by us and other visitors. It must be a little strange having people staring into your garden nearly every day to see who had died in your home hundreds of years ago.
By Thursday I am in the swing of things so join the intermediate walk led by Carole to witness the breathtaking views from Mam Tor. The climb was, in fact, only a little challenging at the start but not as challenging as I hear the longer walkers had!!! Once on our way, the stone pathway made the walk a breeze and it was a breeze up there too. In fact I don’t think Sue should have stood quite so very near to the edge with her arms raised in that manner especially as she was to lead our walk the next day.
Friday, Sue’s walk to Chatsworth house from The Robin Hood Pub strangely went via Nelson’s Column/monument. Not the Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, in fact it looked more like a giant stone version of a wooden dolly clothes peg. There were rocks that looked like a sleeping cat and to my great excitement the walk involved a scramble up a rocky face of almost mountaineering scale (well in my imagination it was).
Before the drive home on Saturday, Carole led the walk around the Matlock area. Some took the steam train, some the cycle path but I followed Carole’s route. The hiking-stick I had acquired at the Chatsworth house shop the day before to cure my stick-envy, and so late in the week, was now proving to be a justified purchase, as some of the path was indeed quite slippy.
Not only were the walks brilliant but the evening entertainment provided by Mo and Elaine was so good that I was not even tempted to visit “The Itchy Pig” but of course some (I will not mention any names, we all know who they are) could not resist the pull of the local bar. Elaine’s Quiz night as usual was challenging but with the aid of Andy our quiz master it was an entertainment. The music bingo was a little easier on the grey cells and fun to do. Then there was the “Masquerades” game, which was highly amusing especially when the wearer of the Boris Johnson mask with his similar stature and frantic gestures and movements when he couldn’t guess “the right and appropriate answers” made it seem as if Boris was in the room!
The unexpected icing on the cake, as far as the entertainment is concerned, was that on the Friday evening we were honoured to be invited to the culminating performance of the hand bell ringers; who had also been using the university facilities. They had come from all over the country and were joined by The “Hong Kong Elite Youth Ringers” whose enthusiastic talent was inspirational. Their rendition of Les Misérables’ “One day more” was amazing. Yes! I had a brilliant week. The accommodation and catering were excellent, the weather was good - much, much better than predicted, and what is more, the reliable coach company chosen this year meant I was home before midnight!! Also I must say the friendliness of the people in Derbyshire is so evident everywhere. Judy and I raced the length of Eyam from the Museum to the tea room of our choice but despite our motivated speed we arrived at the cafe just a little after closing time. The staff however very amicably catered for our needs. There was no question of “sorry madam but we are closed now” at Eyam Tea Rooms.
So it is with the greatest of gratitude that I would like to thank Hazel for putting it all together and all the other organisers and walk leaders for a fantastic week. I would also like to thank everyone attending for being such good company throughout the week. The only one thing left to say is that I am very much looking forward to the next annual Chelmer and Blackwater Ramblers holiday.