Newsletter Footloose Walking Club: January 2018


Life never ceases to surprise! I promised you all that the September Newsletter would be the last you heard from me, but here I am at it again. As you know circumstances have changed slightly but this definitely will be the last, despite having received some very pleasing comments from members who said they actually enjoyed some of the 'stuff' I write. Others have been more scathing (truthful?). In future there will probably be changes in the way the Newsletter is written. Sarah Walker has suggested a shared authorship arrangement: we are hopeful of unearthing a new J. K. Rowling or a Bill Bryson lurking somewhere on the Committee!

I was equally surprised to be told by Claire Black that my name was now 'Mud'. This was before I restarted Newsletter writing I have to assume it was down to the odd spot of mud we came across when wandering around Cartmel on the day concerned and then on the same walk Anne Strange 'found' hills I never knew existed and thus had not mentioned in the pre walk briefing. Oh the pain of being a walk leader!

Lastly a pleasant surprise. Do members realise that we have a 'poster girl' in our midst i.e. our own Jean Savage?  Jean, you kept this one quiet but knowing just some of the work you do for the National Park, it's recognition you richly deserve. Kathy and I found said poster when gazing in the window of Bowness T.I.C: a life sized portrait Jean jumped out at us; well almost. It contains complementary information about her having been a Park volunteer for 10 years etc. Since there is a 21st January walk from Bowness, thus there can be no excuse for not finding the start point providing the poster is still on display!

Membership and Accounts.

Norman French tells me that having collected many 2018 subs at AGM things went quiet over the holidays but he is now very much open for business. Can those with subscriptions still outstanding please print off a copy of the 2018 Membership Form from the website (, complete it and follow the payment instruction.

Norman has now completed the 2017 Accounts which you will find attached. As he stated at the A.G.M. there are no problems. Footloose has a healthy bank balance which will cover our potential outgoings of Insurance, Website Fees and Club YHA Membership.

Events Passed.

Walks and now cycling apart, two other significant  activities have taken place, the Alnwick holiday and AGM at the Netherwood both wonderfully organised and choreographed by Deb Middleton.


Alnwick already seems ages ago but there is no doubt that this goes down as another great success . The hostel accommodation was of high quality, the food good with no complaints from those staying elsewhere that they would rather of eaten 'out'. The German choir we knew we would be sharing the hostel with were fine (no towels in the lounge) so much so that many of us went along to their evening concert. Sadly Phil and Margaret Walker found themselves turned away at the door as it was a sell out.

Oh yes, we did some walking too. Most of the group preferred the coastal options but four brave souls ventured into the remote Cheviots on a route I last walked in 1994. Up in the Cheviots its amazingly quiet, one is reminded of that Simon and Garfunkle song 'The Sounds of Silence'. Unlike here in Lakes, depopulation is still very much the order of the day so no human noise and very few walkers. Somehow we attracted the attention of an extremely rank smelling male wild goat which followed us for quite a way; what it was interested in is perhaps better left to the imagination. And yes, sadly we made a bit more noise ourselves than perhaps any local might have liked since Derwent Donaldson's car shed the rear part of its exhaust system on the way in.

I cannot really comment on the coastal walking except to say that all except Jim Nicholson came back with grins on their faces, if slightly damp, rain being something we Cheviot bashers had not experienced. Jim's normal wide grin did return in the evening when an extremely honest and helpful driver brought a 'missing' wallet which he had found on his bus, to the hostel. Obviously it sounds trite to say but acts of honesty and going the extra mile like this do restore ones faith in humanity!


Much easier to remember is the A.G.M. This year the Committee decided on a venue a little more upmarket than usual in returning to Netherwood where Simon Hughes had organised at least one Christmas 'do' in the early days of the club. This venue was a bit of a gamble (cost and menu), but in the event we were supported by 50% of the club and in the facilities provided Deb again struck gold: the dining and reception areas allocated to us were fantastic and those of us who spent the night there had very pleasant rooms. All in all an excellent location for an A.G.M. Centrally placed too.

As to the content of the A.G.M. there was nothing too contentious and the Committee is very pleased that members accepted our 'cunning plan' for Derwent Donaldson to join us, take a few weeks to get his feet under the table and then from the Summer Social (date and location yet to be decided), assume the role of Chairman. The process has started; the eagle eyed ones amongst you will have seen him busy writing the minutes, but you won't have seen is the pair of us meeting in Old Friends Ulverston some days later discussing the finer points of Footloose Walking Club over a pint! He has clear ideas, some novel, which he would like to introduce so I have no doubt he will make an excellent Chairman, contribution hugely to the future of our club.

Before I leave the A.G.M. I must touch on the talk given by Martin Cooper. Of course Martin, with his distinguished military and diplomatic background, always delivers a great talk no matter what subject he speaks on. He gave us the choice of several topics but for us it had to be Mountain Rescue. I guess we all thought we knew all about this service but I am equally sure everybody learnt something and for most us, a lot: the correct use of a survival bag for a start! He has been in touch subsequently thanking us for our hospitality and for the £200 cheque we donated to M.R. The bucket gathered another £98, which was excellent. I know several of you also took home empty collecting boxes. I wonder if there is any mileage in bringing these to walks. I personally would be very happy to drop in loose change from my post walk refreshment. I feel that Footloose has done extremely well to have operated for 18 years with only minor slips trips and falls but no serious harm done and yet from experience with a previous club and from my hockey playing days, I know just how easy it is to break an ankle for example and how we would certainly need MR help if this were to happen on many of our walks. Just a thought, no more than that.

Events 2018.

The 2018 Programme is still in 'planning' but the Committee has an imminent meeting to get matters on track. However as I have frequently remarked, it is not the sole preserve of the Committee to organise events so I was particularly pleased to see the email from Cliff Etherden and Isobel Williamson advising their plans to do the Gerry Charnley Round in August, which has already received very good response.

Events which are now established are of course the two continental club holidays. Firstly the trip to Crete from 1st May organised by Phil Walker, another non Committee member. This contains an excellent itinerary in apparently superior accommodation to normal and yet to achieve a significant 'price break' Phil had to extend invitations outside the club. The Committee had requested, for insurance reasons, that all participants join Footloose, a process not new of course and one which in the past has brought in several members the club might not have previously attracted. We therefore welcome several new faces to Footloose. There is to be a Sunday walk on March 25th when the entire Crete Party will be invited to attend. However we hope by then that some of them at least will have found a walk to their taste in the Walks Programme and have already become familiar faces. That said, on 25th, it would be nice if there is a good turn out of old 'old hands' to welcome the newcomers. We pride ourselves on friendliness so let’s live up to that. As for the holiday it is now fully booked, with all second stage instalments paid and ironically, now has a short waiting list!

Secondly there is Norman's Mecantour Park Trek in July. Having seen the itinerary I can tell you it will be another superb event. Obviously extremely tough and not for the feint hearted but from what I can see, well worth the effort and a credit to Norman's powers of organisation. Clearly I am not alone in my opinion because it was filled within less than a week of Norman publishing the details.

These then are what is currently firmly planned. We have some very basic ideas for our Summer Social, this year in the West (!) which will be followed by our Autumn Break. As mentioned at the AGM, York is the venue. We are currently fine tuning arrangements so be prepared an imminent release of costs and other details including a request for a £10 deposit. A quick reaction will be necessary because we have decided to limit numbers to 30 and this one is bound to be popular: just wait to see the offer! However this will not be the extent of our activities in 2018. Committee members have other good ideas; we just need our meeting  to put them into a realistic plan. Having had such a good year socially in 2017, we cannot afford to let 2018 go flat!


I am sure we would all like me to pass on our commiserations and hope for a speedy recovery to Julie Dean who had a 'bit of a do' whilst skiing just before Christmas.

A Happy New Year to you all.