Footloose Walking Club Newsletter September 2017

Well here it is my very last Newsletter; do I hear cheering?
I started writing a week or so ago and looking out of the window at the time was not persuaded that being inside was such a bad thing: two Summer walks out of three lost to excessive 'dampness' with the Monsoons breaking excessively early. I was feeling rather jealous of those on Norman's stroll around the sunny uplands of Southern Europe, not to mention the 'Simpson Party' in Austria, the Middleton's in Eire, Simon H and Christine in the Med and doubtless countless others in different holiday locations. All were apparently escaping escaping the dubious delights of a damp Cumbria. However the weather has since improved and I hear that Cumbria was not the only wet place in Europe so my fears of being shown up by countless bronzed bodies in Alnwick have now receded.

Membership Matters and Accounts.
Membership now stands at 82, including the 2 life members.
Our accounts show a very healthy balance of £756.83. Clearly this is rather more money than the club needs to carry forward, a subject the Committee will look at. Privately I feel that the retiring Chairman and his Lady should be treated to an expensive Paris weekend but this will possibly be not so popular with the rest of the Committee or indeed the Membership at large!!!!!!

Footloose Summer Activities.
Its nice to report that the Summer has been one of almost frenetic activity thanks not just to members of the Committee but also to the general club membership. I reported on the early Summer activities i.e. the Social and the Skiddaw Weekend in the previous Newsletter. These were closely followed by Jean Savage's birthday extravaganza in Patterdale which spread over two days. A great time was had by all with good walks, good food and and I guess drink, and most importantly kind weather, as it had been for Skiddaw. The success of these two events convinces me that there is a continuing interest in basic hostel based breaks in the club: I had begun to think that UK holidays now had to be as far as possible all en suite with tea and coffee in the rooms and a daily paper pushed under the door!

We also had a 'Coniston Sunday' with two walks and lessons afloat given by Roy Garriock. It seems most opted for dry land that day, but those intrepid mariners had a great time with no need to demonstrate their swimming skills and a disinclination to attempt canoe rolling : thanks to Roy for putting the event together. The only strange thing I have heard about that Sunday was that there seems to have been two apres event drink sessions, one in our usual haunt The Sun Inn and another in Black Bull!

Ceilidh, now that’s a word which either strikes a joyful note (pun noted) with some, but to a few others like myself, something to be 'ducked'; hence I missed out on what I am told was a superb evening in Water Yeat on August 19 th . It has been quite some while since Footloose put on an event of this type but I would imagine that given its great success it will be followed by something similar before too long. It was Sarah walker who proposed a ceilidh and with the unstinting help of Sue Brearley and Deb Middleton, got the show on the road. Thanks to all three of these ladies.

Since starting this Newsletter, 'Team Norman' has returned. I haven’t asked Norman for a formal report but understand from him and other participants that the trek was up to its usual high standards despite having to be slightly modified because the odd bit of bad weather. I am sure we will all hear more in due course.

I would also like to correct an omission in my last Newsletter. I had meant to mention the now monthly Saturday cycle ride. For some years Anne Strange organized an annual ride, for example the Coast to Coast but despite there being a group of regular Footloose cyclists and the holiday being greatly enjoyed, cycling within the club remained quite a low key matter. Indeed a request for 'expressions of interest' from Kate Rowland-Smith a couple of years ago for potential participants in a more modest riding programme than Anne's multi day holiday, attracted no response. It is therefore very pleasant for me to hear about latest developments: a small, but growing, group getting together each month and taking turns to plan and lead a ride, maximising, I understand, the best cake shops Cumbria can offer. The next such ride is on September 23rd with at least one new group member (someone I know very well!) planning to attend. I am sure we will hear much more about cycling in future. I certainly will.

John Lee also asked me to mention, that an even smaller group of members has taken up Wild Swimming. Some of the local tarns have been tackled, no doubt the intention is to do more. Anybody keen to swim in the balmy waters Cumbria could do worse than to talk to John.

Future Events.
I will start with a Future Event which will not take place. For some time attendance at Walks Planning Meetings has been in decline with John Lee getting most walks via email. Given this fact also that many of us were on holiday in September but yet many of the regular leaders would be in Alnwick at the end of September, it was been decided to drop plans for a September Walks Planning Meeting. John has therefore asked for walks by email with any gaps to be filled by arm bending in Alnwick. However the gaps are currently so large that it would be more a case of arm breaking than bending. Admittedly many of the regular leaders have been away but I detected more than hint of disappointment when I talked to John earlier, so please get walks through to him.

Alnwick is of course the last club Holiday of 2017. It has long been fully booked and all have now paid up, with final details circulated, so little more needs to be said. John has a suggested list of walks which will be presented to the group on the first evening Friday 29th September. I can only hope that the good weather we have traditionally enjoyed on our late Summer/early Autumn breaks, holds for us this year.

Finally for 2017 we look forward to the AGM and Winter Social at the Netherwood, Grange Over Sands, on Sunday 10th December. More details will follow once the Committee has sorted them out (we plan to meet at Alnwick, an earlier meeting being impossible for the same reason as the dropped Planning Meeting). However the broad outline will be as usual with a couple of shorter walks followed by AGM itself with Committee changes elected on, then a Meal (two courses)followed by a talk by Martin Cooper of Mountain Rescue. The new Chairman will make a donation to Mountain Rescue after the talk. Please put this date into your diary! You will also have seen the note from Deb Middleton re accommodation at the Netherwood.

Looking forward to 2018, we have all been made aware that Phil Walker has organised a 10 day club holiday to Crete, taking place in early May, exact dates being dependant on the as yet unpublished Easyjet timetable. Phil has previously circulated details so suffice to say it will clearly be a great holiday with a host of walking options including the Samaria Gorge (on the bucket list of many walkers), cultural activities, wildlife, good accommodation, including en suite rooms (no single supplement) in a well equipped hotel with an All Inclusive tariff. Initial 'take up' was brisk but numbers fell short of the break point for a significant price reduction so the holiday has been discretely marketed outside Footloose. However this is very much low key at the moment with Phil 'holding' places for our membership so if you would like to go please get in touch with him on or 01229 861766. He will also be 'open for business' at Alnwick.

As I said at the start, this is my last newsletter. It has been a very great privilege to be Chairman of Footloose a great little organisation going from strength to strength. I would like to thank all the Committee Members, past and present, who have worked unstintingly to 'keep the show on the road' and of course each and every member for supporting the Club and for making my role so rewarding.

Tony Mayo.