Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

December 2008

Iím How Old?

Well, thatís another decade notched up for me. I canít help thinking there must have been some dreadful mistake as I donít even feel grown up, let alone middle aged! Still, the celebrations were great fun. On the Holmbury/Tanners weekend we had a warm up celebration featuring a delicious apple cake from Trudi and quite a lot of wine (thanks Margaret!). On the day itself we enjoyed a delicious meal at the Green Man in Howe Street, which was great fun. Thank you to all who helped make my coming of middle age so memorable, thanks also for the enormous Ansel Adams book so many of you contributed to Ė the pictures are absolutely mouth watering and show all sorts of tempting locations for future holidays!



Variation on a theme....
Group at Holmbury St Mary hostel

Tannerís Hatch hostel in Surrey is always lovely, especially in the autumn when the colours are at their best. We have been many times, but the variation this time was to walk there and back from Holmbury St Mary, using an excellent luggage service (Tom) to deliver our supplies, including Aliís birthday cake. This was a mere 6 miles, considered much too short to be a respectable (fine) dayís walk. Never wanting to disappoint, Dave P agreed to extend it and did so very ably, weaving a tricky trail through the woods, and including Leith Hill Tower and Holmbury Hill in our itinerary. Just how far we walked has been the subject of much speculation (and some controversy) - but we set a good pace for most of the time, and only arrived at Tanners at 5.30pm, just before dark. Six miles it wasnít.

Holmbury Hill

Just as well that we made the most of Saturday; Sunday morning we awoke to heavy rain, and we sat around for ages discussing work parties with the warden. In view of the conditions, she might have thought we would make an immediate start on her indoor jobs. Instead, we resolutely set off, taking a more direct route back, and it was still beautiful, though the rain didnít stop and the sun didnít shine. We did find a pub which Weightwatchers should definitely avoid, unless going there for an awful warning. Both the personnel and the portions were supersized and one would need to walk about 600 miles at a brisk pace to burn off the calories from one of their Sunday lunches. Helenís bowl of chips fed the entire group for the princely sum of £2, which by any standards, let alone those of rural Surrey, was exceptional value.

Tanners Hatch

One of the highlights of my weekend was eating some wild mushrooms against the advice of the hostel warden and a fellow forager with an authoritative book. I was confident that they were edible and delicious and enjoyed a splendid stroganoff supper, also relishing the satisfaction of having been Right. Richard Mabey, eat your heart out... and does anyone want the grid reference for their secret location, and my (almost) secret recipe? 


Whatís on TV?

Thank you Clive for organising a very interesting tour of BBC Television Centre. The tour guide was a little apologetic that every studio he showed us vacant, and we didnít spot any famous celebrities, but tour highlights included the sweeping up of Studio One after Children in Need, Helen winning The Weakest Link and our very own Doug reading the news. All this and the chance to experience the world class shopping in the swanky new Westfield Mall. Brilliant!

At BBC TV Centre Doug reads the news Panel game


YHA Bristol
Bristol Ė A Weekend on the Waterfront

Our trip to Bristol took us on a whistle-stop tour through 10 centuries of history, punctuated by plenty of pubs and teashops.

From the cathedral founded in the 12th Century, the medieval gateway, the historic harbour, the Elizabethan splendour of Red Lodge, the 18th Century slave trade, Brunelís steam ship Great Britain and his spectacular Clifton Suspension Bridge, to the Bristol Boxkite aeroplane and Alfred the stuffed Gorilla.

Thanks to Jim for organising a fascinating weekend.

Dave P




Fay Hepworth, Sue Wood and Roz Wisniewski - the Wild Ones!!!???

In memory of Rachel Joiner

On a cool but sunny autumnal day three intrepid adventurers set forward from Harrogate, Chelmsford and Boreham.† On arrival at the Estate flooded lanes from the previous nightsí rain were driven though.

At the hall the 3 adventurers were surprised to meet about 200 limbering fit runners, police teams, youngsters etc!!† Team Rachel, the Wild Ones consisted of a 66 year old member and two 43 year olds who all should really know better.† Roz commented to a colleague that she has not been training because she had been ill the previous weekend.† After removing various items of clothing and rucksacks, everyone was given a brief and then a very brief warming up session.

To much applause everyone set off.† Approximately 150 people disappeared into the Suffolk countryside never to be seen again!!

Roz and friends after going the Whole Hog

Our more cautious team set off over a large mound and immediately sat down going down hill!† It really was a wonderful area with mature oak trees clad in their autumn finery, bordering Rendelsham Forest. The focuused adventures noted lots of wonderful fungi along the route.

After 1km the team met with their first water WATER? Challenge.† Hmm all thought this was an assault course?† Rather they heard participants going through this challenge well before they reached it!† They had to climb down a steep bank and walk along a stagnant thigh deep river underneath a bridge with flotsam passing them by.† Note that these three had to tackle these challenges after about 180 people had gone through, muddy was not the word.† Who suggested that Roz wore walking boots rather than running shoes???

The Wild Women chatted to various other competators along the way including a team from the British Legion.† One of their members was 77!† Somehow this team managed to complete the race before the Wild Ones!!!

The rest of the 8 miles became rather a blur.† They largely consisted of crossing a river then jogging to dry out and then meeting another water challenge. At one point The Wild Ones came upon a challenge where they had to cross a river on aircraft fuel tank pontoons and return though the water.† They had to go under some decking with only approximately 15cm between the deck and water.† The only way to get through was to tilt the head sideways.† Fay decided instead to practice snorkelling without a snorkel!† Others involved ropes and deep water.† Some required swimming over, others balancing on rope!!† Fay learnt to catch flies on the way over one river.† Our brave fools tackled all the challenges and did not choose the piglet (easy) options!† All along the way Fay and Roz thought about Rachel and how it was the type of challenge Rachel would have chosen.

The Wild things completed the race in 2 hours and 47 minutes, not bad at all!† Even if the prize giving was over and the only applause was from the children of the organisers! Please note that Roz still wore the Marie Curie daffodil headband at the end.

The discreet ladies peeled off all their items of clothing in a toilet using numb fingers.† Fay sported a lovely number around her legs in the shape of a towel!† They celebrated with cups of red bush tea and Waldys delicious Polish apple cake.† Yum food never tasted so good!†

Baths that evening were very welcome for all concerned.† Roz spent about 5 minutes trying to get the mud out of her hair.

All felt proud of them selves and know that his would have brought a smile to Rachelís face!

Thanks to all who have sponsored our team.

Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer