Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

February 2014

A Warm Welcome in the Dales

Smearsett Scar, New Years Day

Traditionally our new year trips to the Dales have been either snowy or wet, and this year we didn’t see any snow. Still at least it wasn’t too cold!

Most of us drove up the day after Boxing Day: a blustery wet day, so probably best spent in the car. The following day was probably the best of the trip, so we set off at an un-heard of 9am for a Pen-y-Gent 12 mile epic. The forecast was for a beautiful afternoon, so it was a bit of a shame we arrived at Pen-y-Gent summit at lunchtime – just a half hour before the cloud cleared. Still we did get beautiful views back to the hill from Horton, with that lovely golden light you only seem to get on a winter’s afternoon. The early start also ensured we got back to Stainforth with enough time for a quick pint in the Craven Heifer before dinner.

The weather on Monday wasn’t quite as nice. It started off OK, with a visit to Catrigg Force waterfall which was looking spectacular,  but around lunchtime it got rather wet & blustery, and therefore a bit chilly. Luckily we were walking towards Settle and the welcome warmth of Ye Olde Naked Man café. The afternoon was much brighter and it was a lovely walk along the river back to Stainforth.

New Year’s Eve looked like it might be a bit wet, so quite a few of us wimped out for a mince-pie special on the Keighley & Worth Valley preserved railway. This may have been an error. It was still rather windy but Karl, Colin, John & Jake had a great day up Whernside, warming up in the Station Inn afterwards.

After a gut-stretching three-course supper, we saw in the new year in the welcome arms of the Craven Heifer, trying to drink them dry of Wainwright ale. To complete our new year with a perfect rambler pedigree, we were serenaded by none other than Mike Harding.

New year’s day was easily the worst weather of the trip, but some of us simply couldn’t resist one last walk before the long drive back south. It certainly blew away any cobwebs from the night before. Squelchy underfoot and with horizontal stinging rain, Smearsett Scar was a bit of a challenge, but you couldn’t help feeling an invigorated healthy glow once we’d dried off back at the bunkhouse. What a way to start 2014.



An Ode to Ageing

(a tribute to Jenny Joseph)

When I am an old man I shall wear lycra,

With a bobble hat which doesn’t go over my hearing aids.

And I shall spend my pension on smart phones & Kindles,

And Hawaiian shirts and say we have no money for teabags.

I shall pull the communication cord when I want to get off,

And dribble a football round the art gallery.

And help myself to apples from the greengrocer’s stall,

And make up for the reticence of my youth.

I shall go out in my red shorts in the snow,

And knock down other people’s snowmen,

And get an ASBO.

You can wear an ex-army anorak and a top hat,

And eat ten Mars bars in a row,

Or fall down mountains and get dramatic injuries.

And lose marbles, walking poles, spectacles and odd socks.

But now we must wear suits to keep us smart,

And pay for parking and not knock old ladies flying,

And be a good example of senile decay.

We must have the Friends to dinner and read the obits.

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear lycra.


Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer