Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

January/February 2002

Brass Monkeys in the
Brecon Beacons

Beacons from Cefn Llechid
We're not absolutely sure how cold it got in the Brecon Beacons over New Year, but Tom's car thermometer was registering minus 11 degrees one morning. It was certainly worth wrapping up warm, but the reward was 4 days of stunning icy weather topped by crystal clear blue skies.

Fan Fawr Fantastic

Climbing Fan Fawr One of the best days in the Brecon Beacons was New Year's Eve. Fresh snow on the hills, a perfect blue sky and brilliant sunshine. We had planned to climb Fan Fawr and Fan Frynych, from the Storey Arms, just a few miles from the bunkhouse. After some investigation on foot, we established that the lanes had been gritted and we stood a chance of getting there - once we had thawed out our cars sufficiently to open the doors!

The slog up Fan Fawr was steep and slippery in the snow - I was glad I'd brought my ice axe. But the views from the top were magnificent, across the valley to Pen y Fan and the Beacons, and west to the Black Mountain, which was crystal clear, anything but black. And a distant gleaming hill to the north, we suspect was Plynlimon, 40 miles away.

As we walked back along the ridge of Fan Frynych, the beacons were slowly turning pink as the sun set and the temperature plummeted again.

Dave P

Pony Trekking at Cantref

Having discovered there was a pony trekking centre at the farm I was very keen to go riding during the New Year's break, and was delighted when eleven others decided to join me.

Sunday morning we were at the barn early, wondering if the ride would take place since it was icy underfoot and snow was still falling. However Mrs Evans said we'd be fine if we stuck to the farmland and so we were.

Pony Trekking at CantrefFor some people this was their first time on horseback, for others their first time in a long while. Everyone did very well, no one fell off and the ponies all behaved themselves, even if they did think they knew a better route to take going along by the river!

For me it was a real treat to ride in snow, and judging by the comments afterwards everyone else had enjoyed it, so watch this space…&…maybe I'll organise another horseback adventure in the summer!


A Snowy New Year

Fan Frynych We all had a good time in the Brecon Beacons over New Year. The weather was clear most of the time giving lovely views of the Beacons which was made more seasonal with the snowfalls over the week. Excellent walks were had despite the last of the restrictions from the foot and mouth outbreak altering carefully laid plans. Much amusement was caused for the more childish members of the group (Me, Tom, Robert) by the ascent of Fan y Big which gave us hours of innuendo filled chatter.

The cold nights and icy roads prevented any evening pub visits but the alcohol gap was filled by everyone bringing copious amounts of their own stuff so averting a major crisis.

There were a succession of greatest meals ever in the evenings and the enforced nights in led to the creation of many card schools, puzzle challenges and Monopoly games. The card games showed that there are some accomplished and rather ruthless card players in the group with rapier like reactions.

I understand that there was some dancing in the later hours of New Years Eve but the memories here are slightly hazy - either I went to bed early (unlikely) or indulged in the amber nectar - the state of my head the next day suggested the latter occurred.

There were quite a lot of potential new members on the trip who I think enjoyed themselves - we hope to see them all again for more of the same.

Dave J

See also:

Sunday Walk at Saffron Walden

Saffron WaldenScheduling a ramble on a Sunday in December seemed a bit optimistic, but fortunately the day was bright at clear and too chilly.

Ten of us (including Bethany, age 2, Jamie, now 13, and Polly-the-dog) rambled through Audley End park, along Chestnut Avenue, over a chalk hill above the railway tunnel, and into Littlebury for a pub lunch (Note: Queen's head, v.g.)

In the afternoon we passed through Littlebury children's playground and CYHA at play was caught on camera!

Walking back through the fileds we had lovely views of Saffron Walden, in evening misty as the sun set.

Lorna led us to her mum's house where tea and chocolate cake with smarties were ready for us to celebrate Lorna's birthday.


George at WorkChristmas Dinner

Another successful bash. Many thanks to all those who contributed towards making it such a fabulous evening. The hall looked wonderful, the food was first rate, and I can't remember when we've had tastier turkey's. Thanks also to all the carvers, servers and washer-uppers who helped everything run smoothly. An extra special thanks to George for his hard work providing the borsch and fish & sauerkraut courses.

Photo Competition

Again loads of brilliant entries giving us the excuse to reminisce over yet another year of wonderful CYHA events. As last year, many pics were from our Scotland trip.

Loch Ossian (Ian)

Best View: Sun beams breaking through the cloud over Loch Ossian. A very atmospheric picture taken by Ian.

Loch Ossian YH (Ali)

Spirit of CYHA: Wet clothes, boots and dogs drying in front of the fire at Loch Ossian YH. Another very atmospheric picture, most of which I had to wipe off the camera before I took the pic (v. steamy!).

Bury Ditches, Shropshire (Ian)
Caption Competition: Gerry's pic of Trudi and Ian poring intently over a map accompanied by George's caption: "But Trudi, I can't read maps, only timetables!". Amusing due to Ian's habit of joining us in obscure, remote locations by rail, bus and taxi.


Danbury Walk

DanburyThanks to Trudi for leading us on a fine walk for a misty Sunday in January, over Danbury Hill through the woods to Woodham Walter Common and Little Baddow. Despite complaining "I don't recognise this, they've cut down the trees" she found the way back to the Cricketers pub, where we were impressed to find a huge table laid for 15 of us, and even more impressed by the huge and delicious portions of food.

Dave P

Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer