Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

October 2006

Wot No Sausage?

At Malham Hostel

August Bank Holiday saw the group jet up to the Yorkshire Dales for a spot of hostel-to-hostel walking. Along with the fabulous limestone pavement and the towering cliffs of Malham Cove, we had a packed weekend of walking planned. All of which required the sustenance of a substantial breakfast. Usually such items are discretely supplied by our very own Dave P to your own individual specification, however at Malham YH this was no longer an option. One member (who shall remain nameless) was forced to claim their breakfast to the jeers of the assembled throng as the warden bellowed: “Someone from Chelmsford ordered breakfast WITHOUT a sausage!”. The shame.

Since then it’s been a real rollercoaster of a month: we’ve had the joy of Colin & Asha’s wedding, the sadness of losing an old friend in Rachel, and as I write this we’re preparing for the 50th anniversary of the group. Life never stands still.


Rachel Joiner 6.1.1967 – 10.9.2006


Rachel’s time with the group was sadly much too short. She joined in 2001, and was an active member until she became ill in 2003. She talked about her trips with the group long afterwards and especially remembered her first New Year in Wales. She never forgot sliding down steep hillsides on a redundant map case and playing the ‘After Eight Mint Game’ in the evenings. Rachel continued to take a keen interest in the group and relish news of YHA friends, reminiscing about shared experiences, whilst looking forward to future events.

Rachel was a positive, optimistic person, who wanted to experience everything life has to offer. She was an intrepid traveller and visited many countries including Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya and Peru. She laughed loudly and often, and many of us appreciated her dry sense of humour (frequently directed at ourselves!) and her sense of fun. Even during her last months, Rachel managed to do a sponsored abseil, take a hot air balloon ride, scrub down an elephant, and paddle in a Norwegian fiord.

Rachel in Norway

At her funeral, we learned more surprising things about Rachel – that she once worked in McDonalds (for a week!), was a special constable, and went from a job in a bank to work on a kibbutz. She did an HND in catering and completed her social work training in 2005, despite the difficulties of her ongoing treatment and its side effects.

Rachel used her insight and compassion to help her family and friends cope with life and her illness, even sending an insensitive doctor a book giving him the patient’s perspective. She had always sought challenges in her life and this was her greatest challenge of all, but she rose to it, showing us how to savour simple pleasures and enjoy the moment, in a truly inspiring way.

Rachel washing an elephant

Rachel had planned her own humanist funeral and the number of people who attended was a testament to her great gift for friendship. She chose Jenny Joseph’s poem “Warning” and her music included Enya’s ‘Drifting’, and Jerusalem. Her final song ‘My Way’ reflected her independent, indomitable spirit and determination to be true to herself and her values. Rachel also shared some words in which she found great wisdom: ‘You mustn’t rush about  in endless rings, but learn to love the nearest things’ (Arne Paasche Aasen)

Many of us owe Rachel a debt of gratitude and remember her with great respect and deep affection.


Hindu Nuptials

For those of you who remember Colin, and let’s face it once met never forgotten, you’ll be delighted to hear that he has tied the knot (literally) with the lovely Asha. Having kept in touch since his move to Sheffield some years ago, Colin was kind enough to invite some of us to the ceremony. Having never been to a Hindu blessing, we weren’t sure what to expect. Colin and Asha First there was Colin’s suit – golden slippers, white trousers and a deep red tunic, all topped by a splendid red turban complete with gold-mounted feather. Asha was wearing a red sari, beautifully embroidered with gold and gems (surprisingly heavy!). The ceremony itself involved a lot of food, all very symbolic, some fed to the bride & groom and some thrown into a large bonfire. Having been told at the start about the locations of the fire exits should there be a fire, we were quite surprised to find that one was part of the service! After being lashed together there was some processing round the fire before Colin & Asha were showered in petals by their families and the whole thing was over. Over that is, except for the mountainous spicy buffet and bouncing barndance, rounded off by a salsa disco. A brilliant day.      



Bat Walk

It was a warm evening in late summer as the group of friends walked up into the graveyard. Twilight gave way to night and a ghostly full moon slid out from behind a thin layer of cloud. An eerie hush weaved itself between the tombstones…… This could be the start of a B movie horror flick, but fear not! We were clutching our bat detector and observing the nocturnal flutterings of a tiny little pipistrelle. Not content with just the graveyard, we continued down to Danbury Lakes where we watched Daubentons skim across the waters surface.

CYHA: Fifty Years and Still Going Strong

A big thank you to everyone who helped make our “Fiftieth Anniversay Reunion” weekend at Ivinghoe such a success. The weather was beautiful, the buffet sumptuous, the band and barn dance excellent.

It was great to catch up with so many old friends, and a real pleasure to meet some of the “founders” from the 1950s.


On Foot in the Yorkshire Dales





1.  Youth Hostels are for the use of members who travel on foot, by bicycle or canoe; they are not for members touring by motor car, motor cycle, or any power-assisted vehicle….


In the spirit of traditional hostelling, Cressida was keen to organise a proper hostel-to-hostel hike. Sadly the modern hostel network is not so well geared to providing hostels in walking distance of each other, but she found a suitable route for August Bank Holiday weekend in the Yorkshire Dales. About 12 miles walking from Malham hostel to Kettlewell hostel, it was a lovely walk and it was enormously satisfying to arrive at the hostel on foot. I very much hope we’ll be able to do more hostel-to-hostel walks in the future.

Dave P


Malham Cove

Normally I get accused of having the largest rucksack on trips, but this time I had to think carefully about what to take as there was the high probability that I would have to carry it between hostels!

A yummy fish supper at the Weatherby Whaler and a few pints down the local pub just a stone’s throw from the hostel finished off the first eve well. Dave Plummer was able to sit back and relax as he had his breakfast served to him for a change. No it wasn’t his birthday, but a warden’s breakfast which Carol almost got thrown at her when she turned up late!

Goredale Scar

The Saturday was spent exploring the area around Malham. A visit to Malham Cove was obligatory. Visited by many a tourist and geologist the limestone cove towers hundreds of feet up in the air and is popular with rock climbers too. The limestone pavement at the top of the cove is remarkable and brought back memories of geography field trips when we measured the temperatures between slabs and examined the vegetation growth! Our walk led most of us over to Settle where we decided to catch the Dales Bus back to Malham. It was nearly a long walk back after we waited on the wrong side of the road! Some ended the day with a visit to the Malham country show to see if they could buy a home grown marrow, sheep, jam sponge or two!

Sunday was our transfer day to Kettlewell hostel and walkers were spared of their heavy packs by a ‘man with a van’ who couriered at no extra charge the over-night bags. Gerry, thinking he was training for the TA, opted to carry his full kit on the walk! A few worried faces appeared when Gordale Scar was reached. It has overhanging cliffs of limestone over 100m high. The gorge was produced by water from melting glaciers sometime over the last three million years. Everyone managed the scramble with very few problems.


Despite best efforts, the hostel had not got our accommodation sorted out and whilst initially it looked like a tent may be on the cards, rooms were soon allocated. However what was originally a female dorm had to become a mixed one. Was CYHA taking the organisation into the 21st century? There was a surprising lack of volunteers from the guys to take the last remaining bed in the mixed dorm. Was it for fear of seeming too keen or what may go on?! After some negotiations I agreed to move in!

It was down to the local pub for dinner. Miss Alderson had already collected our dinner money and choices so it was just sit back and enjoy the good food and ales. But where was Dave J and where was my rucksack? Knew it should have gone in the van! Both arrived just in time for the main course.

Conistone, Wharfedale

Monday started with a lovely walk along the ridge to Kilnsey before relaxing by the river. It was then a long climb up Mastiles Lane back to Malham. It was one of those days you hate when you take your waterproofs on and off about a dozen times! They were certainly on about a mile from the hostel though, when the heavens opened and down came the rain. For some, drinking tea at a tea van, it was a battle to drink faster than the cup filled up. But where was chauffeur Dave J? Hurtling along the country roads returning from Fountains Abbey! At least when he’s walking you know where he is – at the front! Thanks to Cressida for organizing a good trip and Dave Colley and son, ‘the white van man’.




Driving Mr J

A slow drive from Chelmsford on Friday afternoon/evening got us to the hostel just in time for the traditional pre-trip drink up in the local pub.

On Saturday after a sumptuous YH full English breakfast I attempted my first walk since my tendon busting antics in Scotland. My usual trail blazing pace was retarded somewhat as we made our way to Malham Cove and then to the tarn - here I had to admit defeat as the injured foot started to complain.

So Helen and I were forced to lounge about in the sun at the tarn as the rest of the group continued.  Having scoffed our new luxury style CYHA sandwiches, we made our way slowly back to the limestone pavement to take in the views from the cove. Back at Malham we had to visit a tea shop and the pub to ensure we had sufficient reserves before cooking Helen’s ambitious Moroccan chicken dish which required  all the saucepans in the self catering kitchen plus some extras from the main kitchen.

Sunday saw a touristy day (no big walks involved!) with a tea stop with a Naked Man in Settle and what turned out to be a drive past all the peaks of 3 peaks fame, including a stop at Horton to view the viaduct and a pint in the pub there which I had last visited having done the 3 peaks in 2004 with Mike, James and Robert.

Kettlewell hostel

After another tea shop stop, we drove from Stainforth via Halton Gill to Arncliffe and then to Kettlewell. It was a wonderful drive with superb views across the moors - many photo stops were required. It made a change driving around the area, enabled us to see a much more than normally the case and introduced Helen to the beauty of the Dales. Unfortunately it made us late for the restaurant in Kettlewell, not that we had bothered to ask where we were eating or when! So poor Jim and Mike had to eat their posh meal in their sweaty walking  clothes as we had their nice clean evening gear in the car. Whoops! Sorry guys!

On Monday after the infamous sausage incident Helen accompanied me to another tea shop (Grassington) before a visit to Fountains Abbey which was bathed in hot sunshine all day and well worth a visit. The tea shop was visited before we headed back to the pub at Malham to pick our passengers up for the return to Chelmsford via a pub near Newark for an excellent hot curry.

Dave J


Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer