Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

September 2007

Sun, Sea & Suffolk

Blaxhall village sign

Another fab month courtesty of CYHA. We’ve been basking in sunshine, cycling through the Suffolk countryside and enjoying a beer by the beach; had a super evening walk out to Purleigh; an evening cycle ride to the Duck; and a wonderful day out walking round the grounds of Ickworth House. Sadly we’ve also had to say farewell to Margaret, who’s returning to New Zealand.



Cycling at Blaxhall

The Ballad of Blaxhall

One day in July, the locals did spy, nine cyclists out for a ride

Through villages we flew, admiring the view, pedalling hard for the sea-side

To Aldeburgh and Thorpness, though I must confess, the off-shore wind was fierce

With heads down low, we weren’t going slow: we were really into our stride.


As the wheels went round, so the call did sound, “Tea shop, not far ahead”

And the weary pedalled on, though their knees were nearly done, needing to be fed

With laden plates, of gooey cakes, and mugs of steaming tea    

The group refuelled, and called Jim cruel, for the many miles he’d led


But refreshed and rested, the next hill we crested, as we rode upon on our way

To Orford town, and another sit down, as we watched the children play

Then with aching bones, we headed for home, and pushed for that final stretch

But without pain, there can be no gain, or so those sadists say!


Farewell to Margaret

The trip to Avebury recently was the last for me in the meantime. My job at Witham finished in July and I am currently on holiday in the UK after returning from a week's tour in Switzerland.

It is really important for me to say THANK-YOU to those I have come to know after the last 18 months. I have valued the opportunity of being a member for that length of time and appreciated visiting parts of the UK that the tourist books don't seem to mention.

Memories include the following:-

- walking through a recently planted field just outside Stratford-upon-Avon which was muddy to put it mildly (Dave Julian excursion)

- a day's walk in the Lake District with Dave, Ali, Clive and Trudi last year when we started off just after 9am and eventually got back at 8pm. I honestly didn't think that I was ever going to get home!

- end-of-year Christmas dinner with brussel sprouts

- long conversations with John Maton about history.

- the dinners that we part of every weekend trip

- the inclusion of pubs and/or tea rooms on EVERY walk I went on!

- the Cuba evening when Ali and Dave shared their experiences with the group

I am certain that I have missed many more unforgettable occasions and please do not think that some of the above are negative because they are not! Just memorable for one reason or another!

If any members are visiting NZ in the future and would like to contact me to see if I am at home, please email. It has given me a great deal of personal pleasure to talk to members who have already visited my country despite reasons to the contrary!!

 My very best wishes go to each one of you in your professional and personal lives and also to the continuation of the group.



Sarah Ashton, Tour Leader


Sarah Ashton, 41, of Aldringham in Suffolk was recovering on Sunday from her first experience as ‘Tour Leader’ in Aldeburgh.

It started as a bright, sunny morning in Blaxhall where the group of eight walkers watched the amazingly colourful cyclists adjust their lycra, stretch their bungies and pack their lunch boxes.  As they set off and Sue delivered the homemade pies to the hostel kitchen, the walkers drove to Aldeburgh to start their walk.

Sarah began at Slaughden Quay and passed the sailing boats, following the River Alde.  There was a cool breeze and blue sky but Sarah began to feel the pressure as there were mutterings about teashops and pubs already.  With a map Dave’s guide book and an absolutely obvious route, experienced navigators were not necessary.  However, there was one incident at a crossroads  where the Tour leader was seen asking a middle aged couple “which way to Thorpeness?” rather than consulting her map.

The route took them through meadows, allotments, woods, golf course and finally the sea.  They stopped off to admire the Windmill and the House in the Clouds, a water tower converted into accommodation which can be seen for miles.  At this stage, the multicoloured cyclists appeared and we decided to eat lunch together beside the Meare.  We were joined by some rather bold swans and cygnets - who ate more lunch than Sue – who did not manage to get a sandwich.  To make her feel better and keep the teashop crowd quiet for a while, Sarah pointed out a good ice-cream shop.  This spurred us on and the rum and raisin ice-cream kept the pub crowd quiet for a bit.

The sun kept shining and we trudged across the shingle to the controversial ‘shell’ sculpture on the beach.  The tour leader tried to give some facts about it but the information proved more accurate.

Picnic at Thorpeness

Finally the group arrived back at Aldeburgh with Robert’s request for a pub being granted at last.  Without a teashop in sight the group settled for a cool drink, sitting by the boating pond.  The tour leader tried to gather enthusiasm for sight-seeing but some wanted to sunbathe whilst others (Helen and Ali) wanted to go shopping. As they moved on they were distracted by a crowd on the beach.  People had gathered to watch a Lifeboat demonstrate a Rescue.  Caroline, Sue and Helen watched the hunky lifeboat crew and the men admired the caterpillar track on the tow vehicle.  Everyone was happy. Asked if this was a planned event, Sarah commented “It is all part of the tour – no extra cost”

They sauntered along the High Street, picking up pace as ‘Threshers Wine Shop’ was spotted.  Back at the car park most people were physically tired except Trudi who wanted to go for a bike ride.  Most were a bit pink from the sun and all were gasping for tea!!!

With the teashop rebellion about to gather pace, the tour leader was quick to suggest that she had a kettle waiting to boil back at her cottage.  So great was the need for tea that Robert and Dave ignored the pub opposite and joined the group for a cuppa.

Walking on Dunwich Heath

At this point, the tour leader realized that the sun had taken its toil and she felt unwell so Trudi returned  the group back to the hostel and had her bike ride. The rest of the group enjoyed the homemade pies; Sarah collapsed in a heap and went to bed.

After a good sleep and lots of water she was able to return to her ’Day Job’ at the bookshop next day (Sunday).

When asked to comment on future trips she said “Only if it’s a grey day in a town full of teashops”.  She was spotted reading the C.Y.H.A. newsletter and marking dates in her diary, perhaps returning to here usual role as a follower, rather than a leader!




A Walk in the Gloom

Walking from Purleigh

It was a lovely bright summer evening when a group of Chelmsford YHA faithfuls gathered outside the Bell Inn in Purleigh. All eager to set off they waited, and waited………..and waited for the last two to arrive with the map! Having spent 30 minutes driving round in circles the latecomers (me!) eventually arrived and we all headed off.  A short while later we found ourselves wading through waist-high wheat fields but, once we passed through a hedge-gap, broad even paths awaited us as we strolled through paddocks showing off some very elegant horses (and some scary dogs!). The views across to the Estuary were marvellous, especially when, as daylight faded, lights began twinkling in the distance. As we’d all been eating our carrots we managed to spot and avoid the spikes of a rusty harrow which had been left randomly by the field path but, as night fell further, we decided to curtail our wanderings and head straight to The Bell where raging thirsts were duly quenched. Thanks to Dave J for leading us on a lovely walk and all who came (and waited so patiently– maybe I should ask for a ‘Sat Nav’ for Christmas?).


Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer