Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

September 2014

The Tour de Norfolk

Holkham Hall, Norfolk

Just as the Tour de France was drawing to a close in France, CYHA took to the alpine peaks of Norfolk in our very own test of endurance. We were staying in the lovely hostel at Burnham Deepdale, just a stone’s throw from the North Norfolk Coast Path. Jim took care of breakfast with a fine sausage sandwich to set us up for the day and Chris sorted us out with lunch. Not that there was much chance of going hungry. Whilst the athletes of the Tour had to make do with energy gels and the odd bottle of water from a Domestique, we had some more fulfilling opportunities for sustenance. As we cycled towards the Stiffkey valley we had the choice of either turning left to the spiritual feast of Walsingham Abbey, or right to the prize-winning pies of Great Walsingham Barns. It was a tricky choice, but the pies won.

Tom and Jim were easily the pack leaders on their road bikes, but their advantage was lost when Dave had us pedalling up a rocky farm track. It was probably less than a mile, but it required quite a lot of care as we bumped over the flints and wobbled through the gravel. Tom even got off and walked. As it turned out it wasn’t the road bikes, but Louise’s chunky mountain bike that had the puncture. Luckily we had Bicycle Repair Man (aka Jim) on hand!

With our trials over, we headed for the cake and cream teas of Holkham Hall and congratulated ourselves on thirty miles of excellent cycling. From here it was only a couple of miles back to the hostel and a slap-up evening meal. Although Doug was mildly traumatised when he realised it was vegetarian.

A worthy mention also goes to our walkers from the weekend: John and Caroline notched up a massive 16 miles on the Saturday, without anything like as much cake as the cyclists!

Sunday’s activities were much more varied with short cycles, long cycles, beaches and yet more tea rooms. We may well be fitter after all this activity, but probably fatter too. More Lantern Rouge than Yellow Jersey.


In The Wake of Hurricane Bertha


It was 10:30am on a wild Sunday morning and four bedraggled figures cowered in the doorway of the ladies lavatory in Thaxted. A fifth figure ran across the car park and breathlessly asked: "Are you the Wimbish Walkers?". Carol replied: "Well, we were hoping that no one else would turn up…. Oh sorry, did you say Wimbish Walkers? I misheard, no we’re not them. We’re from Chelmsford." The lady scuttled off to question another new comer to the car park and we sighed deeply as we saw Steve drive in. If he’s come all the way from Clacton, we’ll have to do the walk. All the time the rain thundered down around us.

Steve booted up and joined us in the doorway and we were just saying that we supposed we’d have to set off, when Doug drew up and suggested we start the walk with morning coffee. To be honest, we didn’t need much persuading.

In walking across Thaxted to the tea room through sheets of rain, we got thoroughly soaked. Luckily we were the only customers, as we left little pools of water where we sat. After a leisurely hour sampling the tea and crumpets, the rain had eased sufficiently to tempt us out on our walk. The hour in the café proved to be very well spent; what rain there was stayed relatively light for the rest of the walk – although we did get some exceptionally dramatic skies. At one point it looked like Mount Doom had moved from Middle Earth to just outside Dunmow, but even that blew over.

The last part of our walk back up to Thaxted should have been a scenic stroll on the banks of the Chelmer, but unfortunately the unruly Chelmer had considerably burst its banks and we were forced on a bit of a detour. By this time the sun was out and the views were marvellous, so the extra distance wasn’t too much of an effort.


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