7/10/22. Our final day of the week. It was a quite windy but a sunny start to the day. We were welcomed by English Heritage’s archaeologist and broadcaster Julian Richards. There was a big turnout for the final day of 16 scooters and 17 walkers. We also welcomed another new member Ian on his first ramble. Stonehenge had allowed us to park in their visitor car park. They have excellent facilities for the disabled with 2 disabled toilets, one of them is a changing places toilet. This was our longest route of the week at 8 miles, but it was reasonably easy going. Coffee was alongside the “cursus” a processional route, in an enclosure with 6 round barrows. We headed on towards Woodhenge. As the wind had got very strong, we decided to have lunch in a pretty wooded area instead of the very exposed Woodhenge. After lunch we arrived at Woodhenge. On the route back towards Stonehenge we came down The Avenue, there were plenty of cows and, in the next field, sheep. This came along with lots of droppings, they seemed to be attracted to most wheels! We stopped at the fence by the stones for everyone to take photos although I didn’t take any. It was a really lovely day and we managed to finish the ramble before the rain. Thank you to everyone for coming along this week and making it such a friendly group. I special thanks to all the hard work of the volunteers. Paula
6/10/22 We had a short walk along the A4 before a long steep climb up Whaddon Hill. We were treated at the top with fabulous views over the Wiltshire countryside. We could see the Lansdowne Monument in the distance on Cherhill Hill. I told the tale of the Cherhill gang, a group of highwaymen, who, while naked, stopped coaches on what was the main London to Bath route and is now the A4. The theory was the gentile folk in the coaches would be so shocked by the sight, they would avert their eyes and not recognise the robbers! We had lunch at the Avenue, where some explored the stones. After lunch, we headed along the side of some extremely smelly fields as the farmer welcomed us by muck spreading! When we arrived back into the stone circles at Avebury, Andy gave a fascinating talk on the stones. Thank you to everyone for coming along and big thank you to our volunteers. Paula
4/10/22 Another great day, with a large turnout of 17 scooters and 18 walkers. We welcomed new member Gill on her first ramble. We started off going around the lake then up into the woods. The lake is suffering still from the heat and has the remains of the toxic blue green algae. We then started going up through the woods. They are mainly pine and at times there can be a lot of forestry activity logging trees. These are then sold or used on the Longleat Estate. At coffee break we were very spoilt by Simon’s wife Sue, who had made delicious cakes for us all. A big thank you from all of us. Fortified, we carried on up through the woods to the Capability Brown designed arboretum and then on to Heaven’s Gate for lunch. Heaven’s Gate, is the view point looking over the Longleat Estate and views off across Somerset. Before lunch, we recreated the photo from the 2019 ramble, although it did seem a bit like herding cats at times! After lunch we returned the same way back, this proved to be eventful for me as I got stuck in the mud! This then seemed to produce a large amount of laughter and photographing before rescuing me! The ramble ended with tea and more cake at the Shearwater Lake cafe. A big thank you to our amazing volunteers. This route is on the Longleat Estate. No lions were harmed! Paula
3/10/22. We had a lovely first ramble of the week. 15 scooters and 14 walkers made it a busy ramble. We were also joined by new member Michelle. The Savernake Forest is an ancient Forest dating back 1000’s of years. It is also a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). We did a circular route of the forest. The forest is owned by the Earl of Cardigan and is on a 999-year lease to Forestry England who manage the site. It was incredibly quiet and over the course of the day we only saw 4 people walking or on bikes. There were lots of comments on how peaceful it was. Thank you to all of you for making it a good day. Paula.
27/9/2022 Sudeley Castle Regional Ramble. Our third ramble at the request of Bel Cornwell and her family who are raising funds for the Sue Ryder hospice at Leckhampton that has been caring for her. So far they have raised over £11,000! Also with us was Heather Smith, our access contact in the National Trust. Heather has family connections with MND and is a trustee of the MND society. We were blessed with fantastic weather, such a change from our previous visit here only two weeks ago. The route climbs steadily for over 600 feet so we took it gently to our very welcome lunch stop at Deadmansbury Gate. The climb continues more slowly to Roel Hill Farm then comes the descent to the old mill at Waterhatch over some rather rough ground – it was tarmacked once but has now broken up. At Newmeadow Farm proper road begins which took us smoothly to Wadfield Grove where we re-entered the Sudeley Estate and so back to the car park. A fantastic day in wonderful countryside and with excellent company. John
9.9.2022. Matt Derby had kindly lent us his field to park in and we were joined for the ramble by Vivienne for who is a Cotswold Voluntary Warden. The wardens had checked the route and had cut back the brambles etc for us. She also gave us some interesting information. Andys widow Linda also joined us ...lovely to see you. Before we set off we had a minute's silence to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth the night before. We started off through the village and then up a steep and bumpy track known locally as the "Pad". We stopped for coffee admiring the views and the much better weather continuing up to the top of the hill to Bredon Tower, a folly built in the mid 18th century. We had lunch here, again with great views. In the afternoon we wound our way back to the car park, the weather improving and ending in sunshine. After an eventful week we said our goodbyes till the next time
8/9/22. It took a while for everybody to gather as there were several road closures around Winchcombe in readiness for the Tour of Britain cycle race so left a little later than planned. It was dry and bright and we set off across the grassland to the recently installed ramped bridge and the RADAR key opening kissing gates. Just for a change we passed through the estate climbing steeply again to the coffee break, well we were in the Cotswold hills !! The climb gave us all far reaching views over the castle Winchcombe and Cleeve Hill. The weather began to change. There was more climbing higher but the views as they had yesterday began to disappear. By the time we stopped for lunch the heavens opened and torrential rain fell with wind and thunder so lunch was rather short. We then continued in these horrid conditions but still with a smile and a joke about the British weather. Our route back took us past some lovely houses, Roel Farm and Gate before dropping back down to the fields of Sudeley Castle A good ramble in the rain !
6/9/2022. After leaving the National Trust’s Snowshill Manor, and the beautiful village of Snowshill, we quickly gain height in order to reach the Cotswold Way. Our route then followed the rim of the Cotswold escarpment overlooking the Evesham Valley, where we were able to enjoy far reaching views to Bredon Hill and the Malverns. We made a steep, rocky and narrow descent into Laverton village, and then continued to the pretty village of Buckland, where we stopped for lunch. Our return to Snowshill included two fairly steep climbs, but all was rewarded on our return to the Manor by tea and cakes at the NT tearoom
Cleeve Hill ramble 5/9/22 We all gathered in the Cleeve Hill Golf Club carpark. The weather seemed to be set fair so we climbed up and around the side of the quarry to gain views of Cleeve Hill and the fantastic surrounding scenery .As the ramble proceeded the weather slowly got worse and the lovely views began to disappear. Coats and waterproofs were put on and by the time we had lunch the rain had arrived. We carried on but the wind picked up and the rain got heavier. We were all quite exposed to the weather on the top of Cleeve Hill, the highest point in Gloucestershire so we voted to miss the last half mile and take a short cut back to the carpark. it was a shame about the weather, considering the long sunny spell we had had but its something you can not organise !! Everyone seemed to enjoy the ramble especially the morning
30th August 2022 A small group of scooters and walkers met today at Stanwick Lakes Visitor Centre on a bright, warm sunny morning. We had a short delay before setting off around the morning route which ran parallel to the A45, passing Celtic and Grebe Lakes and continued for about 3.5 miles before returning to the Visitor Centre for lunch. There was an abundance of wildlife on, in and around the lake. In the afternoon we went in the opposite direction around Solstice and Damsel Lakes passing carvings of frogs and an owl. We passed the Iron age Roundhouse which had attracted lots of other visitors but unfortunately was too small to get the scooters in. On our return to the visitor centre, we chatted and enjoyed ice creams, before setting off home. Gordon & Dee & Judy & Bernard.
Godrevy Friday 14th July 2022 we all met at the Rockpool Café car park. This was a pay car park as private land. Set off in more sunshine!! Steve lead us across a pebbly patch of land before going over a rise onto the most glorious and very long beach. The ramble had been organised for low tide so the sand was hard and everybody could go up and down at will. This made a lovely change from the slower and more uniform rambles and many of the members really enjoyed the freedom. We had coffee on the beach and then carried on further along to a sheltered sandy cove where we stopped for lunch. There were Sand Martins flying above us as they had burrowed their nests into the cliff face. During the afternoon we rambled to Seal Point where we were met by another National Trust ranger who talked to us about the seals which can be found here especially in November but there were non there as he spoke. It was yet another hot and sunny day but found a little sea breeze when we went to look at Godrevy Lighthouse, excellent visibility out to sea. The ranger talked to us about land management and plans to move all the car parks - good luck with that one !!! Retracing back past Seal Cove and up to the view point overlooking the area we visited yesterday. Back to Seal Cove where we had left a few members who didn't want to do the view point uphill section to find them looking at a solitary seal who was sunbathing on the rocks below us. We returned back down the road which was narrow in parts and so had to let cars pass us which took a few minutes before getting back to our vehicles. We said goodbyes and thanks to Steve Heather and Martin for making everything work as it should. The end to a fantastic week of spectacular rambles with great people and great weather. Sarah
Tehidy North Cliffs Thursday 14th July 2022 We had a hiccup on arrival as our designated car park was locked but a quick phone call had the ranger opening the gates and we all gathered ready for the ramble. We crossed a road and descended a path towards the sea giving lovely views. We were met by a National Trust ranger who gave us a talk and then walked with us to some new gates they have installed. He wanted to see how we dealt with them and what we thought of the way of getting through them. For some of the members it proved quite difficult but not impossible. We carried on along the coast path again with great views. It was sunny but quite windy and we had to hold onto our hats for fear of losing them into the barley fields which looked stunning blowing in the breeze. Had a late coffee break but worth it for the views, the deep pink flowers of the heather contrasting with the deep blue sea both bathed in sunshine. We rambled on towards lunch which was due to of been in a field but the farmer thought it might of been a bit bumpy so he allowed us to stop in his garden which was very thoughtful of him and his wife so many thanks to them. After lunch we walked along a lane then turned off back into Tehidy Park. This was a shady but uphill route and we got back to the car park about 3pm. As it was so hot most people finished their day but Steve offered to do an extra "mini" ramble for those who wanted to. 3 scooter riders and 3 walkers did and went through tree lined paths down to a cafe for ice cream and a look at the nature reserve lake before returning to the car park. One of the Trampers had a problem at the end with the steep incline and needed to be given a little push but nothing too dramatic. Sarah
Botallack Tuesday 12th July 2022 We all met at the "Count House car park ( National Trust ) for 10am ish !! The group was similar to Monday The morning ramble took us along a stony bumpy path past many disused and old mine buildings including the one used in the filming of the TV series Poldark. There were superb views and only needed "Ross" and "Demelza" to appear to make it perfect !! We rambled further towards the sea and took our coffee break overlooking "Cape Cornwall Chimney" and its bay. We had the team photo by a quarry with the blue sea in the background. The day had started with light cloud and muggy but as the day went on the skies cleared becoming very hot 27C . We went back to the Count House for lunch. Sharon had collected the pre-ordered Cornish Pasties for those who wanted one, they were very hot and very nice Thank you Sharon. In the afternoon we set off to Levant Mine and Beam House. This was another rocky and bumpy path and quite difficult. There was a bit of an upset when one of the ramblers on his three wheeler went over a large rock at the wrong angle and tipped over. All the walkers were there very quickly, checked him over then helped him up and righted his scooter. No apparent harm to man nor machine apart from very dusty trousers !! Thanks to all the walkers for their help, care and concern. We carried on to Levant Mine with its old ruins and some restored buildings. Here we had a talk about the mine and mining from a National Trust warden which was interesting. We then went back to the Count House cafe for a most welcome drink or ice cream. Today was another stunning ramble thanks Steve. Sarah
11th July 2022 The first of our four Cornish rambles was around Penrose Estate. It was a lovely hot sunny day and we met at Fairground car park. Leading was Steve although a lot of the time he liked to "lead from the rear "as he was filming the ramble. There were 13 scooters and 9 walkers more than we expected as Steve had brought along some of his group from the Wheeled Access Group which made for a good ramble.Fortunately the first part of the route was through woods, the trees giving much needed shade. Whilst we were rambling a young man joined us and asked Martin about the Disabled Ramblers. Martin explained and it turned out that the young man who was called Jordan was "The Lord of the Manor" and he invited us to stop on the way back at the manor house for our "team" photo. Coffee break was at The Stables where the National Trust had a mobile unit selling tea, coffee, cake and icecream ! We then carried on along the valley to Loe Pool and the sea. There were fantastic views along the way and overlooking Loe Bar which separates the sea from the Pool. There was no shade here so we retraced our tracks to a shadier spot for lunch. We returned back past the Stables to the Manor House where Jordan met us all and we took him up on his offer to have our photo taken in the garden. He gave us an impromptu talk on the history of his family and how he came to inherit the house from his father. Very interesting chat from a very nice young man. We returned to the start after a very good but very hot ramble especially for the walkers !! Paula was going to be with us this week but unfortunately fell to the dreaded Covid and had to return home. Martin and Heather who were the MSU drivers and their friends John and Chris stepped up to fill in and did a marvellous job doing the paperwork and organising everything. Many thanks to them. Sarah
Cwm Penamnen – 5th July 2022. Three scooter riders and one walker set off on this beautiful six-mile ramble from the station car park in Dolwyddelan, our numbers depleted somewhat due to illness. The first part of our route was uphill to a coffee stop overlooking the Penamnen valley and the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance which became more visible as the cloud lifted. After taking in the view, we went back downhill to join the lower track around the valley, turning onto a slightly more adventurous track following the ancient route of Sarn Helen before stopping for lunch at by Afon Cwm Penamnen. After lunch we continued along the valley track before crossing the river and stopping once again opposite Carreg Alltern, a rocky outcrop where one of our scooter riders used to climb many years ago. From here we re-joined the outward route back to the car park. Thank you to Natural Resources Wales for making this ramble possible by improving a couple of access points. Marian & Barry
Chatsworth 1st July 2002 We met at Chatsworth House Stables today before setting off on our morning ramble, here we met Jenny, a volunteer from Radical Horizons, who explained that we could have a guide to take us around the Burning Man exhibition if we wished. With the weather promising to be good, we set off to the Hunting Tower for our morning coffee. The views from up there overlooking the Derbyshire countryside are wonderful. We then continued to the lake, which supplies the water to the Emperor fountain in front of the House for a few more photos, continued around Stand Wood passing the Swiss Cottage and back to the Stables just as it started to rain heavily, fortunately for only a few minutes and then the sun came out again. After lunch we were joined by Stuart a volunteer guide, who walked with us all afternoon around the exhibition in the park, explaining about the artists and origins of the exhibition. It was fascinating and rounded off a super week. As we gathered at the end of the week one new member said that ‘this week rambling had been better for her than 2 weeks on a Mediterranean cruise’. Judy & Bernard
Cromford Wharf 30th June 2022 Just a small group of ramblers started the route today from Cromford Wharf up to Middleton Top but the low numbers didn’t mar the enjoyment we had, the views and weather were just as good as our last visit. One member has not been on a ramble for 12 years and the other has only just joined us and they were really enjoying themselves doing them the world of good. We had lots of people stopping to chat and ask questions on the way up the 2 steep hills to Middleton Top. Also, at the visitor centre a couple from London who were themselves volunteers to disabled people, were enquiring about Disabled Ramblers. This extended our lunch hour, but it didn’t matter at all we were only too pleased to answer their questions. We went into the visitor centre only to see a photo and write up from the last visit 2 weeks ago on the wall and so we left them with some DR leaflets. We returned via the same route but called into the Stone Centre café for ice creams and teas and cake before returning to the Wharf via High Peak Junction. Judy & Bernard
Manifold Valley from Hulme End 28th June 2022 A brighter start to our 6-mile ramble today along the Manifold Valley. We started from Hulme End visitor centre and our group today comprised of 7 scooters and 9 walkers which included 3 committee members and husbands. We set off from the car park alongside the River Manifold where we met several other ramblers along the way up to and through the tunnel for our morning coffee stop overlooking the lovely Derbyshire countryside. Our stop for lunch was at Wetton Mill and we sat on the banks of the meandering river watching the children playing in the river and enjoyed each other’s company. There were several groups of walkers here including a group from National Trust. After an hour for lunch, we crossed the road and joined another rougher track which led us alongside the river but on the opposite side until reaching the next road and crossing the river bridge just before the tunnel, which we had passed through earlier. We made another short stop before crossing another road with the help of our walkers before returning to Hulme End visitor centre for snacks at the café. Judy & Bernard
Parsley Hay 27th June 2022 We met at the car park at Parsley Hay and whilst unloading the MSU we were treated to a flypast of a low flying Chinook as it passed directly overhead. This week of rambles began in rain which stayed with us on and off from Parsley Hay to Hurdlow and then along the lane to Dowlow at the end of the High Peak Trail which was so different from our previous visit in the glorious sunshine. We were a smaller group this time but had just as much fun with our new MSU tower Geoff and were joined by Heather and Martin who will be towing for the Cornwall Rambles. As we approached our lunch stop Bernard and I realised that our ruck sack was missing with our lunch sitting in the car back at Parsley Hay. We were both very grateful for the sandwich, crips and biscuits that were shared with us from the other ramblers and we were very grateful for the sunshine that greeted us, it dried us out and stayed with us back to Hurdlow and Parsley Hay. On reaching Parsley Hay where we finished the ramble with refreshments one of the Loan Scooters stopped working at this point and it would neither go forward or back but after ‘fiddling around’ Bernard managed to fix the key and off it went back into the MSU. New key barrel needed. Thank you everyone for an enjoyable day despite the wet start. Judy & Bernard
Chatsworth. Friday 17th June 2022 Another very warm day was predicted. On entering the grounds up to the car park the first of the Burning Man exhibition can be seen which has created more visitors than usual. We set off on our morning route up the steep hill into Stand Wood behind Chatsworth House. The rhododendrons were out on either side of the path up to the Hunting Tower where we had our coffee break to admire the views over the countryside and to rest in the shade from the warmth of the day. Before setting off again we had 2 photo calls one of the whole group and another with just the experienced and new MSU towers which is a first to have so many in one place altogether. We continued to the lake, which feeds the Emperor fountain and passed the Swiss Cottage on our way back down the hill through the trees to lunch in the shade at the car park. We sat close to the Wings of Glory, a horse which is lit up and does not move until on the hour, then it starts moving its wings in an attempt to fly away. In the afternoon the route went across the open fields, passing more of the displays including a large Mermaid. The deer and sheep were keeping cool under the trees as we passed, we then continued to the Golden Gate for more photos. Returning alongside the river towards the House we passed close to the Burning Man and back into the car park. Judy & Bernard
Cromford Wharf to Middleton Top. Thursday 16th June 2022. Another lovely start to the day with sunshine and a good-sized group of members and friends. We set off along the canal to High Peak Junction before climbing the first of the 2 steep 1 in 8 gradients. We had several stops on the way under the trees to the coffee stop overlooking the village of Cromford where we could see the cable car working at Matlock in the distance and the scenery was breath taking and well worth the climb. We continued along the flat part of the trail passing Black Rocks to the start of the final climb up the last 1 in 8 hill to Middleton Top. Just a little way up the second climb one of the trampers developed a problem and had to go back to wait for us to return to the Stone Centre café. Two other scooters followed suit and developed problems on the way up, mainly because of the heat and steepness of the climb. After a leisurely lunch to allow the trampers and helpers to cool down we set off back down the hill and visited the Stone Centre for a well-deserved ice cream at the café. We continued to the end of the High Peak Trail and stopped for drinks again at High Peak Junction just before they closed before completing the day’s very enjoyable ramble back at Cromford Wharf. Judy and Bernard
Hulme End, Manifold Valley, Derbyshire 14-06-2022. With lovely blue skies and a little cloud, we met at Hulme End Visitor Centre and were immediately joined by a robin (a new member?) who settled on one of the trampers inspected it and then brought his ‘friend’ to look inside MSU before flying off. The same group of members and friends as yesterday minus one member, set of along the trail which was an old railway between Leek and the Manifold railway which carried milk and cheese from the isolated dairy at Ecton. Today it was extremely busy with horses, cyclists and other walkers enjoying the lovely weather. At the tunnel we had to wait for a van driver who said he would love to join us if he hadn’t have been working, and then we stopped for our coffee break overlooking the beautiful scenery around us to take photos. Further on at Wetton Mill we had a relaxing lunch alongside the River Manifold where we joined many walkers and motorcyclists. After lunch our route continued along the opposite side of the river back to the tunnel and continued back to Hulme End where we enjoyed coffees, teas and ice creams at the end of our very enjoyable ramble. Judy and Bernard
Parsley Hay Monday 13th June We met at Parsley Hay for our first ramble of the week to grey overcast skies but fortunately no rain came all day. We were a group of 10 scooters and 9 walkers including 2 of our new towers Duncan and Anne Allan. We set off along the High Peak Trail towards the village of Hurdlow with splendid views for miles of rolling hills and fields. We stopped for coffee at Hurdlow just before leaving the trail to cross the road and down the lane passing Hurdlow Hall and the old Bakewell -Longnor-Leek turn pike road. After a couple of miles, having thankfully not passed a single vehicle along this narrow stretch of road we turned right onto a loose stony path and then returned to the High Peak Trail where we stopped for our lunch break. After lunch we continued along the High Peak Trail having several interested members of the public chatting with us and cyclists passing by. We had a short break before returning to Parsley Hay for a group photo call and teas, cakes and ice creams. Judy and Bernard
8th June 2022: New Brighton to Seacombe Ferry Terminal and Return Five scooter riders and four walkers, including new member Tina and husband Roy, joined Michael Moore on his first regional ramble along the Millennium Trail from New Brighton to Seacombe. Starting on the promenade in New Brighton we rambled to Perch Rock Fort, a former defence battery built in 1825 to defend the port of Liverpool. At this point some scooter riders took advantage of the low tide and detoured towards New Brighton Lighthouse and the beach before returning to the promenade. Our route continued along the bank of the River Mersey, passing the impressive Wallesey Town Hall, on our way to Seacombe. At Seacombe we stopped to admire the famous Liverpool waterfront, with the Norwegian Star cruise ship docked for the day, and the ferry crossing the Mersey! Our lunch break was in Vale Park where there is a fascinating collection of small sculptures made from natural and reclaimed materials known as the Fairy Garden. From here we made our way back to Perch Rock Fort before stopping at the side of Marine Lake near the car park to watch an intrepid water skier unsuccessfully trying to master the art of jumping! Thank you to Michael for an interesting and very successful ramble. Marian & Barry Andrews
9th June 2022. Wonderful regional ramble on the Quantock Hills AONB. Many thanks to Bill Jenman of the AONB who was our erudite guide, and to Steve and Sally for helping out at critical moments. An intrepid group of ramblers - Paula Brunt, Anne Webber Jones, Phil Dunn, Jeffrey Slade, and Alasdair Gordon Guest - made for a special day. We did a beautiful and varied route from Ramscombe, up to Crowcombe Park, along The Drove to Triscombe Stone, up to WIlls Neck and then a lovely drop through the woods back to the car park. This was part of the Quantocks Walking Festival - many thanks Lynne Abbott.
Malvern Hills. All Saints Church to Chase End Hill and Bromsberrow Place. Saturday 21st May 2022. A delightful ramble with a great mix of ancient lanes, woodland and open views across Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Chase End Hill is the most southerly of the Malvern Hills. The area is much more peaceful than the northern hills. Soon after leaving All Saints Church we followed The Dingle, an ancient sunken lane which was rather rutted at the start. Emerging at North Lodge, a thatched cottage, we entered the Bromsberrow Estate and followed the old road leading to Bromsberrow Place. After crossing an open field, we followed the path through a canopy of deciduous trees and rhododendron bushes which were in flower. Soon we were climbing to the summit of Chase End Hill where we were delighted that the earlier mist had cleared giving views across to Bredon hill, May Hill, Eastnor Castle and, nestling in the valley below us, the hamlet of White Leaved Oak where the three counties of Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire meet. After descending the hill and breaking for lunch, we re-entered the parkland of Bromsberrow Place, home to a herd of the ancient and rare White Park cattle. The estate is owned by Gilbert Greenall CBE DL. He is a senior adviser to both the UK government and United Nations on humanitarian emergencies and the welfare of civilians during and after conflict. Greenall was born the second son of the 3rd Baron Daresbury. His elder brother is Peter Greenall, 4th Baron Daresbury. He has kindly given us permission to go anywhere on his estate. John Cuthbertson
Along the Tyne – Friday 13th May. There is an excellent car park at Prudhoe; plenty of room, toilets, café and free! Once a coal mining town, Prudhoe was also home to an ICI plant manufacturing fertiliser. The spoil heap from this is chalk now turfed over and called the Spetchells. This steep-sided hill formed one side of our view with the river on the other for the first mile. Then came Hagg Bank Bridge and the start of the old railway bed that runs as a shared-use path all the way to Newburn via Wylam. Just after Wylam is George Stevenson’s birthplace, a small cottage where his family would all have lived in one room. Looked after by the National Trust it was still closed as a precaution against spreading COVID. Opposite the cottage is a gate through the hedge giving access to a picnic area by the Tyne. This made a lovely lunch stop before we returned the same way. John Cuthbertson
Souter Lighthouse and the Leas – Thursday 11th May. Built in 1871, Souter Lighthouse was the first in the world to be designed to use alternating current and was amongst the most powerful in the world. It sits on Lizard Point but was named after Souter Point, a mile to the south, to avoid confusion with the Lizard lighthouse in Cornwall. Our ramble took us first to the south to Potters Cove then north along the Leas. This was once an area of farmland which was bought by the local miners for their recreation field. The coast of Magnesian limestone cliffs is peppered with rock stacks giving plenty of nesting sites for sea birds and great views for us. Half way along we made use of the public toilets next to Marsden Rock. This once had a staircase allowing locals and tourists to climb to the summit. Although this has gone, the Grotto and Restaurant are still open at the foot of the cliff and can be accessed by a lift or steps. Our turning point at Trow Point still holds a WW2 gun. Returning across the Leas, we finished our ramble with cream teas at the National Trust café.
Craster – Tuesday 10th May. A small fishing village, Craster is famous for its smoked kippers – delicious if you can cope with the bones. The area contains outcrops of the Whinsill, a tabular layer of the igneous rock dolerite. One outcrop is now the Craster car park. The hard, angular, rock was crushed to make road chippings and was exported from the harbour. Our route took us across a flat area with the sea to the right and the low hills of the Heughs to the left. All the time our eyes were drawn to the dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. Built when relations between King Edward II and his powerful baron, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, had become openly hostile, Lancaster began the fortress in 1313. The earl failed to reach Dunstanburgh when his rebellion was defeated, and was executed in 1322. The castle had been served by a harbour to the south side. This is still a marshy area today which caused us to climb the rocky and steep path up to the castle before descending a grassy slope. A narrow, bumpy, path took us around to the north side of the castle for our coffee stop. Sand dunes start here. These are used by the Dunstanburgh Golf Club so we made our way on the England Coast Path to the club house for lunch. Our return route took us on the other side of the Heughs which were brightly covered in flowering gorse. Finally, we climbed up and over the Heughs at Big Shaid pass giving us a grandstand view across the sea and to the castle in the north and Craster just to the south. John Cuthbertson
Druridge Day – Monday 9th May. From Cresswell in the south to Amble in the north, the whole of the coast just inland of Druridge Bay was once a series of opencast coal mines. These have been replaced by a series of pools managed to attract and sustain a wide variety of birds, mammals and insects. Most of the area is managed by the local Wildlife Trust. From the Trust we had the pleasure of being joined by Lee who provided a wealth of information about the way the area has been transformed and is being managed. He was very quick to spot and point out a number of birds to us. One pool, Ladyburn Lake, is owned by Northumberland CC and is run as a Country Park. We watched in awe as people donned thin wetsuits and proceeded to swim around the lake, escorted by a stand-up paddle boarder. At the end of the lake is a ford which provided great entertainment for those who like making a splash! John Cuthbertson
Nisbett – Friday 29th April Lovely blue skies greeted us as we set off for our ramble today in the large designed landscaped park and gardens of Monteviot. We rambled today through the woodlands, gardens and along the banks of the river Teviot to Nisbet. Our coffee stop was overlooking the river where we spotted 2 large herons who posed for photos for us. Onward we then began to climb the steep hills up to our lunch break at the Waterloo Monument passing cattle a sheep on the way. Just before reaching the top of the hill, we needed to change the towing tramper as it had begun to overheat. Once at the top the hill the 360 views of the surrounding hills were fantastic, and we spent a leisurely hour there in the glorious sunshine before descending back through the woods to the road. We returned to the visitor centre and stopped for teas and beautiful ice creams at the café. A fantastic end to our week in the Scottish Borders for which we thank James and Anne for all the hard work in organising the rambles for us under extremely difficult circumstances. Judy, Bernard and James
Bowhill – Thursday 28th April We started on a cold frosty morning with bright blue skies. Our group of scooters and walkers met at the main car park and set off along the Duchess Drive, so called as one of the duchess’s drove in her carriage along this route which climbs steadily for some considerable distance through the trees. We had our coffee break at a stone settee where the trees opened, and the views improved. The higher, we went the better the views became looking towards the Cheviots and the Eildon Hills. We stopped for lunch at the only bench at the top with fantastic views overlooking the hills around us which we were unable to see the last time we visited in 2019 because of the rain and mist. Unfortunately, were unable to set up the toilet tent there, so after we had eaten Bernard and I went ahead to set up the toilet tent a little further on to the relief of many. After a short stop we continued downhill now looking across the fields and then into the pine forest where we could see the damage which the storms had caused there a few weeks ago. We continued towards Newark Tower (a Peel tower). This was a look out for the clans and is steeped in history. On either side of this road there were horses, sheep and lambs in the fields before we returned to the grounds of Bowhill passing the Rhododendrons coming out in their many colours and back to the car park. Judy, Bernard and James
Tweed Valley Forest Park Glentress – Tuesday 26th April We met Carola, a member of the Glentress Team and her colleague, who took a group photo on a drizzly day as we headed off along the forest tracks. The higher we went along the newly constructed paths the drizzle eased and eventually the sun began to shine. Our coffee stop alongside a small lake, where James demonstrated his prowess going down a steep, rocky slope towards the water whilst the rest of us watched. The ramble today was in the shape of a figure of 8 and after the middle section we began a gradual steep slope up to the top where we had our lunch break. We met another member of the Glentress team checking the many cycle tracks on his very impressive electric bike. We set off again, downhill, to the relief of the walkers, towards the central section of the route. After returning to the road we turned left downhill, and met a monster tractor pulling a road roller flattening the newly laid hardcore. We had a short afternoon toilet stop before heading uphill, through the trees to see fantastic views towards Peebles. Then downhill again through the woods we continued and back to the start. At the Wild Watch Centre there was a ‘live link’ to an Osprey on its nest, which was a delight to see. Judy, Bernard & James
Today we started our 2022 rambles from Mellerstain House in the Scottish Borders with 7 scooters and 4 walkers. With James in the lead, we rambled from the beautiful Georgian House, which is the home of the Earls of Haddington, around the estate where we passed the many fallen trees that had been blown over owing to the high winds earlier in the year. The weather today was good with bright skies but with rather a cold breeze. We were joined by Janet and John, our new MSU towers and helpers who joined us only last year. At lunchtime we returned to the café by the House. We set off again in the afternoon through the woods, around the lake passing the stunning landscaped grounds and formal Italianate gardens to the rear of the house where we came across ‘the house of the indifference fanatic’ which is a gravity defying structure suspended in mid-air by opposing forces, which was quite a sight at the rear of the house and in front of the lake with its wildlife. Thank you to James for a very enjoyable day. Judy, Bernard and James
29th March: Regional Ramble Marbury Country Park and Neumann’s Flash. A beautiful spring day for six-mile ramble! Three scooter riders and two walkers set off through a small mainly evergreen arboretum before reaching the tree lined carriageway leading to the former site of Marbury Hall. Continuing on our route we arrived on the path alongside Budworth Mere. Here there was an unusually large number of people with binoculars intent on studying the birds on the mere. The ramble continued through woodland, with numerous patches of wood anemone, before crossing the Trent and Mersey Canal and stopping for coffee. We continued on to Dairy House Meadows and down to Neumann’s Flash. The Flash was formed when a salt mine collapsed in the late 1800s and filled with water. This area was later used to dump lime waste from a nearby chemical works before being reclaimed in 1970s, creating unique soil and water conditions that now support an unusual habitat. The route at the southern end of the Flash is lined with silver birch trees which looked stunning in the sunshine against the water and the blue sky. Our lunch stop was back at Dairy House Meadows. After lunch, our route took us parallel to Trent and Mersey Canal and along the towpath, before crossing over the canal and re-entering Marbury Park. Many thanks to David James, the Countryside Officer for Cheshire West and Chester, for his support with this ramble. Marian & Barry