WALKING - STRIDERS
Group Leader: Tom Bell
The Striders Walking Group is for walkers who like a challenge. They meet on the 3rd Monday of every month at 10am. Walks will be around 8 miles, possibly with stiff inclines and testing terrain. Venues will possibly be some distance away (especially during the Summer months), so be prepared to share cars and to leave early!
For more details Contact: Tom Bell 01777 710969 (Mobile:07879519220)
Christmas Lunch 2019
This is a heads-up regarding the walking groups Christmas Lunch on 2nd December.
(Yes, we know the kids have only just gone back to school!)
We've had 3 excellent years at Ye Olde Bell, with absolutely no complaints about anything, but we've decided to spread the love around a bit!
As such, it will be the Best Western West Retford Hotel this year, which some might relish, it being within post-meal staggering distance of home for a few!
There'll be a choice of 2 courses for £15 or 3 courses for £20, which sounds very reasonable as they include coffee and mince pies. We will circulate copies of the menu via email about a week prior and will be taking bookings at this month's GM (26th) as well as the October GM. We'll have ample hard copy menus for perusal at the GMs as well.
Tuesday,17th September 2019 - a 10 miler, setting off from the Chequers Inn, Ranby at 11.00 am.
This includes a stop-off at Babworth Church for some refreshment and to glean some of the history associated with the church.
Also - forthcoming Recce on 28th August 2019
Liz will undertaking a recce of an upcoming Striders walk in the Stocksbridge area on the above date. Start time 10.00 am, unless otherwise informed.Here are Liz's directions:
"Details on directions for recce Wednesday 28 August Stocksbridge. Take M1 leave at junction 35A onto the A616 and follow the A616 to the roundabout for Stocksbridge and Fox Valley Shopping Centre carry straight on at this roundabout still on the A616, about 2 miles after the roundabout, a sign for steelworks, west access, Stocksbridge, turn left there onto Manchester Road follow to the bottom and opposite some kind of car place there is a sharpish right turn that is Unsliven Road, park at the bottom where the road ends and changes names. "
If you would be kind enough to inform me of your intention to attend the recce we will attempt to coordinate transport.
Tom, on behalf of Liz and Geoff.
(The walk proper will take place in October or November)
For further information, please click: HERE
August 2019 - Cotgrave area.
A select 8 of us gathered at the Foss (without an "e") Bridge, quite aware that the predicted weather conditions meant that we required to take all manner of garb with us, apart from the thermal gear, of course !
We'd not ventured south of the Trent before, even though the start location is far more easily accessible than many others we've sampled, so walk leader Vernon's choice was eagerly awaited.
We weren't disappointed by any stretch of the imagination, as we ambled (if sub 20 minutes per mile for the first four miles is ambling !) along a disused and derelict stretch of the Grantham Canal towards Vimy Ridge Farm, named so by a father in commemoration of his son who was killed at the Battle of the Somme on 27th September 1916.
Disused is a subjective term of course, as though this stretch of the canal is not navigable, it is definitely " used ", if the numbers of people we witnessed walking along its towpath was anything to go by, undoubtedly enjoying the scenery and the ambience of the area.
Reflecting on our 10 miles plus journey, it's a struggle to remember seeing or hearing many vehicles, even when going through the village streets of Cropwell Bishop, home of Cropwell Bishop Stilton Cheese. Accordingly, the relative silence, only broken by the sounds of nature, was a treat worth relishing.
Along the way, we'd mused over how imminently the crops, particularly wheat, were ripe for harvesting, sadly for some of us a portent of an almost imminent autumn and shorter days.
Approaching the aforementioned cheesemakers (blessed are the cheesemakers, as you will be aware !) in Cropwell Bishop, we were suddenly reminded why we'd brought the additional clothing as the heavens opened and we scrambled to access our waterproofs. Fortunately, it didn't last long and as we were within the last mile and a half it was a small penance to pay for the positives we'd enjoyed along the way.
Arriving back at our cars, it transpired that we'd covered something like 10.5 to 10.7 miles ( depending on device) in 3 hours and 49 minutes, an average pace of 21 minutes and 50 seconds, accounting for some 925 calories that could be consumed guilt-free at the Lord Ted in Newark, our post-walk refreshment stop.
Many thanks to Vernon for proposing and leading this lovely walk, as well as to Pippa for her photos and access to Runkeeper stats.
As ever, it was our friends and co-walkers who put the icing on the proverbial, so many thanks to you too.
See you soon.
Tom and Geoff.
For images of walk, please click: HERE
Grantham Canal: HERE
Vimy Ridge Farm: HERE
Cropwell Bishop Stilton: HERE
Retford U3A Walking Groups Summer Stroll - Haworth 5/8/19
A certain young lady called Jean did say something about the sun shining on the righteous a little while ago and how right she was !
An almost full coachload of us had left Kettlewell's with some relief, the most recent forecast for this particular day being the best since Adam was a lad and we weren't disappointed !
Alighting at the oh-so-appropriately-named Sun Street in Haworth a smidgen ahead of schedule, it wasn't too long before we were on our way through Central Park and into our Railway Children Walks, brilliantly augmented by Jean's leaflet, detailing all sorts of information relevant to our day out and further assisted by David's well-researched narration.
For those of us having recently seen the film, the Railway Children Walks seemed so familiar and undoubtedly added to the occasion.
Arriving back at Central Park it was decision time for many: Either finish walking there and have even more time to enjoy the splendours of downtown Haworth, or carry on and do the Full Monty ( in a manner of speaking!). That said, the Full Monty brimmed right over for a hardy few of our number who ventured yet further, assisting a stricken American tourist along the way too- well done folks!
Eventually, we all arrived back in Haworth, free to while away the time until 5pm and our return journey. Many different options were explored between us, what with trains, buses and a selection of tourist attractions all being on offer. Not forgetting the wide array of eating places to choose from, of course.
That "free time" was also an opportunity to bump into other members who had pursued different options throughout the day and to learn what they'd been up to and just as importantly, glean how much they'd enjoyed it.
All safely gathered in, we embarked on our return journey, courtesy of driver Neil, delivering us safely back and also in good time for Coronation Street too ! Does it get better than that?
I've got to heap some special praise on to my fellow coordinators, David and Jean, who between themselves decided on the location, did the recce and untold amounts of research, plus had the vision to provide the option of melding the Railway Children locations along with the opportunity to see the film. All that, plus the on-the-day services mentioned above too ! Many thanks to you both.
As ever, nothing would ever be a success without you, the members, whose feedback to this point has been nothing other than glowing. Many thanks to you all.
See you in September!
Tom, on behalf of David, Jean and Geoff.
For further information and photos, please click: HERE
July 2019 - Firbeck and Maltby area.
13 of us made the short hop to our starting point of the Black Lion pub, Firbeck, nestling almost bang on the Notts./South Yorkshire border.
Link to information: HERE
June 2019 - Win Hill and Hope Cross
A small, though many would say, perfectly formed, group of us assembled at the somewhat B & B-sounding Heatherdene car park at the south eastern edge of Ladybower reservoir, undoubtedly ready for anything the myriad of different weather forecasts had indicated in the days leading up to our trek.
Undaunted, we set off suitably togged and ready for whatever nature may throw at us.
It didn't seem long at all before we were ascending through the woods and catching up with some of those we might not have seen for a while, fleetingly allowing us to ignore the increasing precipitation levels as we approached the trig. point at Win Hill Pike.
We didn't linger there too long, what with the rather more moist conditions and the fact that the stunning views that we might have been blessed with were just a tad tarnished by the associated murk, but hey- ho !
Having reached driveable tracks on the downhill section towards Hope Cross, our cadence quickened, though we were to discover later that we'd already made good time to that point which served as our snack stop for twenty minutes or so, the dry stone walling affording some welcome respite from the breezy, damp conditions.
Once refuelled, we set off through the woods somewhat carefully, underfoot conditions being treacherous as we negotiated the steep downhill section that was to take us down almost to the edge of Ladybower.
Once safely gathered in at almost the water's edge, we swung a right turn that pointed us towards the homeward stretch and an ironic sight of the Sun's glimmer that we'd not managed to experience up to that point !
However, our positive experience hadn't been in the slightest bit dented and indeed was positively enhanced once we'd discarded our walking gear and ensconced ourselves in the nearby Ladybower Inn as we valiantly attempted to replace all those calories burned along the way.
By then we'd realised that our walk had taken us a demi-smidgen ( technical phrase !) under 4 hours, around half an hour quicker than Paul, Philip and Robin had taken on their recce, some 11 days earlier, though our keenness to minimise exposure to the weather may just have played a part in that regard !
Many thanks to Paul for safely leading us, plus the photos he provided also.
Thanks also to those who attended, once again enhancing our experience.
Geoff and Tom
Link to images (not all taken on the day) of the above walk, please click: HERE
May 2019 - Monsal Trail
"12 Striders gathered at Hassop Station about 10am and set off at 10.30am walking for about 1 mile along the Monsal Trail past Thornbridge Hall and avoided a few cyclists with and without bells. We then came off the Monsal Trail and headed along a footpath, past a few sheep and two horses arriving at Little Longstone. Crossing the road we walked through the village along Butts Road past some holiday cottages, The Packhorse Inn, a Chapel and then crossed the B6465 to arrive at Monsal Head. We admired the view for a few minutes and then carefully made our way down the narrow tree lined path that passes over the Monsal Trail below, to Monsal Dale and the River Wye. We stopped to take a group photograph near the weir before crossing the river over a foot bridge and then continuing along the river to Lees Bottom.
At Lees Bottom we ignored the signpost to Brushfield Hough and followed the one which said A6 only (two previous recces showed this to be correct). At this point we were also joined by two other walkers who were also on the same route. Taking it steady, stopping to get our breath back a couple of times, we climbed the steep hill until we were above the tree line and then walked through Brushfield Hough Farm before stopping for lunch overlooking Hobs House on the other side of Monsal Dale and where we had a good view of the weir and footbridge below. At this point we had walked approximately 5 miles in a little over 2 hours. After lunch we walked down a limestone track and a bridleway which descends all the way to the Monsal Trail where our two additional walkers left us.
We then walked over the viaduct and through the Headstone Tunnel and along the trail until we arrived at the point where we had earlier turned off the trail. At this point we could have returned to Hassop Station and shortening the walk by some 3 miles but we all decided to continue the planned route and turned off the trail and headed towards Ashford in the Water. Along this path we encountered some very long horned cattle, but we survived only to be presented with our next obstacle, a recently ‘closed footpath’ between the B6465 Greaves Lane and Vicarage Lane. We followed the diversion which added a few minutes and maybe half a mile to our planned route. We walked through the village admiring the pretty cottages and numerous defibrillators before stopping at a café for an ice-cream.
We crossed over the A6020 and over the River Wye on the old B6465 road bridge before taking a footpath along the River Wye towards Bakewell. On route we witnessed Canada Geese and their chicks in the river being chased by a dog. Fortunately the dog owner called the dog back. We passed through another field with two Llamas before joining the A6 Buxton Road. Then we crossed the River Wye again walked up Holmes Lane past an old mine entrance before climbing through another field with less menacing cows before re-joining the Monsal Trail and returning to Hassop Station where we took refreshments. The weather was kind with sunshine most of the day, no rain and we walked just short of 11 miles in 4 hours and 45 minutes."
To see photos of the above walk, please click: HERE
March 2019 - Creswell Crags and Welbeck Area
The third edition of our 2019 programme was carried out in nigh perfect conditions, with light winds, ambient temperatures and a generally good underfoot feel.
Setting off from Creswell Crags Visitor Centre, just yards into our trek we came across the memorial dedicated to 5 Canadians, killed in 1944 on a training flight that had set off from nearby Gamston, a fitting tribute.
Wending our way in a clockwise direction, we ambled in a mostly northerly direction before heading east, from Derbyshire into Notts and across the busy A60, into Welbeck Estate.Stopping off awhile, we were able to view the impressive Worksop Manor, nestled at the edge of Welbeck Estate, commanding an impressive view across the increasingly verdant North Notts countryside.
On we went, heading towards the famous tunnel entrance, created by the 5th Duke of Portland and much nearer to Welbeck Abbey itself.
Nearing the heart of Welbeck, we were reminded of the seemingly improbable story relating to Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 sparked World War One. It so happens that he visited Welbeck in November 1913 and narrowly missed being hit in a shooting accident when one of the gun loaders fell and discharged both barrels of the gun he had been holding ! Food for thought.
Further on, having said a temporary goodbye to those in our group opting for the shorter version, we gazed at The Winnings, almshouses for retired Estate workers who had no families.
The last couple of miles saw us reach the southernmost tip of our walk at the quaint Holbeck Woodhouse, prior to swinging north-west to the end of our walk and the local treasure that is Creswell Crags, which has seen heavy investment in recent years and is well worth the fairly short trip from Retford, especially if also taking in the nearby Welbeck Garden Centre.
Arriving back after some 3 hours and 39 minutes( including stops), having completed a unanimously-agreed (for once!) 8.75 miles, it transpired that we'd averaged 25 minutes and 5 seconds per mile , having accounted for some 974 calories along the way, eliminating ( ? ) any possible guilt as we headed for a hearty lunch at the friendly and accommodating Jug and Glass at Nether Langwith.
Huge thanks are due to Prime Suspects Paul and Rod for having both recced and led this walk, plus Paul ( again ), Kathy and Philip for the photos they kindly supplied.
Thanks also to all who came along, sharing their time, knowledge, banter and humour along the way.
Next month's Striders walk is in the Walesby area, led by Ann and Geoff-details to follow.
Geoff and Tom
Links to photos and other information relating to the above can be found: Here
The damp and dismal conditions that greeted walk leader Rod and other Usual Suspectinistas some 10 days earlier on the recce were fortunately not replicated on the day itself, with some 13 of us assembling in our normal disorderly manner outside the Jug and Glass in Nether Langwith.
Indeed, apart from a probably less than 100 yards stretch, we were treated to almost perfectly dry conditions, resulting in minimal post-walk boot cleaning .Result ! Whilst not the brightest day, nor the warmest, the mild February we'd experienced up to that point had permitted an earlier than usual festival of floral hues, helping to remind us how pleasant our nearby locality can be.
Walking and chatting for around four hours only serves to remind us what a wide pool of knowledge is shared by our members, as geological and architectural features were discussed along with other topics, not necessarily all educational or serious !
Roughly three quarters of the way around our roughly circular walk the option was taken by a few to take a slightly shorter route, bringing them in at around 7.5 miles and the opportunity to get the drinks in ready for the rest of us on our return. You had one job !!
The rest of us completed the walk after almost exactly 9.5 miles and a tad over 4 hours, including a roughly 30 minute stop-off in Church Warsop.
Many thanks to Rod for leading the walk and recce, arranging the pub venue, as well as allowing access to his stats. Many thanks to Kathy for photographic input too, plus all who attended, contributing to our usual rewarding experience.
For photos, please click: HERE
The inaugural Striders ( hereinafter referred to as " The Usual Suspects " ) walk of 2019 kicked off at Vicar Water, Clipstone with probably better weather than had been forecast. Sadly, the fickle ( or even Golden ? ) Hand of fate had previously intervened, inflicting the Dreaded Lurgy on a number of our Usual Suspects, reducing the lineup on the obligatory identity parade significantly. As such, it was fortuitous that the recce for the route had been well-attended and Rod, Ann and Geoff led the walk on the day.
The original route was reduced by around two miles, but was more than made up by scaling the heights of the old Clipstone Colliery spoil heap, then enjoying a lovely, peaceful stroll through Sherwood Pines to the boundary of Centre Parcs. Rod notes that the boundary fence of Centre Parcs was topped with razor wire, making it more difficult to escape from than many might imagine! The group followed the fence for around a mile ,before striking northwards in the warm sunlight accompanied by a chilly breeze in the direction of South Forest, then over the fields to the River Maun before following National Cycle Route 6, back to Vicar Water and the Golden Hand.
Distance covered was 9.3 miles in just over 3 and a half hours, including stops.
Many thanks to Rod for his account of the walk, photos and link to the map showing the route taken, plus Ann and Geoff for being joint leaders on the day.
For photos please click HERE
Walks with ASH U3A
Here are some photos from the walks around Castleton we enjoyed with our friends fom ASH on 29th September.
Please click HERE
Walking Groups Xmas Lunch December 2018
The theory was that a good number of us would meet up at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve, have a bit of a wander around, then move on to the Olde Bell down the road for a well-earned Christmas lunch and get-together. As it goes, a combination of non-compliant weather and common sense dictated that it would be prudent to not get dishevelled and soggy, resulting in rather more dapper, chic and coiffed members turning up for their fare !
Besides the annual getting together of all three walking groups for the proverbial catch-up and chinwag, the occasion also recognised the end of an era, with Imelda and Joan soon to hand over the tenure of the Moderates group to David. To mark this, David presented gifts to those wonderful ladies, plus cards signed by the membership in appreciation of the hard work and dedication attributable to them both over these last three years.
Pictures from Xmas lunch - please click HERE
19th November 2018
A misty, murky sort of day greeted 14 of us as we gathered close to Kiveton Park.
Conditions weren't exactly conducive to award-winning photos, so please feel free to view these ( via the link ), taken by a Turnerwood area local in recent weeks HERE
18th September 2018
Being late September, maybe we really should have been back at school, but as it was we assembled at the Chequers Inn, Ranby, ready for a 10 mile walk that was part of the Chesterfield Canal Trust Walking Festival, being joined by several members of the public. The anticipated 40 mph + winds failed to make an appearance and indeed we were treated to some welcome sunshine as the day wore on. Approaching the 5 mile mark we stopped off awhile at historic All Saints Church, Babworth , a prominent part of the Pigrim Fathers story which featured local worshippers William Bradford and William Brewster , plus their parson Richard Clyfton over 400 years ago. At this same juncture a few of us split off to head back towards Ranby, covering a final distance of around 6 miles, allowing the " peloton " to briefly swing by Retford via its cemetery and subsequent return to the Chesterfield Canal towpath and ultimately Ranby and the finish line.
Shortly after 3pm, all had been gathered safely back at the Chequers, more than likely ready for an after-walk chat and replenishment. Wholehearted thanks are due once again to Ann and Geoff who led the walk which was appreciated by all. Many thanks are also due to the Chequers, providers of car parking and sustenance.
Of course, our participants, both U3A and members of the public are also due huge thanks, both for their involvement and their generous donations towards the Chesterfield Canal Trust, under whose auspices the walk was staged.
For photos please click: - HERE
March 2018 Chesterfield Canal
What a difference a week makes ! From the slippy / slushy and definitely hazardous conditions that contributed to postponing our walk we were treated to somewhat drier and definitely sunnier conditions on the 26th March. as we assembled at the Hop Pole. We set off along the Chesterfield Canal towpath, heading in a northerly direction towards Clayworth with the sun on our backs and and a gentle, mild breeze in our faces.
Probably 80 minutes or so had elapsed when we decided to stop off for a break at the Retford & Worksop Boat Club, based in Clayworth and home to a massive array of water-borne craft. Rather fortuitously, a key-carrying member of the club very kindly offered to open their toilet facilities for us, a lovely gesture that was greatly appreciated.
All sorted out, we moved on a little further to Bridge 68 where we left the canal and trudged across some very fertile-looking alluvial soil before reaching the River Idle , swinging left and south as we did so, this time facing the sun with the breeze on our backs. As we approached Chainbridge Lane, still on the east side of the river, we were impressed at the burgeoning number of lakes, mostly used for fishing, that had evolved from the local landscape, previously pockmarked by sand and mineral extraction but far more aesthetically pleasing these last few years.
Onwards through Tiln and through a recently deforested part of Babworth Estates, we had swung away from the river for a while before looping around and crossing the river entering our local treasure, the Idle Valley Nature Reserve, looking resplendent in the vernal sunshine. Seemingly no time at all later, we had crossed the river again by the care home on Bolham Lane, being very careful not to linger too long (!) before hitting the streets and a short trek back to the Hop Pole.
Once ensconced at our table with ample sustenance there was some debate relating to the statistics associated with our trek, though 13.21 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes, resulting in a pace of 19 minutes and 42 seconds per mile and allegedly accounting for a not inconsiderable 1790 calories sounds quite reasonable for sure.
Link to walk statistics and information: HERE
February 2018 Five Weirs Walk
It would be fair to say that we'd probably all run the risk of getting square eyes checking out the forecast for the day of this walk ! Fortunately, though not exactly being in dire need of SPF 50 sun cream, the rain at its worst was a barely irritable mizzle that went nowhere near denting the spirits or enthusiasm of our 15 participants.
One forecast that did hold good was the one relating to the lack of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain, though the abundance of information relating to an industrial past helped to quell our disappointment as we wended our way from Meadowhall , along the River Don and towards Sheffield City Centre.
It's quite possible that a few of us might have expected an almost barren, post industrial landscape for the majority of our walk, but we were regularly surprised, in a pleasant way, to see an encouraging number of businesses seemingly flourishing , some in new buildings, some in not-so-new.
Link here for photos and other information : HERE
January 2018 Blyth, Hodsock, Carlton in Lindrick
After obsessively checking the forecast over much of the weekend the feeling most of us must have shared was relief, tinged with un petit peu de caution, as we gathered outside Blyth's White Swan.
Some adjustments had been made to the route since the recce, taking into account the moist conditions, but certainly nobody's spirits were in the least dampened as we headed off towards Hodsock, then South Carlton, prior to swinging towards Wallingwells for a break and photo shoot.
As we headed towards Langold Lake the first of a couple of rain showers attempted to dump itself on us, but by now we had the breeze on our backs, mitigating our discomfort to such an extent that it became barely irksome.
The popular cafe at Langold Lake acted as our major rest stop, providing sustenance that could be enjoyed on the terrace outside amazingly enough !
Back on track again, crossing the A60 and heading towards Hodsock, but this time from a different angle, we encountered another little shower whilst witnessing what must have been one of this year's first Snowdrops even before we reached the Snowdrop capital.
Huge thanks are due to Rod who arranged the recce and the walk, took the photos and shared access to his Runkeeper app, enabling the necessary stats to be harvested. Moreover, he took the time and trouble to cobble together some very interesting information that can viewed, along with the photos and stats via the link below.
As ever, many thanks to those who took a gamble in turning up, undoubtedly not regretting their decision , especially taking into account the wonderful company to be enjoyed.
Click HERE for pictures.
November 2017 Hop Pole / Retford circular
With a substantial contingent of 15, presumably not too many members either sneaked a look out of their windows or had a peek at the forecast prior to turning up for the above !
A mere 4 hours and 56 minutes later, we arrived back at the Hop Pole, having completed a few yards under 13 miles at a pace of around 23 minutes and 14 seconds per mile, including a couple of refreshment stops.
Safe in the knowledge that some 1341 calories had been accounted for, a sizeable cohort entered the Hop Pole, thoroughly intent on replacing them in the homely atmosphere that awaited us, nicely augmented with a roaring open fire.
Many thanks are due to Geoff and Ann, who once again kindly led our walk, plus Pippa for the photos. Of course, our fellow walkers put the icing on the cake by being there and sharing their time with us.
Click HERE for pictures.
October 2017 West Lindsey
Click HERE for pictures and full write-up.
September 2017 Ladybower
13 of our number ( only unlucky for those not able to be there ) set off from the east side of Ashopton viaduct, soon to take the steep ascent to Derwent Edge, prior to experiencing the slightly more gentle inclines that paved the way to the trig. point at around 4 miles and 530 metres + elevation.
Whilst it was often necessary to concentrate on planting our feet in exactly the right place for much of the walk, dividends were paid when stopping awhile to turn around and take in the views. For sure, at the highest point it was possible to look east across Sheffield and beyond, simultaneously considering that one might be a million miles from anywhere.
Four and a half hours of walking with a relatively small group of people produces much more than the obvious benefits associated with health and taking in the views, ably demonstrated as our eclectic mix of personalities exchanged the inevitable banter along the way, plus a plethora of different views and perspectives.
The fine weather that had greeted us at the start attempted to quell our spirits as a hint of mizzle surfaced in the last mile or so, though once having donned our wet weather gear it fined up again within minutes, allowing us to complete our 8.8 mile journey in the dry.
Soon afterwards we made every effort to replace the 1113 calories we'd allegedly disposed of as we enjoyed some cracking fare provided by the nearby Ladybower Inn.
Many thanks to Paul and Anne for proposing and organising the walk, plus photos courtesy of Paul, Philip and Rod, not forgetting all of you who contributed to yet another memorable day.
Click HERE for pictures
August 2017 Longshaw
The skies looked ever more gloomy as we approached Longshaw Estate, leaving a sun-kissed Retford, though it transpired that the wonderful vistas would remain intact as 14 of us traversed some occasionally testing terrain.
Sure enough, we had to pick our way carefully at times, nature having strewn rocks and boulders in its usual random manner, but safely negotiating the tricky underfoot conditions quite possibly added to our accomplishment.
Most of us would appreciate that our walks can often involve so much more than the obvious things such as health benefits and social interaction, even add-ons like learning about flora and fauna, geology, history and architecture, but we can now add SINGING to that list !
Oh yes, obvious relevant titles like " The hills are alight " and " Show me the way to go home " were ringing around the hills and valleys of the Peak District National Park, but thankfully nobody was treated to " River Deep Mountain High " !
Joking aside, the musical merriment was more than sufficient to spur us on to go up and over the top of Higger Tor, rather than taking the easier route around it. Well done everybody !
3 hours and 45 minutes and 7.5 miles after setting off we were back where we started, ready to sample the delights of Longshaw tea-room, having averaged 29 minutes and 59 seconds per mile and taking care of 822 calories in the process.
Huge thanks to Geoff and Ann for leading our walk faultlessly, plus Pippa and Rod for supplying the photos and Pippa again for access to Runkeeper stats and images.
It's difficult to keep coming up with superlatives, but once again many thanks to everybody for yet another terrific day blessed with good company and excellent banter.
July 2017 Beeley
16 of us gathered at the picture postcard village of Beeley on what can only be described as the most perfect day.
Steep inclines early on ensured that hearts and lungs were swiftly brought into play as we ascended towards the highest and northernmost point of our walk, Hob Hurst's House, a Bronze age barrow.
On the way up there it was quite evident, or so it seemed, that chivalry wasn't yet dead as one of our number carefully monitored us all safely negotiating a high stile , only then to walk through the adjacent gate ! Naturally, discretion is our byword, but let's just say that our joker's surname rhymes with the last part of " Dieu et mon droit" !
June 2017 Loxley, Sheffield
The BBC weather forecast appeared to be bob-on as we assembled in the building heat by the Admiral Rodney pub in Loxley prior to setting off.
May 2017 Elsecar & Wentworth
The day dawned with a damp, murky walk in prospect, as opposed to the unbroken sunshine we'd enjoyed on the recce some 10 days previously.
Fortunately, the eventual precipitation proved little more than mildly irritating and probably added a slightly ethereal atmosphere, especially in the more elevated locations.
Reaching those heights soon after leaving Elsecar Heritage Centre, we soon enjoyed extensive views over the Wentworth estate, only recently coming under the auspices of the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust.
Along the way we took in follies associated with Wentworth Woodhouse such as The Needle's Eye and Hoober Stand, before U-turning at Nether Haugh, wending our way back via Wentworth Park, revealing the impressively wide facade of Wentworth Woodhouse itself, the widest in Europe by all accounts.
Not long afterwards we enjoyed the lovely walkway leading up to Holy Trinity church in Wentworth village before completing the final mile or so.
Back at Elsecar, refreshments were provided by The Pantry, who kindly afforded us the facilities of the Doghouse, delivering far more ambience than might have been been anticipated !
We had completed 7.30 miles, taking 3 hours, 7 minutes and 14 seconds, equating to a pace of 25 minutes 40 seconds per mile , burning 813 calories in the process or about a quarter of the lovely treacle tart that Paul shared !
Many thanks to all for the great company, laughs and horticultural knowledge along the way, plus the photos provided by Diane, Paul and Pippa.
Click HERE for pictures
April 2017 Dunham
With the weather rather more benign than forecast, the latest edition of Striders walks set off from the Bridge Inn at Dunham.
Following a clockwise direction and crossing the Trent at the recently-restored Torksey viaduct , the eventual distance came in at the merest smidgen under 10 miles ; 9.96 in fact.3 hours, 55 minutes and 27 seconds had elapsed since setting off, resulting in a pace of 23 minutes 38 seconds per mile and accounting for some 1337 calories, allowing for the guilt-free demolition of the bacon and sausages on offer !
Click HERE for pictures
March 2017 Shireoaks
Considering the dreary, dismal day that beckoned, a healthy contingent of 11 gathered at Shireoaks Marina, ready for 8 miles plus of varied terrain.
Little more than half a mile along the Chesterfield Canal we strayed away, towards Brancliffe Grange, then along the quaintly- named Moses' seat and on towards Lindrick Dale, after first circling and then carefully descending into an old limestone quarry.
Having marvelled at the local equivalent of Nob Hill, we crossed the A57 , soon finding ourselves in the SSSI that is Anston Stones Wood, walking mostly parallel to Anston Brook, which slightly further downstream becomes the River Ryton.
Through South Anston and making towards the canal once more, the remnants of rain fizzled out, prior to a banana and coffee break.
The last few miles provided some of the best that the Chesterfield Canal has to offer, especially the hamlet of Turnerwood where The Canal and River Trust are heavily engaged in lock gate replacements.
Arriving back at Shireoaks after 8.20 miles and 3 hours, 13 minutes and 28 seconds (23 minutes 36 seconds per mile), we were pleased to discover that 879 calories had been accounted for, reinforcing our perceived entitlement to a hefty carvery in the nearby Lock Keeper.
Many thanks to you all for your company, the banter and the laughs that undoubtedly brightened our day up.
Click HERE for pictures
February 2017 Collingham
The day of the walk dawned with the prospect of some barmy balmy weather for February which didn't quite materialise during our walk, though the drier, more amenable conditions were still more than welcome in the event.
As we gathered at our meeting place, it some became apparent that numbers would exceed our previous maximum for a Striders walk, topping out at a heady 21 souls.
" om " failed miserably to start the tracking app. that would give us the vital statistics for our walk. Fortunately, our tracked recce from a few weeks back has informed us that we covered 7.98 miles , with an all-important calorie count of 833, though that was probably exceeded as we completed the real deal some 20-odd minutes faster.
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January 2017 Lound/Hayton
The weather outlook wasn't exactly enticing, but enough of us decided to shrug off the winter malaise and meet up at the Hop Pole in the mizzly, murky conditions. Surprisingly, a record total of 13 turned up despite a number of apologies received, mostly due to the dreaded lurgy or similar !
We headed off in an anti-clockwise direction, the best part of the first 3 miles on the Chesterfield Canal, before venturing off at the Boat Inn, Hayton, making towards Chainbridge Lane and Lound, crossing over the River Idle.
True to say that visual delights weren't exactly at the forefront of this first Striders trek of 2017, but that seemed to matter little as numerous catch-ups took place between members of our group, both established and newer.
Mineral extraction in some ways might be deemed to have had a detrimental effect on much of our pockmarked local landscape, but as nature, assisted by a communal desire begins to take over again, we might deem ourselves to be fortunate.
A little way before Lound village we took a left turn , eventually passing Wetlands Wildlife Park, a popular destination in better weather.
Much of our route took us through the huge expanse of Idle Valley Nature Reserve, one of our area's finest assets, before passing by Hallcroft Fisheries where great efforts have been made to provide a tranquil setting for anglers.
It seemed like no time at all before we'd crossed the Idle again at Bolham Lane, leaving a short hike to complete our almost circular trek.
It had taken us some 3 hrs 7 mins and 25 seconds to cover the 8.64 miles at a pace of 21 minutes, 41 seconds per mile, accounting for 852 calories.
Many thanks to Geoff for leading this walk, with a special mention to Bridget for taking the photos and staying on her feet !
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November 2016 Grove and Little Gringley
What a difference a week makes !
The scheduled walk having been postponed, we gathered by the Hop Pole walk on the 28th November, bathed in sunshine, as opposed to dowsed with rain.
Several new faces were evident, swelling our numbers to 12, a record for a Striders walk. I trust that you felt welcomed and that we will see you many more times on future walks.
Picking our way stealthily through Shady Lane, we soon found ourselves in a more elevated position, enjoying sweeping views over Retford as we approached Little Gringley.
Soon afterwards , negotiating a steeper climb up Durham Hill, we found ourselves close to Gringley Grange, though disappointingly had to trudge over a heavily-ploughed field where the footpath had been ploughed through, necessitating an extremely cautious and slow pace for around 150 yards or so.
Underfoot conditions were generally decent and remained solid underfoot when we turned at the easternmost point of our walk, at Grove Moor Farm, near Treswell Wood and headed back towards Retford.
Winds were light , allowing us to benefit from the warmth generated by a late Autumn sun and adding to the ambience and experience.
Many thanks to Geoff and Ann for leading our walk, Geoff and June for the group photo and Bridget for the rest, ably depicting what a beautiful day we enjoyed.
Runkeeper stats came in at 7.39 miles in 3 hrs. 2 minutes and 16 seconds, resulting in a pace of 24 minutes and 39 seconds per mile and accounting for 792 calories, though Geoff's device indicated 7.52 miles, so we'll go with that !
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October 2016 Laxton & Ossington
Monday morning heralded a welcome change to recent weather conditions, having dawned bright and sunny as we assembled at the Laxton Visitor Centre.
A wardrobe malfunction (not quite a la Beyonce ! ) in the footwear department meant that our starting numbers were sadly reduced as we set off through the historic village of Laxton, passing several farms owned by the Crown Estate.
Not many minutes had elapsed before we came across a memorial dedicated to aircrew from a Lancaster which had crashed at that site early in 1945 ; a sad reminder of the days when assistance from foreign parts was crucial to our survival as a nation.
Heading towards Moorhouse, gently ascending the inclines that afforded us better vistas, we were a little disappointed that a local farmer had ploughed through the middle of a public footpath , necessitating a detour to avoid the otherwise inevitable build-up of mud beneath our feet.
Nearing Moorhouse, it was easy to speculate that this time of year gives rise to probably the widest array of hues that the local countryside can exhibit, especially when set against a clear blue sky.
Soon after the 4 mile mark we stopped off at the Holy Rood church , a building that teemed with a long history, as would have Ossington Hall with its wartime association with the RAF, though few remnants of its past remain.
Well into the return journey to Laxton we wondered if a local watercourse might be named the " Oss" in line with the prefix of Ossington, with Adrian further considering if " trich" could be an local ancient name for a brook, or stream, which would then give us the Osstrich! ( Feel free to groan !)
Arriving back, we opted out of a pub lunch, resulting in a delay in replacing those 871 calories that had been burned during our 8.48 mile jaunt. A total time of 3 hrs, 8 minutes and 51 seconds, including stops, equated to a not-too-shabby pace of 22 minutes and 17 seconds, especially given the frequently soggy underfoot conditions.
Many thanks to all for your company and humour and also to Diane for some lovely photos, some of which date back to our walk last year !
September 2016 Dunham and the Cliftons
Monday morning dawned damp with the faint, though eventually unfulfilled promise that things might improve as the day went on.
We set off from Dunham-on-Trent a few minutes earlier than scheduled, initially musing over what seemed to be an inordinate number of names for such a small place on the local war memorial.
Spirits were lifted ( well, mine at least ! ) soon afterwards as we crossed the Trent for free as pedestrians and the southbound trek ensued on the east bank of the Trent.
Within minutes we could see why the Romans would have decided to set up a hill fort between Newton-on-Trent and North Clifton, something that at least a few of us were hitherto unaware of.
Roughly 2.5 miles into the walk brought us into the pretty village of North Clifton and the Pure Land Japanese Garden, which I can vouch for as an oasis of tranquility.
Some twenty minutes later, having passed by large fields of a local speciality , pristine lawn turf, we went past the St.George the Martyr church, shortly before reaching South Clifton , equally as impressive as its North sibling.
Admiring oodles of mostly late 19th , alongside less numerous architecture from other eras, we swung in a westerly direction, reaching the Trent bank at the very nearly exactly half way distance, looking almost directly across the river towards High Marnham village and the Brownlow Arms.
Not too much further on we were to swing away from the Trent again, heading once more towards the aforementioned St. George church, though not before a few of us were almost sent bowling by some high-spirited horses we met !
Walking alongside the church, towards the front , we heard noises emanating from within, which on inspection were found to be allied to a lady who was engaged in the restoration of some of the woodwork.
Soon afterwards we were up on the elevated section of the Trent Viaduct, once more heading west and over the river.
Once we'd manoeuvred ourselves off the viaduct and down to ground level we knew that a tad over 2 miles would bring us back to Dunham, though not before negotiating a slightly annoying number of slippy stiles in the interim.
Once done, the majority of us called in the Bridge Inn, where we enjoyed various elements of their locally-produced fare.
We had stopped the clock after 3 hours, 28 minutes and 16 seconds, producing a respectable pace of 23 minutes and 5 seconds per mile and accounting for 733 calories, hopefully enough to take care of our man-sized gammon steaks !
Many thanks to Geoff who co-led the walk, plus Pippa and Diane for access to Runkeeper stats and photos , also not forgetting all our fellow walkers who brightened up an otherwise dismal day.
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August 2016 Alkborough
Nine of our members congregated ( like you do !) by the St. John the Baptist church in the beautiful village of Alkborough, North Lincolnshire, eager to enjoy the local landscape.