Blockley Ramblers - Chairman's report 2011
Membership remains high with several new recruits. As in 2010, however, fewer members were walking as regularly as they were in previous years. Injuries and illness were a factor. So too was the competition from Blockley’s many other activities.
There were no cancellations in the core Sunday walks programme. Although average numbers were slightly down on previous years, most made it into double figures. As in 2010, there were visits south of the A40 to take in the Coln Valley (incl Chedworth Roman Villa) and the Eastleaches. Otherwise, a particular feature was the wide spread of excellent local walks: for example, Wyck Rissington to Icomb, north of Chipping Campden, Stanton to Stanway, around Great Wolford, Bourton-on-the Water to Clapton, Adlestrop/Daylesford and Chastleton, Guiting Power and Naunton, and Blockley to Snowshill. Most Sunday walks took place in the afternoon, but a couple were scheduled for the morning and/or the whole day to give some variety.
The regular mid-week walks programme introduced in 2008 was continued – typically a morning walk on the first Tuesday of the month and a full-day one on the third Thursday, which was very often combined with those from the Cotswold Wardens’ programme. There was less enthusiasm for mid-walks, however, than in previous years. Very few involved double figures and for a couple there were no takers at all.
Of the walks this year, perhaps the one that deserves to be singled out is Sunday the 6 November’s – we walked from Blockley to Snowshill and back. It was memorable not just because of the many permutations – some people walking in the morning, some in the afternoon and some both morning and afternoon. Or, indeed, because it saw the return of several members who hadn’t walked with us for some time. It was one of the most sparkling days of the year – lots of blue skies, lots of low sun and lots of long shadows. An absolutely fantastic day.
Away from the footpaths, Blockley Parish Walks now on sale in the Shop & Café are worth mentioning. These are a revised and expanded folder-based version of The Country Walks Around Blockley booklet. The Wardens-linked charity that had been producing them didn't think that the level of sales was sufficient to justify re-printing. They've been happy, though, for Blockley Ramblers, to do what it can to fill the vacuum, which is what I’ve done working with Chris Grimes from the shop. The result is that Blockley Ramblers is likely to have an annual income stream of approximately £120. It's not a massive amount, but it's better than nothing ... and enables Blockley Ramblers to show that it's doing something useful for the community.
By the end of the year there will have been one major social event: a very successful Christmas party after the December walk around Blockley. Many thanks to Brenda Williams and Brenda Samuels for kindly hosting it.
Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Jenny (the Secretary) and Michael (the Treasurer) for their encouragement and support in my fourth and final year as Chairman. I would also like to say how much I appreciate Dick Robinson’s work in keeping our dedicated website www.blockleyramblers.org.uk so up to date.
Thank you, too, all those Blockley Ramblers who have walked with Jan and myself over the four years of my period of office. As well as your excellent company, you’ve given us the most marvellous opportunity to get to know and enjoy the North Cotswolds that anyone could wish for.
Keith SissonNovember 2011