PAST EVENTS – 2020
New Year’s Lunch (12th January 2020): It was a blustery and wet day when the group set-off from Foolow on the pre-lunch walk. Following weeks of rain the ground was soggy, boggy, and squelchy, and the occasional outcrop of slippery limestone gave those who weren’t paying attention the opportunity to practice some interesting moves! The steep, and muddy, descent to Cressbrook Dale concentrated the mind and, once in the Dale, a break-away group decided to clamber to the top of Peter’s Stone, the site of Derbyshire’s last public gibbet, just to see what they could see. Quite a lot apparently! We eventually regrouped and continued across field tracks and over a series of very interesting stiles to reach Grindon from where it was a short walk to Foolow. Once (extremely) muddy footwear had been consigned to car boots we made our way to the Bull’s Head for lunch. The Halcyon lunch is not complete without the quiz which always provides a bit of a challenge, and of course the raffle. A big thank you to everyone who provided the excellent selection of prizes, and to all those who purchased raffle tickets – this year we raised £112 which has been donated to the Edale Mountain Rescue Team.
PAST EVENTS – 2019
Mince Pie Ramble (22nd December 2019): Meeting at Baslow, the day began with glasses of delicious mulled wine and of course the Mince Pie ramble is not complete without a good selection of interesting ‘eats’. Most people indulged perhaps more than they should have! A guitar provided backing for the Christmas songs, festive hats were in abundance and we even acquired our own Santa Claus this year – but no sleigh or presents! The walk took us from Baslow across to Curbar, up to Baslow Edge, onto Gardom’s Edge and into Chatsworth. It was heavy going as ground conditions were exceptionally wet, slithery, and muddy, but the sun shone, the views were fantastic and everyone was in high spirits. The refreshment breaks provided yet more sausage rolls, mince pies, biscuits and of course mulled wine – members’ waist lines visibly widening. It was still reasonably early when we returned to Baslow, so most of the group made their way into the tea-rooms and spent an entertaining half-hour chatting, laughing and enjoying cups of tea (or coffee). We all agreed the day had been an excellent start to the Christmas festivities – an enjoyable (but muddy) walk, lots of fun, many interesting delicacies to sample, first-rate mulled wine and good company. What more could we ask for?
Autumn Social – Going to the Dogs! (19th November 2019): The Halcyon Autumn Social was held at Owlerton Greyhound Stadium. When entering the Stadium everyone received a race card, and once we had been seated at our track-side tables in the Panorama Restaurant, the dogs form was scrutinised (although none of us were experts) and happily we didn’t even have to leave our seats to place bets as a ‘tote-runner’ was on hand to do this for us. By the end of the evening everyone in the restaurant was urging the dogs on and there was much cheering (or groaning) when the results were announced.
However watching dogs running round a track was not our only reason for being there. We had booked a three-course dinner and what good value for money it was. Our pre- ordered choices were served efficiently and the quality, and quantity, of food was excellent.
At the end of the evening, several people came away in profit, some made losses and others broke even, but happily no-one lost their shirt!
2019 Sheffield Walking Festival: Halcyon was pleased to make a contribution to the Festival by leading a walk on Saturday 21st September. Entitled ‘Morehall & Broomhead: Construction, Problems & Solutions’ the fully subscribed 5 mile walk took place on a pleasant warm sunny day. Sketches (illustrating elements of construction/safety monitoring) and copies of photographs from the 1920’s were provided for participants.
Construction of Broomhead Reservoir required the replacement of the New Mill packhorse bridge with a modern road bridge. However, the packhorse bridge was saved for posterity by the generosity of Joseph Dixon who bought the bridge in 1917 and paid for its re-erection in the nearby Glen Howe Park where it still stands.
In 1924 excavation for part of the Broomhead Reservoir overflow (the Bywash Bay) caused serious further movement of an old, but then unknown, landslide. Solving the problem by stabilising the slide required extensive works which were explained to, and viewed by those on the walk, together with the sight lines across the landslip, still used to monitor the stability of the slope.
Autumn Weekend Away to Grassington (13th-15th September 2019): Grassington was the location for the Autumn weekend – what a great time we had, and to add to the enjoyment we discovered that the village was hosting a 40’s event which proved to be great fun. Our Saturday walk started from Grassington and it took us a long time to get through the village, there was so much to see: soldiers, airmen, army vehicles, vintage cars, amazing 40’s outfits, stalls to browse – it was a wonder we actually got anywhere at all. Eventually, leaving the hustle and bustle behind, we made our way along the Dales Way to Conistone Pie (not sure of the filling!) and returned, passing ‘Davy Dimple’, along moorland and sun-dappled woodland tracks, to Grassington – a scenic walk in glorious weather. Once in the village we were again side-tracked by the ‘goings-on’ and of course had to join the dancing in the street (not easy in big boots and with rucksacks) before deciding that the afternoon should conclude with an ice-cream (there was no room in the pubs or tea-shops!). Sunday was not quite so kind weather wise, but what rain there was didn’t linger or detract from our river-side walk to Burnsall via Hebden where there was excitement as some of the cast of Emmerdale were enjoying refreshments in the village tearoom. ‘Superstar’ moment over we continued to Burnsall before returning by a celebrity-free route to Grassington. The weekend was over for some, but for others more walking was enjoyed – exploring the upper reaches of Wharfedale, clambering Goredale Scar and climbing Malham Cove, inspecting the lead mines on Grassington Moor and successfully crossing the Duke of Devonshire’s stepping stones at Bolton Abbey – after having practiced at both Grassington and Cray! All in all a brilliant weekend with fabulous weather, great walking, good company and as usual lots of fun. Now it’s time to plan for 2020!
End of Summer Get-Together (31st August 2019): It was glorious weather for the final evening walk of the summer. Meeting at Bradway we had a woodland walk to Beauchief Abbey, made our way past Beauchief Hall and would have wandered further afield, but were conscious that the ‘night was drawing in’ so made our way back for the focus of the evening – the end of summer ‘bit of a do’ at the home of one of our members. The food contributions were many and varied – thanks to you all for providing such a lavish spread – washed down with a selection of beverages. It was hoped that we could sit outside, but the midges were biting, so it wasn’t too long before everyone decamped indoors and spent an excellent evening eating, drinking and generally making merry. Thanks to our host for a most enjoyable and fun evening.
Summer Social (10th August 2019): The Club’s Summer Social this year was a visit to the National Coal Mining Museum at the former Caphouse Colliery. Although it was a very windy and occasionally wet day we had a great time. Gathering in the café we had lunch before everyone disappeared, in all directions, to explore the ‘surface’ of the mine. The parking fee included a ticket for a ride on the Paddy Train to Hope Pit where the blacksmith’s forge was in operation. Returning to Caphouse there were the original colliery buildings and steam engine house to look round, the pithead baths, the stable yards and so much more, but unfortunately there was not enough time to see everything! At 3.10 p.m. it was time for the underground visit. Contraband possessions were deposited for safe keeping, hard hats were selected and everyone was issued with a battery pack, then we were introduced to ‘Joe’ our guide for the afternoon. After descending 140 metres in the ‘cage’ we walked along tunnels, experienced total darkness, examined all types of mining equipment and all the while Joe gave us an informative and entertaining commentary of life underground. We came to the surface after about an hour and a half and everyone agreed that we had had a really good afternoon. After our ‘away day’ we always have an evening meal and this time we went to The Kaye Arms, Grange Moor. The food was excellent, promptly served and good value for money. This brought our Summer Social to a very satisfactory end.
Summer Barbecue (27th July, 2019): Following a week of record breaking temperatures we were anticipating a glorious summer’s afternoon for the barbecue, but as they say, the best laid plans….etc. The day dawned dry, but it didn’t stay that way and heavy rain fell during the afternoon. However the miserable weather did not deter us – a gazebo had been erected to house the BBQ (it also became a refuge for some of the men!), a Wendy house provided shelter for those who wanted ‘fresh-air’, and there was a large lounge in which to mingle – perfect! The buffet table was filled with interesting and appetising food, the ‘chefing’ was undertaken in expert fashion and, despite the adverse weather conditions, everyone enjoyed good food, drink, music and chatter. At the end of the evening, just as people were thinking about departing, visitors arrived – one of whom has been a member of Halcyon for longer than we care to remember and her husband was Treasurer for many years. Her arrival heralded much reminiscing!
Big Day Out (Rushton Spencer 14th July 2019): Rushton Spencer was an unknown destination, but this was our Big Day Out when we go to walk unchartered territory, and then have a meal before returning home. Located about 3 miles north of Leek and in the shadow of The Roaches, the area promised good walking and it certainly delivered. The route was gently undulating, taking us through flower-filled meadows following lengths of the Staffordshire Way, the Gritstone Trail and the Dane Valley Way. We arrived eventually at Winkle where The Ship Inn was doing a roaring trade, and this was our only ‘civilisation’ of the day. From the village we continued across fields beside the River Dane where we encountered sheep ‘traffic jams’ and explored ‘structures’ which appeared to be connected to a weir – but we weren’t sure why! Next we had something of a ‘blip’ in our day as we had to climb what seemed like hundreds of steep steps – after ‘gently undulating’ this came as a bit of a shock. But no-one complained – well not much! We arrived at a very ‘clean’ farm where a lot of old agricultural implement has been used as decorative features around the out-buildings. These were examined and discussed as we tried to work out what exactly they had been used for – an unsolved conundrum. Rushton Spencer was now not too far away and as we had made good time a leisurely afternoon break was taken before returning to the cars. The local pub said ‘welcome’ over the door, so we paid a visit, and welcome we were made! However we couldn’t stay there for long as the evening meal was booked at the Lazy Trout, Meerbrook. Our table was ready for us on arrival and it wasn’t long before we were enjoying an excellent meal – a perfect finale to our Staffordshire outing.
Weekend Away (Llangollen 10th – 12th May 2019): The destination for the Halcyon spring weekend 2019 was Llangollen in North Wales. None of us had visited the area before and having gone with high expectations, we were not disappointed. On Saturday we started the walk alongside the Llangollen Canal to Horseshoe Falls. There was much to explore in the area, so we had a good look round before circumnavigating Velvet Hill to arrive at Valle Crucis Abbey. Joining the Clwydian Way we wandered along in the warm sunshine and after a leisurely break arrived at the climb to Castell Dinas Bran. Now it seemed we would need a lot of effort to get there, but some folks made the climb, the rest of us dozed in the sunshine waiting their return. Regrouped we continued downhill to the canal and followed the towpath back to Llangollen. Our first day in Llangollen was brought to a conclusion with a very good meal at The Corn Mill. Sunday’s walk was full of anticipation as we were going to cross the 126 ft. high Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and what a gloriously sunny day to do it. Across we walked – no bother at all – and arriving at Froncysyllte picked up our route for the day. Hills (steep), valleys and woodland made for excellent walking and after retracing our steps over the aqueduct we felt we had earned afternoon tea. This was the final ‘official’ Halcyon day of our Welsh visit – but some people stayed on for the week and there was much more exploration to be done! The weekend had been great fun, fabulous weather, lots of adventures and things to see – however we never did manage to master the Welsh language, no matter how hard we tried (and we did try!).