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Walk – Stoney Middleton – 29th August 2019

The walk started at the Moon Inn, Stoney Middleton, and had Eyam as the destination. An excellent walk, full of history, with splendid views and an outstanding pub for lunch.

28th August 2019 – Bowls – Knutsford Rex v Appleton Probus
Unfortunately this eagerly anticipated match was postponed due to rain. No further date has been scheduled.
Next week on Wednesday 4th September at 10:00am Knutsford Rex visit Weaver Probus for the second time this season. The earlier meeting saw Knutsford win by 12 points.
22nd August 2019 – Funeral of Kevin Willett [1935-2019]

The funeral at Toft Church of member Kevin Willett who died on Monday 22nd July.

Kevin was born on the 20th January 1935, and brought up by his parents at Toft Dairy Farm. His father provided shire horses for the Knutsford Royal May Day parade, and Kevin was the crown bearer for the first post war May Queen in 1947. Since then he had always maintained his interest in the Knutsford Royal May Day Parade.
Kevin went to Altrincham Grammar School before joining the RAF for his National Service. His work with the RAF Police led to him joining firstly the Lancashire Police Force, followed by the Cheshire Police Force, where he rose to the rank of Inspector.
After retirement, Kevin started to get some mobility problems. His car was adapted to hand control, and he eventually moved to Abbeyfields to be closer to the town centre. He had been a very active member of Probus, supporting many events, including the Discussion Group and Bridge sections.

Club Meeting – 22nd August – Speaker – Mr Michael Edgecombe, to give a talk entitled ‘In Search of the Grey Ghost‘.


The Snow Leopard known as the “Grey Ghost.”

Mike introduced himself as Philip Edgecombe’s son, and then went on to say how numerous visits to Tatton Park and other local areas around Knutsford had led to him developing a keen interest in bird watching. However, his interest in wildlife did not end there, and he has always had an interest in big cats. He had visited many parts of Europe and Asia on bird watching trips, and photographed other animals at the same time. He then showed the members photographs of a Bengal tiger, an Indian elephant and the one horned rhinoceros, which he had taken whilst on a trip to India. However, this talk was about a trip that he made with a group of enthusiasts to Kashmir in Northern India, in search of the snow leopard.
The snow leopard lives in the mountains at an altitude ranging from 9,800 to 17,000 feet, in areas where the air temperature is nearly always well below 0oC. Mike showed the vast area in Asia where snow leopards can be found, which included many countries, such as parts of China, Nepal, Pakistan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and the northern tip of India. Given that the snow leopard is an endangered species, with 60% of the population known to be in China, the chances of finding one in Northern India were fairly small – but that was the area where a BBC wildlife camera crew had filmed one.
The group flew from Dehli to Leh, in the province of Ladakh in Northern India. The town is over 10,000 feet above sea level, so they stayed in Leh for a few days to acclimatise to the altitude before travelling on. They travelled in February, when daytime temperature rose to – 7 oC, and overnight they recorded temperatures as low as – 20 oC, but the snow line was still higher than they would have liked. Mike then showed some magnificent photographs of wild birds, which can only be found in this part of Asia. The group climbed, first by van and then by donkey, to the Rumbak valley, which is over 13,000 feet above sea level. Mike showed a photograph of a 40 metre high waterfall which had frozen solid. He also showed photographs of the camp, in a frozen river valley at the end of a gorge. He described how they used two sleeping bags, one inside of the other, to keep warm, and how they overcame the problems associated with extreme cold. The air was crystal clear, and the crew of 8 had 10 telescopes at a good viewpoint, and were ably assisted by two experienced snow leopard spotters. Snowfall on the third day brought the snow line down, and when the clouds parted, they could see blue sheep on the mountainside. They spotted a snow lynx, and then one of the spotters saw a snow leopard about a mile away. Mike showed a photograph and challenged the members to spot the snow leopard. With the aid of a pointer and a computer generated circle, he highlighted the snow leopard’s face. It was so well camouflaged, that it was only just possible to make out its face and ears. Blue sheep grazed nearby oblivious of the predator in their midst. Some time later, the spotter saw another snow leopard on a ledge, and Mike showed a video clip which he had taken of this snow leopard marking its territory, and then another longer video clip of a snow leopard resting on a rock, before getting up and walking away.
Mike concluded his talk with a photograph of the Himalayas taken from the plane window on the return flight. He pointed out some of the mountain peaks, including K2, which was quite clearly visible on the horizon. He described how the snow leopard conservation trust, based in Leh, was working with the local population, to help protect the species from extinction.

Bowling – 21st August 2019 – Knutsford Probus v High Legh Bowling Club

Don Johnson in action.
On an afternoon with some heavy showers to challenge the bowlers Knutsford Rex took on a very strong contingent from High Legh Bowling Club. Most fixtures are against other Probus clubs but the neighbours from High Legh seem to love a visit to the Knutsford Bowling Club green as over 20 players and supporters converged around the club house to either play or cheer on their comrades on the green.
The actual bowling match was quite close in many respects but the strength of the High Legh club bowlers in a couple of pairings in particular ensured a lead which the Knutsford Rex players struggled to recover on the aggregate deficit. As it was the High Legh victory margin was surprisingly quite close on the total points showing a score of 101 – 93. Congratulations to High Legh with Knutsford Rex not too despondent as they realised they had been up against probably the strongest team to date.
Next week Knutsford Rex entertain Appleton Probus at Knutsford Bowling Club with the usual 2pm start.

Walk – Etherow Country Park – 15th August

On top of the World. Werneth Low.
The walk had been meticulously planned by Jim Flett started at the Andrews Arms pub in Compstall. Climbing through woodland in Etherow Park and then into open countryside. The walkers climbed steadily until they could enjoy some great views from the top of Werneth Low. The group descended back to the Andrews Arms pub, at 1.00 pm, in time for lunch.

Bowling – 13th August 2019 – Tatton Probus v Knutsford Rex (for the George Tyror Cup)

Knutsford Rex bowler Ken Ackroyd showing an almost perfect delivery technique.
In view of the weather forecast the eagerly awaited fixture against Tatton Probus for the George Tyror Cup was played in very pleasant conditions.
It has been a number of years since Knutsford Rex held the trophy but in an excellent seam of form confidence was high for a victory.
At the half way point Knutsford Rex were leading by only 6 chalks so there was still plenty to play for. By the time two of the pairings had finished the lead had been cut to just one point so everything was on the final two games. The final two however came home with Knutsford Rex showing convincing victories more to the relief of the bowlers in the pavilion giving the final score of 106-94. As captain Roger Collins received the trophy there were happy Rex faces all round with the bowlers from Tatton taking defeat in good spirit.
Note that the match versus Knutsford Rotary scheduled for Wednesday 14th August was postponed yet again as the weather forecast was bad and it was agreed that due to the costs of the food put on for this special challenge match that the sensible thing would be to cancel the fixture for this season.

Knutsford Rex Captain Roger Collins receives the George Tyror Cup.

Club Meeting – 8th August 2019 -Speaker, Mr Rod Woodcock, gave a talk entitled ‘From Apollo to the first Space Shuttle.’

Rod started his talk by showing a picture of the NASA space projects which had taken place between 1971 and 1981, when he had access to the press areas at Cape Kennedy. This included Apollo 15, Apollo 16, Sky Lab, the Soyuz linkup and the first Space Shuttle. Cape Kennedy is located in the heart of Merritt Island Nature reserve, where animals roam freely. Rod himself encountered a 12 foot alligator whilst out walking, and another had even made it’s home in a pond near the space centre, but was removed after it ventured into one of the buildings!
Rod gave a very interesting talk about the facilities at Cape Kennedy, with photographs of the launch facilities, the tower, the Saturn 5 rockets and much of the surrounding scenery. He described the complexity of the pipe work used to convey the fuel to the rockets, the potential dangers, and the escape routes. He then showed a video of the astronauts’ escape route being tested – a camera mounted on the escape cage travelled at speed along a zip wire from the top of the spacecraft’s tower to a bunker, a safe distance from the rocket. He also showed a video of the 200 ft escape chute for the staff working on the tower – a giant slide which takes nearly three minutes for the descent into a safe underground bunker some forty feet below the base of the rocket.
Using photographs from the top of the launch tower, Rod described the function and operation of the flame chutes that carry the hot gasses away from the base of the rocket during the launch. He then went on to describe the water deluge system that not only stops the chutes from being destroyed, but also limits the vibration which might otherwise damage the rocket itself.
Rod talked about the space craft, especially Skylab, and some of the problems the astronauts faced. He followed this with an excellent video of the first space shuttle being launched, which probably came as close as possible to actually being there and witnessing the event.
Rod concluded his talk with a look at the future of space travel, new types of rocket engines, space tourism and even space mining, to remove water and valuable minerals from asteroids.

Bowling – 7th August 2019 – Wilmslow Fulshaw Probus v Knutsford Rex

Well it had to happen. After 8 successive victories the run came to a crashing stop at Wilmslow Bowling Club where the gentlemen of Wilmslow Fulshaw Probus bravely fought off the challenge from Knutsford Rex to win by 105-94. Although there was no complacency the smell of a Knutsford victory was in the air at the half time break as they led by 4 points. It was however the Fulshaw bowlers who rose to the challenge to romp home by such a convincing victory. The sportsmanship however was very evident and congratulations were given in excellent spirit.
The Fulshaw defeat possibly wasn’t well timed as next TUESDAY [13/8] Knutsford Rex visit Crosstown Bowling Club for the annual Knutsford Probus Clubs Cup. It has been a few years now since Knutsford Rex had hold of the cup and nobody will be underestimating the size of the task to reclaim the trophy. Confidence however must be sought in the last visit to Crosstown in June when Rex won by just 2 points. Spectators are invited to cheer on the team against the local rivals.
Following the Tuesday afternoon fixture the recently postponed match against Knutsford Rotary will take place on Wednesday evening [14/8 6pm] at the Warford Park green.

Trip on the Steam Tug “Danny” – Monday 5th August 2019

Over 30 members and guests congregated at the car park of the Anderton Boat Lift to board a coach to take them to the berth of the Steam Tug ‘Danny’. ‘Danny’ was originally built to work on the Shropshire Union Canal in 1903. She later became a canal inspection vessel in 1936, working on the Manchester Ship Canal. Since then, she has been lovingly restored by volunteers. Members enjoyed a 2 hour cruise from Acton Bridge lock to Sutton Weaver in very good weather.

Walk – Dunham Massey – 1st August 2019

The North Front viewed across the moat at Dunham Massey. Early morning.

Jerry Bentley’s walk to Dunham Massey on Thursday, 1st August. Jerry had chosen an easy flat walk as relaxation before the more demanding walk next week. However, the planned route via the Swan with Two Nicks had to be changed as the recent rain meant that the River Bollin had swollen and the path was impassable. The walkers took a diversion along part of the Bridgewater Canal towpath and then on to the Axe and Cleaver pub, where they were joined by two other members, in time for lunch.