[Report by Scott Martin]

The three day walking trip was reinstated for the first time in three years. The base was Windermere. There were six walkers –  five Club members and former member Colin Bowman. 

We left Knutsford shortly after 8am and arrived at 10am at our base – Hawksmoor Guest House, Windermere.  The hotelier had our rooms ready and served us coffee whilst we sat outside in the sunshine. After the usual pre-walk briefing we set off for White Moss car park at Rydal, between Grasmere and Ambleside. The route took us up through a wooded area and along the shore of Rydal Water then across the A591 and up the hill to Rydal Hall, a famous country house. We had lunch there and walked the grounds viewing the Rydal waterfall from the Grot, an observation building with a large glass window. Next, we joined the Coffin Route through to the centre of Grasmere. (Coffins used to be carried along this route as there was no consecrated burial ground in Ambleside.)

Two members took a shorter route so that we could travel by car from Grasmere to Windermere Jetty Museum for our 3.30pm charter on a rebuilt historic steam boat, MV Osprey. We sailed south and the crew briefed us on the history of the famous boat, which was in immaculate condition. On the return journey the crew pointed out landmarks and many of the large houses on Lake Road, locally referred to as “Millionaires’ Mile”. We got back to the pier just before 5pm and some of our party walked to the Hawksmoor and others went by car. 

Including the walk back to the Hawksmoor, the day’s walking was about seven miles.  After some free time, we went by minibus to the Brown Horse gastro pub and free house at Winster for an excellent dinner and well earned beers. 

On Thursday, we travelled to Merewood Lodge and split into our usual two groups, long walkers and short walkers. 

The long walkers took an ambitious route up the bridle path to Holbeck Lane and on to Troutbeck initially on Nanny Lane and The Hundreds – an old Roman Road, and beyond climbing up to Wandfell Pike, 487 metres above sea level. After resting, the group walked down the other side towards Ambleside walking alongside the famous waterfalls of Stock Ghyll Force. Time for lunch and a well earned glass of beer! The group took an alternative route back to Merewood via Skelghyll Woods and Jenkin Crag. All in all, almost 10 miles with considerable ascent. 

The short walkers walked to nearby Brockhole, the Lake District National Park Centre, walking a circular route through the grounds stopping by the shore of Lake Windermere to enjoy the view of the mountains, including the famous Langdale Pikes. After returning to Merewood the group drove to (a very busy) Grasmere for an early lunch followed by a walk to the base of the steep footpath to Easedale Tarn. After collecting the car they drove to the fascinating Holehird Gardens on the Patterdale Road to await a phone call from the long walkers on their return to Merewood. 

We all got back to the Hawksmoor at about 5pm for a necessary period of rest before walking down the hill to The Albert, a Robinsons’ pub in Bowness. We enjoyed dinner at Villa Positano, a rustic Italian family restaurant, hosted by most welcoming owners Angelo and Claire. We went back to Hawksmoor partaking in a drop of the hard stuff before retiring for much needed sleep. 

On Friday, we once again enjoyed an excellent breakfast before saying goodbye to the Hawksmoor and our hosts Philippa and Trevor then travelling to Cartmel. The morning’s walk took us on a 4 mile circular route from the racecourse car park using established tracks and minor roads via a deeply forested area. On the walk we saw extensive bluebells and we were shocked by the devastation to the forest which we were told had been caused by storm Arwen in November. An early lunch had been booked at the Cavendish Arms and we left Cartmel at 1.30pm for the drive back to Knutsford, arriving home at about 3pm.

Afterthoughts – perfect walking weather being sunny and dry with a light breeze throughout our trip, well planned walks, excellent dining, a memorable sail on Lake Windermere, an excellent and very clean guest house with well appointed bedrooms and bathrooms, good fellowship including the usual banter and easy drives in both directions without any significant delays on the M6 motorway. What more could we have asked for? After all, we waited over two years for this trip!”

GENERAL INFORMATION

The Club has been walking for thirty years and has developed dozens of half-day walks, mostly circular, with great pub lunches. Many non-walkers turn up for the lunch, or is it just the beer, but anyway always for the camaraderie.

Walks are recorded not only in book form – “Favourite Family Walks Around Cheshire” our own in-house publication – but also digitally, showing route maps and the best pubs.

Extensive Range of Digitised Walking Maps

The image right is an extract from one of our walks in Lathkill Dale, Derbyshire using our extensive archive of digitised walking maps, available to club members only. Click HERE.

In normal circumstances we meet fortnightly on Thursdays (first, third and fifth in the month) and motor together to the start. Morning walks are “Long” (around 5 miles) and “Strollers” (up to 3 miles) and are generally non-aggressive; you may have noticed that Cheshire does not specialise in hills. Although in the summer months we do venture further out into the Peak District and the Welsh Marches.

The leader will have recce’d the walk to ascertain its viability and whether the pub is up to scratch. One prominent leader is renowned for having arranged a circular walk which he guaranteed was downhill all the way!

Wives, girlfriends and guests are all welcome.

Walks are Fun!

Walking is an ideal exercise for those in retirement. When you combine this with all the chattering and socialising that goes on, even the weather cannot dampen the enjoyment.

There is, of course, one beneficial side effect; you may accidentally get a bit fitter.

Due to licensing restrictions access to the maps and details of all Rex Club walks is via the following password protected site. https://www.knutsfordrexprobus.co.uk/activities/walking/walking-restricted-area/

[If a member receives a message “Can’t connect securely to this page” when trying to access the maps page it is due to the user having  BT Web Protect blocking access to the OneDrive link.The workaround (for BT customers) is to switch off BT Web Protect by going through BT Broadband settings.]

WALKING SECTION ANNUAL REPORT 2021

This was my second year as Walks Secretary.  The Covid-19 restrictions had a significant impact on the walks programme and there were no walks in January, February, and March.  In all there were 20 walks in 2021. We could not proceed with the Walking Holiday in April 2021.

By the time we started the walks programme on 1st April several regular walkers had left the Club and moved out of the area.  Therefore, on some occasions there were just four walkers although more recently there have been seven or eight.  Jim Flett has established an effective short walks group and whenever practicable these walks are organised so that both groups can join for lunch.  There were 17 short walks in 2021.

On 1st July 2021 the long and short walks were followed with a picnic lunch in my garden with barbequed sausages and other items supplemented by chilled beers and wine. It was pleasing that several members who were not walking joined us in the garden, which was held in glorious sunshine.

In April, Mike Johnson, a long-standing member of the Club and regular walker moved away to be near his family and although we were not allowed to hold a lunch to say goodbye, we did manage some socially distanced beers in my garden and presented him with a case of local ales to enjoy once he was settled in his new home in Welwyn.  In December 2021 we held our annual Tatton Park Christmas walk followed by an excellent lunch at Giovanni’s.  The attendance was lower than in previous years, but the fifteen attendees thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  On 16th December 2021 the long and short walks started and finished at my home followed by a few beers and wine and Christmas goodies. It was pleasing that several club members attended what was the final Club event of the year. 

As in 2020 I believe that we made the most of the situation we found ourselves in and I pay tribute to the members of the walking group who walk with the Club whenever possible.  The organisation of the walks has placed a significant burden on a small number of walkers, and it is hoped that we can have an increased number of regular walkers in 2022 who can share the burden.   I can add nothing further than to repeat some of the comments I made in my 2020 report in that the walking group is not just about walking for exercise – it is also for spending time with others, experiencing new walks and seeing new places, and a convivial lunch at a pub restaurant.  To deliver thirty seven walks (long and short) is a considerable achievement particularly in the difficult underlying environment that continues to subsist. I pay particular thanks to Jim Flett in organising and leading almost all the short walks.

Scott Martin, Walks Secretary

WALKING SECTION ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2020

2020 was my first year as Walks Secretary.  The Covid-19 restrictions had a significant impact on the walks programme.   Within a couple of weeks of taking on the role in early February and with support from recent walk leaders, Jerry Bentley and David Howard, it was possible to quickly agree the walks programme for the year and to book a walking holiday for eight members in April. 

We did not know this at the time but our walk on 5th March with lunch was to be our last walk for some time.  Four of us walked informally at Astbury on 19th March without lunch.  On 23rd March, the Government put the country into “lockdown” and our walks programme was suspended and the walking holiday cancelled.  Over time the Government has imposed restrictions at one level or another and when we have been able to walk arrangements have tended to be on a week-to-week basis.  As the restrictions were slackened, we were able to walk in a group of six and have lunch at a public house restaurant as a group of six.  On occasions, we had two walks in two separate groups with two walk leaders.

On 21st May, Andy Whitaker invited me to walk with him for almost five miles on a local route to establish a suitable walk for a walk without either car travel or a pub visit.  The walk would start and finish at my home, which is near open countryside to the south of the town and return there for a picnic lunch.  We invited several walkers to join us on 25th June on the clear understanding that this would be a private walk and not a Rex Probus event.  Subsequently, several KRP walks started and finished there followed by a picnic lunch in the garden, supplemented by a few chilled beers.

In recent months we developed a revised planning sheet that includes a risk assessment for each walk with a specific focus on Covid-19 risks. The content is based on information provided on the “Ramblers” web site for group walks and I believe we will need to adhere to this process for a long time to come.

In all we managed 18 walks.  The final walk was our annual walk in Tatton in two groups of six.  Several other members joined us at the end of the walk for Christmas goodies and the traditional drop of the hard stuff or wine for those that wished to participate, albeit still in groups of no more than six.

We were all sorry to see Colin Bowman, a stalwart of the walking group leaving Knutsford in November for a new life in Devon.  A walk was organised as his “swansong” which was well attended and although we were unable to have a farewell lunch with Colin, we did manage to share some socially distanced beers in my garden after the walk with the club Chairman saying a few words to thank Colin for his support of the club and its walking group and presenting him with case of Tatton Brewery beers to be enjoyed once in Devon.

I believe that we made the most of the situation we found ourselves in and I pay tribute to the stoical members of the walking group who are keen to walk whenever the opportunity arises.  Of course, the walking group is not just about walking for exercise – it is also for spending time with others, experiencing new walks and seeing new places, and a convivial lunch at a pub restaurant.  Hopefully, we will be able to return to the traditional format later in 2021.  As we go into 2021, we are currently unable to walk as a group and await any change in restrictions that allows us to get walking again.

Scott Martin

Walks Secretary

WALKING SECTION ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2019

Throughout 2019 the section has continued the tradition of holding a long walk on virtually every Thursday in the year when there was not a Club meeting. These walks have been well supported by a “hard core” of about eight regulars, but good weather, or a particularly interesting walk can see numbers swell to as many as 14. Special events such as the Bowlers vs Walkers day and the pre-Christmas Tatton Park walk followed by lunch in the Town have been very well supported with over 20 members and partners at both events.

Regrettably maintaining a regular short walk programme has proved impossible in spite of strenuous efforts from Mike Johnson. Just at the moment there seems to be little support from the members for regular short walks. Anyone with the enthusiasm to breathe new life into this pleasant and healthy activity would be most welcome!

For the second year in succession a 3 day walking holiday was held, this time based on the splendid accommodation provided by the Business Centre at Bangor University. This venue gave the 6 holidaymakers easy access to the coast of Anglesey and the hills of North Wales. The holiday was blessed with reasonable weather until the last day, when Llanberis welcomed us with traditional Welsh horizontal rain.

There is always time to stop for a photo opportunity. [Walking Holiday.]

The Club would particularly like to thank those many members who have regularly planned and led walks through the year. Special mention should be made of Scott Martin and Peter Maxwell who have broken new ground by introducing the very successful innovation of rail travel to facilitate novel city centre walks. Jim Flett is also to be thanked for maintaining his ever useful data base of the routes we have travelled as are Scott Martin and Alan Allcock for ensuring that walkers are always to be found on the Club Website, pictured smiling, usually at some beauty spot or windswept hill top.

REX PROBUS THREE DAY ANNUAL WALKING HOLIDAY IN NORTH WALES – 30th April to 2nd May 2019

 

The group beneath the impressive Aber Falls on Day 1.

Six members stayed at Bangor University for a walking holiday in North Wales that was arranged by Jerry Bentley.  There were five walks over the three days: – 

 From Abergwyngregyn on the “North Wales Path” to Aber Falls taking in wide views of the North Wales Coast and Anglesey;

  • from Newborough Nature Reserve and forest on Anglesey through the forest and sand dunes and along Llanddwyn Beach to Llanddwyn island with its view across the Menai Straits to the Snowdon range of mountains;
  • on Anglesey from Llanddona beach at Red Wharf bay to a hill fort;
  • a circular walk from Brynsiencyn following the Anglesey Coastal path with views of Caernarfon and its Castle; and
  • from Llanberis for a circular walk around the lake, “Llyn Padern”, passing a steam train, slate museum and on the return walking along what was a railway line, now converted to a walkway. Magnificent views of Snowdon.

The group rest for a while for a photo opportunity.

On the second evening the group dined at a restaurant by Bangor pier. The weather was ideal for walking on the first two days and very wet on the third day.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the opportunity to spend together in a most collegiate way.

More photos may be seen on our Gallery page.

Walks’ Secretary’s Annual Report for 2018

The Club’s walkers have had another very busy year carrying out a total:

  • 24 long walks
  • 9 short walks
  • 1 walking holiday
  • The annual Walker’s & Bowler’s day
  • The annual Christmas Walk in Tatton Park followed by lunch in Don Giovanni’s

The Long Walkers were out in all weathers throughout the year on the first, third and when there was one the fifth Thursday of the month and covered approximately 130 miles. I am pleased to report that as planned Mike Johnson has successfully re-invigorated the short walks on the first Thursday of each month (mostly) and there have been a total of 9 of these, but not including the joint walks on the Walker’s & Bowler’s day and the Christmas walk. Well done Mike!  It should be noted he has been well supported in his endeavours by Evelyn Flett, Mike Cooper and Peter Hayes who have in turn led walks.

After several years of debate we had our first walking holiday after many years. This was up into the glorious Yorkshire Dales in an around Wharfedale and Skipton.  Six members ventured onto the trip, which was superbly organised and led by Jerry Bentley.  Two nights were spent in a delightful Skipton guest house (serving fabulous breakfasts) and we crammed in three walks totalling about 25 miles in length.  Plans are afoot to repeat the venture but this time in North Wales.

We maintained the Annual traditions of the annual Walker’s & Bowler’s day in October and the annual Christmas Walk in Tatton Park. The Walker’s & Bowler’s day included a walk around Arley Hall and lunch at the Spinner & Bergamot, Messrs Whittaker & Howard took all before them in the bowls to shouts of ‘fix’, demands for re-counts and blood tests.  Mike Cooper was unanimously voted the Knutsford Rex Probus Club – Mike Johnson Trophy for the ‘Sport’s Personality of the Year’.

Again I am pleased to record my gratitude to Jim Flett for his continued hard work to keep up to date his data-base of long walks which is available on to our new website, along with an electronic copy of the Club walk’s book and with other miscellaneous related documents, maintaining an invaluable tool for the planning of walks.

Unfortunately the annual Spring all day walk dropped off the radar in 2018, but it is hoped to re-introduce it with an all day trip to Rawtenstall, via the East Lancashire Railway in 2019.

This is my last walk as the Walk’s Secretary as it is planned for me to succeed Ken Ackroyd as Talks’ Secretary.   So may I express my gratitude to all the walk’s leaders for their support over the last couple of years.  Jerry Bentley has kindly agreed to take over and I wish him well.

David Howard