What could possibly go wrong?
How many people managed the following?
Had to cancel holiday - two
Forgot Croatian money - two
Forgot credit cards - one
Needed padlock cut off case - one
Sat in something yucky - two
What could possibly go right?
Evening sea cruise with the Captain plying us with wine and spirits.
Wonderful views from mountain ridges covered in wild flowers.
Locals waving to us.
Fabulous ice cream; cheap beer.
Walking round Trigvir market where villagers had come into town to sell their fresh fruit and veg – the cherries were delicious.
Waterfalls, river cruises, sea bathing ( for some).
The hotel was comfortable, the food was delicious and varied, the company was entertaining, the organisation went without a hitch.
Altogether a wonderful holiday.
Portugal – England’s oldest ally - Now our holiday destination
If you have not flown in to Faro before, the sight of sea and salt marshes getting closer and closer is a bit unnerving and I was expecting to ‘splash down’ rather than land but the pilot knew his job.
The next good news was that dinner was still available in the hotel and this was our first introduction to the magnificent buffet the hotel laid on every morning and evening. I am sure several of our members went home several kilos heavier. I loved the little patties and fried things for hors d’oevres and having fresh fruit salad for breakfast. Others raved over the steaks cooked on the hob or the ice creams or the cheeses.
We also met other HF members ( 13 to our 16) and in the best tradition of NHRG we mixed and mingled with them all during the week and made new friends. One of the leaders (Bob) had been there the previous week and he said it had rained at some point everyday. His luck and ours changed and we had glorious sunshine all week. I struggled on one day when the temp went over 30!
The walking was lovely; along beaches where we saw people dredging for cockles; salt lagoons which were a twitcher’s paradise; through a National forest; over hills covered in wild flowers; along the river border with Spain. The other leader ( Kevin) was a mine of information on flowers and birds which added interest to our days....
Rosalind April 2014
Hungary, that rather mysterious, landlocked country somewhere in the middle of Europe. Wasn't it one of those places overrun by son of Genghis Khan? Budapest, the Danube, frenetic Liszt piano pieces and Bulls Blood wine. Our knowledge was limited. Enthused by reports from a small group of NH ramblers who took up the challenge to visit a remote part of the country in spring 2012, more of us wanted to explore the trail less travelled in Hungary's Aggtelek National Park so Wizz Air-ed off to Debrecen, Hungary's second largest city in September 2013. Throwing off our spare layers we enjoyed our first al fresco meal followed by a freestyle exploration of the city centre and dive into the murky depths of a money changer's for some, battle with an ATM for others. Like India, the name of the game was 'find the small change'. En-route to Szogliget, our village destination, a stop at Tesco's for bread was planned – did we buy our wine here? No, there were 10 bottles at the 'cottage'. Well it was obvious that wouldn't go far in a week. A raid next day on the village store cleared them out so Tesco's was fair game on the next bread run. Some actually paid over £2 a bottle!
The 'cottage' was a long house, traditional to that area, which had been restored and modernised hostel style, to make it suitable for groups. It was basic but clean and the beds comfortable. The idiosyncratic hot water system resulted in a minor shower war but diplomacy, negotiation and the stiff upper lip prevailed.
Zsolt our host, guide and interpreter and his sister sourced and prepared our food. Lashings of home grown grapes and tomatoes, fresh yoghurt and cheese, other fruit and home preserves, cereals plus the full English gave us a good start to the day. Thick and hearty home made vegetable soups with a Hungarian speciality dessert were enjoyed at lunch times and another hearty meal in the evenings sustained our daily exertions.......
Pat Rumpus November 2013
What could be better than to leave Luton Airport behind on a cold grey March day and fly off to a wonderful week of great walking in Tenerife.
This was just one more of those fantastic rambling trips organised so efficiently by active members of our club. The group comprised about 40 people of varying capability and we joined either the “Whippets” or the “Strollers”. The two groups did walks of differing difficulty, the length being determined more by time rather than distance.
Although the weather was not quite as good as could normally be expected, careful monitoring of the forecasts by our leaders ensured that all of the planned walks took place safely and successfully. There was enough sunshine for the unwary to get burned and enough rain to get wet! Comfortable private buses ferried us to and from the walk locations which were typically an hour’s drive from our excellent base Hotel, the “Masaru” in Puerto de la Cruz. The diverse location of the four walking days enabled us to have a taste of pretty much the whole island with its terrain ranging from Volcanic to Woodland to Rocky. On the rest days, some of us organised our own outings and walks to other places using the public bus services.
The centre piece of Tenerife is, of course, Mount Teide which rises to about 11,000ft above sea level. Although not covered by snow when we arrived, suddenly, one morning, the vista had changed and the snow bedecked mountain had become a wonderful backdrop for the many photographs which members will treasure for a long time.
Stan and Eve, the resident guides, were full of local information and their relaxed style made each day an interesting event. All in all this holiday was a great success and good value for money.
Hearty thanks go to Jenny Mason and Kathie Painter, our organising club members. The girls did good!
Peter Marchant April 2013
As a latecomer to the group, I relished the prospect of spending New Year in Snowdonia. With shared lifts, we arrived at Craflwyn Hall, late afternoon but very wet Wales did not dampen the warm welcome we received from the friendly and very capable young Lithuanian couple who ran the HF house; nothing was too much trouble. The entire holiday was a great adventure and there were numerous highlights of our stay. I tasted the nicest cucumber sandwiches at afternoon tea on arrival. I was impressed by the determination of the groups to complete ascents and flooded walks and noted the helpful assistance given by others in order to achieve this. The subsequent continuous rain did not spoil the beauty of the pine forest and the force of the water rushing down the hills and along the river.
At the Hall, we were treated to 5-star meals and enjoyed the warmth of a roaring fire in the lounge, where we played games each evening and celebrated the New Year. Managing to stay upright in 40 mph winds with ice and snow underfoot on the summit of Snowdon on New Year’s Day will be a lasting memory for five of us.
Many thanks to Robin for his excellent organisation, to Robin, Leon , Carol and Harold for leading the walks, to Aliki for organising evening entertainment and the entire group for your company and for making the four days so memorable.
My Brief Encounter in Dorset
Friday started out a great day. Sheila George picked me up at my house and drove us over to Ron McDowell’s house as he was driving us to Swanage.
Ron organised this splendid trip to Dorset staying on Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park. The accommodation booked by him was excellent. I stayed with 2 ‘new’ friends, Pat and Jan, with whom I had a great time. We had a 4-berth caravan between the three of us. As Pat and Jan had arrived before me they shared the twin room leaving ‘lucky’ me with the double.
We had a short walk on the Friday afternoon, over heath land with stunning views and a huge Tor in the middle of it. Some of our party for reasons of their own decided to climb to the top of the Tor. Robin and Leon were ‘Kings of the castle’, by getting to the top and scaring the life out of some of us, while Ina and Mercedes made it half way up.
Then it was on to Ulwell to unpack and get ready for the evening meal in the bar and restaurant on site. The food was good and the company even better!
9.30am start the next morning with a glorious day. I was told that the walk was about 15 miles although by the time we had finished it felt more!
After an hour of walking we stopped to have our coffee and enjoy the sun and views. Onwards then until we came to the Square and Compass, an old pub specialising in ciders. The outside of the building was festooned with pumpkins of all sizes, some were bigger and heavier than me. Pasties and pints went down well here, I had ale while several of the others enjoyed a cider with their pasties. The next leg took us to Corfe, with a fantastic approach to the castle. Once in Corfe village we split into two groups with our group enjoying a clotted cream tea at the base of the castle walls. After that welcome break we had a steep climb up to a ridge, which kept climbing! I thought we’d never get to the top! But it was certainly worth it for the views both sides were out of this world. This leg of the journey was about 3¾ miles, dropping down to the top of Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park. We were tired but happy and looking forward to a very hot shower.
The evening meal followed a similar format as the previous evening. Once I’d eaten and shared a bottle of wine I was ready for an early night.
Sunday 9.30am saw us car sharing to get to the start of our cliff top walk.
Once again the weather was gorgeous, Ron did a good job when he ordered it!
This was a shorter walk of about 8 miles, which was lucky as one of the group Debbie, had twisted her ankle the previous evening, but was still game enough to give it a go. She was having some difficulty towards the end of the walk. When we arrived at our last stop at a cliff top café, she and Mike ordered a taxi back to site. We settled in for a cup of tea and I tried some of the clotted cream ice cream…Lovely! We descended from there into Swanage, for a meander and a look at the shops. As we were making our way to the campsite a heavy drizzle started, which got us all rummaging in our rut sacks for our waterproofs. That 10 or 15 minuets of bad weather were the only bit we experienced.
Dinner and drinks in the bar and restaurant, although a few stayed on after dinner for a couple more, so there may have been a sore head or two next morning.
Once packed and the cars loaded we went into Swanage, for an excellent and very informed guided tour by Ron. The weather was great yet again, with sun and not a breath of wind.
Finally we stopped and had coffee and a Danish. Then there were good byes and farewells and see you soons! I think we would all have liked to stay another day or two. But we had to hit the road.
I’d like to thank Ron very much for organising this trip, everything went brilliantly! I look forward to more trips in the future and seeing you all again soon.
Hold the pole! No, take my arm! Step here! Watch that slippery rock! The members of NHRG are crossing a stream all of 2m wide and 25 cm deep. What wimps!
Nonetheless the trip to Corfu was fabulous. The scenery was picturesque beaches and steep l limestone hills clothed in wild flowers and olive groves. It had rained heavily the previous week so everything was lush but the going was mostly dry underfoot – only Heather had to wash her boots after slipping into some amazingly gooey mud.
We all became experts in looking for the Corfu Trail signs which were clear in some parts but designed to baffle in others. We had the unusual experience of climbing stepladders at one point placed there by Leon who had borrowed them from the hotel. I wonder if they are still there? “Snakefinder” Huxtable spotted a viper; “Flowers” Faulkner identified orchids and gladioli; Aliki, poor thing, slipped on some fallen olives and gained a permanent stain on her trousers.
Because of the previous rain, the village festival had been postponed to our week, and we were invited to the party; this was the real thing! Plenty of meat and drink and genuine Greek dancing, where we were pushed and pulled along with dancers in traditional dress and no-one minded that we hadn’t a clue.
The hotel was called the Cricketer’s but it could easily pass for Fawlty Towers. Some rooms had a balcony, others had a kettle; some rooms had Sun in the evening, others had a shower. None had everything. The non-walkers, Vic and Mags, did appreciate the swimming pool.
The ruler of the terrace was Ginger Tom he had seduced Miss Puss but was not above stealing her food. One frosty stare from him and the owner’s dog slunk away without a whimper. The hotel put on an evening of Greek music and dancing and the owner’s wife (German of Turkish extraction) showed us how belly dancing should really be done.
Our non-walking day took us to the Achillion Palace and Corfu Town, which has a cricket pitch in the centre.
Our last day surpassed every other. Three donkeys were loaded with our picnic lunch and we walked with them to a secluded beach. A couple already there stared in disbelief as walker after noisy walker descended the steps with every appearance of staying; they packed their bags and retreated in their boat. We ate our delicious picnic, swam or lounged and then... around the headland roared the motor boats. We ladies were lifted in, and off we sailed to view the caves and grottos. The boats played traditional music, which Aliki used to show us some pole dancing! The boats finally motored straight onto our home beach, scattering the other tourists right and left. Wonderful!
When David and Sue Smith embarked on the ‘final’ recce for this holiday back in April they found wet and freezing weather and an unsuitable hotel light years away from the website description. After calming down from the initial panic attacks new action plans were in order. A new hotel was found – not very difficult you may think - since it was there that they got married 40 years ago. One small snag – the hotel needed a total renovation, which was promised to be complete on time for our holiday.
And so when all 32 of us arrived safely for our first walk starting at the Bowlees Visitor Centre near Middleton in Teesdale everything was perfect! The weather was calm and sunny as we set off for our afternoon walk along the River Tees. We explored the High Force waterfall before returning to the visitor centre for tea and cakes.
From there we drove to The George at Piercebridge, which although being in the middle of a £2 million renovation, was more than adequate, despite a few problems with the plumbing. We soon settled in and we all sat down to a fine 3-course dinner admiring the dining room decorations. Sue gave us all an expert explanation on the local geological characteristics and the way of life in the Dales. After all she grew up there and did most of the walks when she was young with her dad.
On Saturday, following a hearty (or for some of us, heart clogging) breakfast, a short walk to the bus stop found us almost filling the local bus and nearly deafening the driver and the two regular local passengers. Rounds of cheering punctuated our journey to the start of the walk at Eggleston, as the bus managed to crawl to the top of some impressively steep hills, much to the driver’s relief.
Once again the weather was sunny with a light breeze as we set off to walk through the village of Romaldkirk (refreshment stop on the green) and thence along the side of the Tees. En route we negotiated many gaps in the stone walls that seemed to get narrower the further we walked. Finally we crossed the Tees and arrived at Barnard Castle. At this point a short walk to Egglestone Abbey was undertaken although some of our number were seduced by the lure of the many cafés in the town.
We all returned to The George by bus and following dinner, David explained that ‘Swaledale’ is pronounced ‘Swaddle’, whilst fondling the buttocks of the dining room wall sculpture – who said that men can’t multi task! We then finished the evening with a somewhat tricky but entertaining quiz where as usual the best team did not win.
Sunday morning’s walk was an hour’s drive to Muker where we commenced the ‘Waddle in Swaddle’. Whilst diverting to see the lovely village of Thwaite we held up an oncoming group of six ramblers whilst we were struggling through yet another gap in the wall. One of the six asked, “Has the back marker got a flag?” to which the reply was “ No–a turban”. Their disbelief was palpable.
A few seconds later Parshotam came into view sporting his incredibly white turban and the group dissolved into laughter.
The walk that followed was nothing short of tremendous. With sunny skies and a gin clear view we walked in a northerly direction high above the Swale to Keld and after lunch at a waterfall, turned back to the long disused Crackpot Hall. Here we split up into the high and the low track groups, meeting back up at Muker where yet again tea and ice cream were enjoyed. A rather aged lady that we had seen walking earlier and we were having tea with remarked – “are you a ‘singles’ club? You seem to be having such a nice time!!” “No we are from the North Herts Ramblers and we always have a great time!”
The drive to the hotel was followed by a more than you can ever eat carvery and of course another picture quiz. Most people did not want to go back home first thing on Monday, and with Sue and David not needing much convincing an extra short walk was organised. Monday dawned more overcast than we were used to – time to go home was near. Nevertheless 17 souls ventured out on a short walk around Brignall and we had lunch at The Meeting of The Waters – a great spot where the river Greta joins the Tees.
The trip was a great success with brilliant sunshine weather, good food, comfortable hotel, great company, but most of all the walks were really splendid with terrific scenery.
Thank you Sue and David! Looking forward to the next holiday already.