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A scoutmaster

IntroductionA gate leading to a footpath into a wood

Our church rambling group was formed in the 1980s following a very successful parish holiday in Yorkshire. Many of those who went walking together in the Yorkshire countryside enjoyed it so much that it was decided we should continue the practice when we got home.

There have been a lot of changes in the group in the 30+ years since. Some members have become too old to go rambling. Some have sadly died. Others have moved away. We have, of course, had new members join our group but our core members are still drawn from the generation that grew up in the 1950s and 1960s.

We originally organised a ramble on one Saturday a month; it was usually about 10 miles and attracted 20 or so people. As some members reached retirement age we started holding a short ramble on one Friday a month, usually of about 5 miles. As our numbers started falling off and we all got that bit older we reduced the Saturday rambles to a morning only with a walk of around 5 miles. We didn’t change our habit of dropping into a pub for lunch.

My wife and I started leading some of the Friday rambles in 2013. I used the LocusMap smartphone app to plot possible routes and to pinpoint exactly where we were on a ramble if I was ever in doubt (which has been known!).

Having worked out a route, my wife and I then went out to try it and to check the pub where we intended to have lunch. What the Ordnance Survey maps do not show is the condition of the paths. We had to abandon more than one proposed walk because of thick mud. One I decided to give up on when I counted 15 stiles in half a mile. One we changed slightly when we discovered the pub had become a gastropub since our last visit.

I have attached GPX files to my notes on rambles. You can download all my available GPX files from here. Unfortunately the lockdowns mean that our rambling group has not functioned at all since 2019. Sadly for me medical problems mean that my rambling days could be over anyway.