‘Where’s the Brew Stop? The off-road cycle touring website’ About off- road cycle touring routes, cyclist’s cafes, off-road cycle touring, local group events and good photos. For cyclists who love off-road leisure cycling in Northern England
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Easter Meet 2004 The Easter Meet 2004 was based at Baskerville Arms Hotel at Clyro near Hay on Wye. About the area The Hay area is an excellent one for cycling, both on and off road. To the north are the Black Mountains, with pass-storming routes into the secluded valleys beyond. Further west are the Brecon Beacons, with further testing rough-stuff. North of the Wye Valley the hilly area around Painscastle and Glascwm offers a number of good rideable tracks over bare grassy ridges. For those who prefer more gentle cycling, the Wye Valley can be followed by quiet roads to Builth, and the National Cycle Museum at Llandrindod is well with reach. Eastwards lie the ‘black and white’ villages of Herefordshire all linked by peaceful lanes. And if the weather puts you off, there is the ‘Town of Books’ on the doorstep. Truly something for everybody. Annual Report for 2003 Review of the Year Whilst many members of this Fellowship will remember 2003 for its exceptional weather, it has been a hard year for the Fellowship, and one with considerable change. In this year we lost John Matthews, a man who did so much for the Fellowship that his personality ran through us like the words through a stick of rock. He will be sadly missed. Only three issues of the Rough Stuff Journal were delivered this year. The Journal lies at the core of the Fellowships' functioning and communications that its regular and reasonably prompt distribution is essential to our health. It is therefore no surprise that this year has seen an acceleration in membership decline, and many poorly attended events. 2003 was the driest and sunniest summer on record. With excellent weather from early spring until late autumn, there can hardly have been a better year for enjoying the tracks of this country. Our well-attended Easter Meet at Reeth had largely sunny but cold conditions. But despite the good weather, many other events were poorly attended. Membership Our membership stands at 687 at the end of the year, a decline of 37 (5%) during the year. This is an acceleration in the membership decline. John Matthews was in post as New Membership Secretary at the time of his passing. This resulted in an extended hiatus in the processing of membership applications, and possibly some were lost. Simeon Orme has been co-opted to take his place. We are grateful to him for the considerable task of locating John Matthews' files and transferring them to a modern computer database. The Rough-Stuff Journal Owing to pressures of work, Richard Harries was only able to edit three issues of the Rough-Stuff Journal in 2003. In partial compensation he expanded the size of the joint autumn/winter issue. Richard has tendered his resignation, as he regrets he is not in position to ensure a regular frequency. We thank him for his efforts in this key job over the last 3 years. During Richard's editorship our journal has been designed and produced by Linda Bussey and Tim Mackey. They put in an extraordinary amount of work to tight deadlines and gave us an elegant journal full of wonderful pictures. Norman Hodghton has been co-opted to edit the journal at a rate of six journals per year, and has indicated he will continue if elected at the AGM. Norman has been developing his own design for the journal, and has selected a new printer. Publicity Our stand at the York Rally has been reconstructed. John Brewer continues to run the website www.rsf.org.uk efficiently, and it attracts increasing traffic. Accounts The subscription was increased from £10 to £12 this year. The accounts show a gain for the year of £1010. Without the legacy and other items from the estate of John Matthews amounting to £1175, we would have shown a small loss. This situation is somewhat to the embarrassment of the Directors, as we had indicated to the membership that increased subscriptions would be reinforced by drawing on our reserves to maintain expenditure on the journal. However we are trusting that new arrangements put in place for delivering the journal will enable us to deliver on that in the coming year. SIGNED: Norman R Hodghton, Simon C Preston, Ivan Viehoff (Directors) Report of the Meet by Rchard Harris Mixed weather greeted us for our Easter Meet at Clyro, near Hay on Wye. It proved a good cycling area with plenty of choice, both on and off-road, and the interesting old town of Hay for those of less active bent. Bad weather on the Saturday led to some of the runs being curtailed though the President stuck to her route and tackled some of the toughest routes in the Black Mountains. By contrast the good weather on Monday persuaded several , me included, to enjoy a further day’s cycling. Thanks again to Bob Callow for the detective work in finding us Baskerville Hall, and Norman for doing the spade-work. The AGM saw a number of changes in running of the RSF Norman was confirmed as Editor and I as Secretary, in effect a swop-over of jobs. Simeon Orme formally took on the role of New Membership Secretary, which he stepped in to do on the death of John Matthews last year. Don Dalton takes over from Sandra Sowerbutts as Public Relations Officer. Keith Hogg takes over as Area Secretary for Lancashire. Finally, congratulations to ever popular , ever young Hilda Fox, voted in as one of our three Vice Presidents. Despite wishing to stand down, our Chairman Simon Preston, has agreed to carry on for another year in the absence of any other nominations for his post. Similarly, Trevor Sowerbutts will carry on as Advertising Manager although he would have preferred to stand down. The general lack of volunteers for posts, but now existing postholders are having to be coerced to carry on. So if you are reading this would like to put something back into the Fellowship, why not come along to Autumn Meet to see the working of the committee, and take an interest in the running of the Fellowship. At the AGM two suggested venues for the 2005 Meet proved equally popular on show of hands - Kendal and Bainbridge in Wensleydale. However, as this will be our 50th Easter Meet we hoping to get high turnout - in three figures -for the Annual Dinner, and both the original suggestions proved too small. Various alternative venues in the north are being investigated, so watch this space! I hope to see many of you at York Rally again this year. Making Hay, Easter 2004 by John Wilson All Easter Meets are enjoyable: this one at Clyro was magic! Clyro, near Hay-on-Wye (Kilvert country) is in an area known as Middle Wye, where the steep Radnorshire banks are decorated with great clumps of pale primroses. We pushed our bikes up narrow lanes, often in silence, then breathless gazed in wonder on the distant whaleback shapes of the Black Mountains. At Colva church we tested the echo, just as the Reverent Kilvert described in his diary in 1870. The kind folk in the adjacent farm. (Once the Sun Inn) invited us for tea -it was a special time - a treasured moment. On Saturday we rode through cloud and rain to Crasswall, wild and desolate, visibility was down to a few yards. We sought shelter and refreshment at the Bull’s Head Inn, an ancient place in harmony with its surroundings, the setting is perfect. The skies were clear on Sunday as I led my fellow wayfarers over the lovely Gospel Pass. As always a sence of achievement and wonderful mountain scenery. We dropped to Capel-y-Ffin (chapel on the boundary) a cluster of white cottages, farm buildings and a tiny church overshadowed by yew trees. Lambs  were running everywhere  in the April sunshine. In side this little church we sat together and gave thanks for our good fortune. Later in the day, after our annual dinner at the Baskerville Hall Hotel, I walked out into cool night air. A slight  breeze chilled me as I looked  across to great billowing shapes of the Black Mountains. The night wind murmured over the Radnorshire hills of Brilley, Rhulen and Colva, where all was peaceful. The following morning as we were bidding our farewells the sun shone brightly through a silvery mist, the Wyre sparkled and whispered as it glided on to meet the Seven near Chepstow. So another Easter Meet was over, a happy time, what memories we store.