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Easter Meet 2007 at Whitby
Whalebones overlooking Whitby
About Whitby Whitby, the venue for the 52nd Easter Meet, was once a ship building centre and whaling port. James Cook, navigator and explorer, was an apprentice in a general shop on the sea front at Staithes, and later moved to Whitby to work for a ship owner. Overlooking the town are the ruins of  the 7th century abbey of  St Hilda. The abbey was the home of Caedmon, regarded as the first English Christian poet. Whitby was also the setting for Bram Stoker’s novel “ Dracula” and attracts fans of the book. A disused railway line, now a cycling route, goes south from Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay. The Lyke Wake Walk ends near Staithes, a picturesque fishing village about 13 miles north Whitby. Inland there is much good cycling country; so along with a cycle route, long distance path, and the Dracula connection, there is plenty to keep members happy during the Easter Weekend.
The Easter Meet 2007 was based at Sneaton Castle Centre is on the western edge of Whitby, on the B1460. Grid reference 881106, OS sheet 94.
A view of Sneaton Castle
Ride Reports One of the great benefits of attending an Easter meet is that you can join rides and benefit from local knowledge the map can be left behind and you can concentrate on the scenery and catching up with people you haven’t seen for a year. For the RSF the North York Moors must be one of the least visited parts of the UK I say this because I had some difficulty finding runs leaders. However one notable exception was Dave Hall who lead two excellent runs over the sunny weekend – the best Easter weather ever???? On Saturday we left by the converted rail track to Robin’s Hood Bay and Ravenscar.  I think virtually everyone at the meet must have done this route over the weekend.  Shortly after leaving Whitby you get great coastal views I hadn’t realised just how dramatic the coastline is.    After the 11 miles to Ravenscar (excellent café) we turned inland and joined part of the Lyke Wake Walk   bushwacking across some heather crossing the A171 and seeking out a quieter spot for lunch on Harwood Dale Moor. A steep climb up Surgate Brow  and then on  easy grade tracks to  Langdale End. From here we headed north west into the forest sand enjoyed about 10 miles of continuous ridable off road coming out around the back of Fylingdales Moor (formerly of giant Golf Ball fame).  I was amazed at just how  extensive the moors are. From here it was a few miles back to Sneaton Hall. An excellent route most of the day spend off road and the only tough climb being on tarmac. On Sunday Dave lead us up Esk Dale to Grosmont. We followed the north bank which was all off road being a number of interlinking tracks and much flatter than the south side road. Waiting to fix a puncture at Grosmont fun was had at a slippery ford. The it was a private road to Egton and tracks through Arnecliff Woods still following the river Esk. Minor roads then to Danby where we head up Danby Beacon and a stony track than headed east in the direction of Stonegate.  At this point we divided up with some heading straight back and other going north around Ugthorpe to take in a few more tracks.   Special mention should be made of Richard Harries who got round on his Brompton although I noticed on the steep descents he used his right shoe as a third brake!! Steve Griffith SATURDAY About 18 riders went via back lanes through Newholm and  Dunsley to take elevenses at a ford near West Barnby. From there a short bridleway was taken to Mickleby. Then lanes to Ellerby where we followed the A174 to reach Staithes. We lunched, admired the coastal scenes and basked in the sun before moving on to Runswick Bay. After the steepest of walks back out of the bay, we followed the disused railway to Kettleness, with a stop for a puncture on the way. More lanes and then a descent of Lythe Bank to take afternoon tea at Sandsend, before returning to Sneaton Castle. Quite a pleasant hilly ride of 27 miles. SUNDAY 13 riders and down to Ruswarp where we followed the river to Sleights. Climbing out of Sleights, we left the traffic behind by
taking a lane on the south side of the Esk Valley to reach Grosmont. Here we took teas and watched the steam trains before taking the old toll road to Egton Bridge.  This was followed by minor roads through Glaisdale to the lunch stop at the delightful café and village of Lealholm. Another steep climb immediately after lunch took us to Stonegate and then up to meet the A171. Here Ken and Dot took the quickest route back. The rest followed a long and gently descending lane which traverses high above the valley before reaching Aislaby, from where it was a short distance back to base. A beautifully scenic ride of 24 miles. Very hilly! John Kemp You  can read Jean Stevens account of Easter Meet 2007 at this link.
The Rough-Stuff Fellowship Limited, Annual Report 2006 Review of the year The Easter Meet at Tregaron in Wales benefited from unusually good weather, especially given the location. The Elenith area with its three simple youth hostels is popular with members, we sadly learned during the meet that the YHA was selling these hostels. Fortunately two of them have been purchased by a trust which will keep them operating. Our next Easter Meet will be in Whitby. 2006 has been characterised by a return to level of membership loss which appeared to have halted in 2005. Again the issue is new membership recruitment. Membership Our membership stood at 585 (497 full members) at the year end, 39 down on the previous year. In 2005 we succeeded in maintaining our membership, but the loss of about 39 members in 2006 is very similar to the average over the period 2001 to 2004. Membership renewals have held up better than normal in 2006, indeed we have the same number of  5-year renewals as we had 5 years ago. However recruitment of new members has fallen to about half of the rate in the previous year. Arguably in 2005 recruitment was assisted by the revitalisation of the Lancashire group, and that group is still thriving, but such success is only seen in few areas. The South Lakes Group has also seen greatly increased attendance on its rides, and both groups have a thriving web presence. We have seen such cycles before, as local groups grow and subsequently retreat, often related to the presence of a dedicated area secretary. The Rough-Stuff Journal The editor has continued to produce six well-appreciated journals per year in very timely fashion, with occasional journals with additional pages. We have managed to contain distribution costs despite the major change in Post Office tariffs. Expenditure is similar to the previous year. Publicity Having restricted our advertising to the CTC, as we decided last year, our advertising expenditure has fallen considerably. Advertising in other media did not seem to be effective, although  new membership recruitment is now down. On the other hand, we advertised more widely in earlier years and membership still fell. It seems likely that improved recruitment in 2005 was related to local group activity than advertising. Our website www.rsf.org.uk run by John Brewer continues to obtains increasing traffic. The websites run by the Lancashire and South Lakes area groups obtains increasing traffic, and photos rapidly displayed after runs appear to promote group cohesion. Accounts The Fellowship has lost £309 for the year, in contrast with £593 in 2005. When the one-off cost of our 50th anniversary in 2005 are taken into account, this is about the same. We had expected a larger loss, since income has fallen about £700 with falling membership. But our recurrent costs fell by about the same amount. In particular, the cost of  our associate membership of the CTC, including the public liability insurance, fell from £300 to £75, amount that had already been accrued in the previous year’s accounts in anticipation of larger sum . We also chose to spend less on publicity. We maintained expenditure on the journal to maintain production values. We have restated the 2005 accounts, because the one-off anniversary AGM costs were mistakenly classified as journal costs; and a commuted subscription was mistakenly classified as annual subscriptions. This means that the 2005 loss has slightly increased from that previously stated. Signed Steven Griffith, Simon C. Preston, Ivan Viehoff (Directors)