Stafford Rambling Group Affiliated to the Ramblers Stafford Rambling Group Produced with Xara -  Stafford Rambling Group 2014 -16
CHAIRMAN’S REPORT 2015-16    Last year I started by saying (and getting a slight gasp of surprise) that as a group we had met all our key performance indicators. Now that was partly an attempt at wit but actually there was a serious point. What is it that you ask the committee to do each year? Well let me suggest a list. 1 . To   organise   an   attractive   programme   of   Sunday   walks   throughout   the   year,   with   the   possible   exception   of Christmas when the Boxing Day walk takes over. This should be balanced between morning and day walks. 2 . To   organise   a   number   of   special   walk-related   events,   traditionally   two   weekends   away,   a   coach   ramble   and a dinner ramble. 3 . To organise some social events ie ones without a walking content. 4 . To   communicate   with   the   group   about   future   plans,   giving   the   opportunity   to   comment   –   other   than   voting with your feet or, for ramblers, should that be abstaining with your feet? 5 . To   all   this   within   the   funds   available   to   the   group   (and   not   making   too   much   of   a   dent   in   the   reserves). Perhaps the modern phrase is “sustainable” So how do I think we did against these in 2015-16? The   weekly   walks   continue.   Angie   stood   down   as   short   walks   co-ordinator   at   the   last   AGM   and   I   am   grateful   to Jeanette   for   taking   on   the   role.   She   has   been   very   efficient   in   doing   so.   Brad   also   stood   down   as   long   walks   co- ordinator   and   in   the   absence   of   a   volunteer   (hint!   hint!)   I   have   been   doing   this.   Our   leaders   have   offered   us   very varied   walks.   As   ever   we   have   to   thank   all   of   those   involved   because   very   simply   without   them   we   would   cease   to exist as a group. The   programme   over   the   winter   months   has   been   difficult.   The   exceptional   rainfall   (which   included   the   wettest December   on   record)   had   its   effects   on   the   state   of   footpaths.   We   have   seen   a   number   of   walks   altered   as   a   result and   we   have   walked   more   on   Cannock   Chase   than   normal   (although   those   routes   have   been   quite   inventive).   We have   also   had   problems   with   planned   leaders   being   unavailable   through   ill-health.   Despite   all   this   we   have continued, wetter on some days than others. I   did   receive   one   comment/suggestion   on   the   programme.   This   was   that   there   should   be   more   morning   walks   and day   walks   and   was   based   on   the   undeniable   facts   that   more   people   come   on   the   morning   walks   and   we   are   all getting   older.   I   was   initially   tempted   by   this   as   it   means   an   extra   half   hour   in   bed.   Certainly   if   I   could   not   get   a   long walk   for   a   particular   Sunday   I   wouldn’t   hesitate   to   have   a   morning   walk   rather   than   no   walk.   We   will   obviously always   have   more   people   on   morning   walks   because   day   walkers   will   do   many   of   them   whereas   morning   walkers are   unable   to   do   the   opposite.   We   have   discussed   this   in   committee   and   the   unanimous   view   was   that   the   balance of   the   programme   is   just   about   right.   The   person   who   was   most   vehement   in   this   view   does   not   do   many   long walks. As ever I would welcome feedback. The special walking events have all taken place namely Spring   Weekend   at   Weston   (37   participants):      we   were   blessed   with   wonderful   weather   and   thanks   to   Chris Wiggin,   Beryl   and   Angie   for   helping   to   lead   walks   (which   were   in   different   areas   to   our   last   visit   there).   Non walkers had visits to Wells, Bath and Cheddar as well as Weston. Coach ramble with two really good walks ending in Bakewell. Again we had spectacular weather for most of the day and a mega-downpour for the last 15 minutes of the longer walk during which everyone got soaked. Thanks to Carol for organising the day and leading the longer walk and to Beryl and Angie for leading the shorter walk. Autumn Weekend in Oxfordshire (32 participants) with walks around Chipping Norton, Woodstock, Deddington and Bloxton with the opportunity for non-walkers to explore the endlessly fascinating city of Oxford. Whilst I refer to non-walkers there are very few who do no walking at all over a weekend. The weather wasn’t as sunny as on some weekends but it did stay dry. The hotel was of a better standard than most we have used. Special thanks to Chris for organising the weekend and leading two walks and thanks to the other leaders – John, Joan, Angie, Beryl, Mike and Dot – and to those who organised the various entertainments – Gill, Chris J and Beryl.