Pathways - Summer 2022, Issue 79

Welcome to the Summer edition of Pathways.


With recent record- breaking temperatures and very little rainfall (and of course, Covid) the summer is already impacting on our walks, with cancellations and some adjustments to the programme. Hopefully, we may get through to the autumn without any further hitch. Please take sensible precautions if you plan to walk in very high temperatures and be aware that leaders may wish to make changes to a planned walk, or even cancel it if appropriate.

This is the last time that you will receive Pathways in this quarterly format; please ensure that you read my article on page 2 to find out how L&I news will be delivered in the future.
Happy Walking!

Many of you will remember Stewart Hinks, who died at the beginning of April following a major stroke last October from which he had made very little recovery. Twelve members of L&I attended his funeral at Butterfield Green Crematorium on 28th April. I think most of us knew that Stewart was a man with many interests, but we learnt even more about his life from the interesting eulogy written by his brother Alan and delivered by his nephew Ian. We even found out that he had a love of traditional jazz from the selections chosen for the entry and exit music.

Stewart had been a member of the group for many years and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

Always partial to a piece of cake – Stewart in 2016
Stewart Hinks

Information for Walk Leaders
As all walk leaders know, planning a walk involves a certain amount of expense when undertaking recces and a pre-walk, which in these times of high fuel costs can be a bit daunting. With this in mind, it has been decided that leaders can claim expenses for one return trip for either the recce or pre-walk, from the group. (This applies to each walk you lead, but can’t be claimed retrospectively)
The rate is 45p per mile and claims should be submitted to Bob Shelley. There is a claims form on Assemble (the volunteer section of the Ramblers website zone.aspx ) ,if you have difficulty accessing this, please speak to Bob directly or ask any committee member for assistance

Current committee member’s details are listed at the end of this newsletter
Editor - Rosemary Hasker
Email Tel 07891 425630

The History of ( and Future for) Pathways

This edition of Pathways marks a milestone for me; it is my 50th in the Editor’s chair. I took over the role from Sue Whiting at the 2005 AGM, with the thought that I would be doing it for maybe 2-3 years, but as nobody has shown any desire to relieve me of the task, here I still am!

The group has seen many changes since 2005. For one thing there were at least twice as many members at that time, although there were probably a similar proportion of active members as there are today. Typically, a walk would attract 20-25 members, and 30 or more was not unusual. If walks needed to be cancelled, for example because of predicted severe weather conditions, the leader invariably had to still go to the start point on the day as somebody would be bound to turn up! As time went on, we developed a “telephone tree” system, with committee members each having a list of people to contact to notify them if the walk wasn’t going to happen. Whilst this was fine for informing our regular members, it didn’t stop any visitors to the group.

The biggest development came when we started to collect member’s email addresses and send out the programme and Pathways digitally (this happened in 2012).Of course, this had a big impact on postage costs and also presented members with a much clearer and easier to read document; you could even identify the people in photographs without having to strain your eyes to try and make out the grainy black and white images produced at the printers!. More importantly, it allowed us to advise people of any last- minute changes to walks. Another major change occurred in 2018 when GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) came into force.. It is for this reason that I ask members to specifically consent to receive what is deemed as “marketing” (i.e., the newsletter and other updates).

You may be asking yourself where this potted history of my time as Newsletter Editor is leading! Arguably the biggest change has come with COVID and the temporary suspension of Ramblers activities. When these started up again, it was a case of arranging walks at often very short notice and the only way to notify members was via email. But as things have settled down, it has become apparent that the group is not able to put out a four-monthly programme as we have in the past, we simply don’t have sufficient leaders for this. The rolling 1–2-month programme has proved popular with leaders: there is not the necessity to plan for walks many months ahead as was previously the case, and the Walk Secretary only needs to have 6 or 7 walks for the programme to be ready to go. So, there are no plans to return to the previous system of four-monthly programmes for the foreseeable future.

So where does this leave Pathways? In simple terms, not keeping up with the aforementioned changes. We no longer have the programme printed (to print and post monthly programmes would not be financially viable), so Pathways does not need to be produced to coincide with the programme. The group has its own website and-icknield-luton/time-for-a-picnic.aspx set up and managed by Ajay Gandhi, and this provides the ideal format to put out news as it occurs, not, as has often been the case in the past, several weeks (or even months) after the event! Everyone can access the website- why not add it to your favourites?

So, this will be the future for Pathways; walk write ups, articles, photos etc, will appear in a News section on the website, but you will still receive “need to know” news by email. I hope that the new format will encourage others to contribute to the website, I will re-iterate my mantra “it should be everybody’s newsletter,” not just mine. Rosemary

Social Events

After a number of years without one, we now have a Social Secretary in place and the committee are keen to get some social events planned. You will all have received a short questionnaire asking for your views on social events; please take a couple of minutes to return this. I will have some paper copies of the questionnaire with me on walks if you prefer to do it that way. We do realise that some of you will not be interested in this side of the group at all, but it would be helpful to know this.
We do have a social event, combined with a walk, coming up in a couple of weeks’ time, as you will have seen in your August programme. Andy Bahn will be leading a short walk from Stockwood park, starting at 11am on 14th August, and on our return, we will have a picnic in the park (at the site of the old café). Just bring food/ drink for yourself, it can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. (it can be left in your car whilst we do the walk, no need to carry it)
It would be great if some of you who have felt unable to walk since covid could join us just for the picnic- it will start at around 12-30. Andy led a similar event back in July 2019, which was greatly enjoyed by participants. No need to book- hope to see lots of you there!

The Group outside St Botolph’s Church Aspley Guise in April Photo Ajay Gandhi

Diary Dates
10th- 18th September Bedfordshire Walking Festival
The festival programme offers a wide variety of walks for you to enjoy over nine days. Hard copies of the programme are available on walks from committee members, or you can visit the festival website for full details.
Sunday 27th November Beds Area AGM
This year it is the turn of Lea and Icknield (Luton) to host the Area AGM. It will be held at Streatley Village Hall and involves a shortish morning walk; a light lunch will be provided followed by the formal meeting. You will receive further details nearer the time. It would be great to have a good turnout of our own members to support this event.

A Short History of Galley Hill
It’s interesting to know some of the history of our local area, and on a recent walk, the subject of Galley Hill was raised. The following information is from the website.
Situated 187metres above sea level, Galley Hill has a gruesome history. The hill was used as a burial ground for those executed on the gallows there for witchcraft during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Luton, being a prime town on the route to London, was a popular place for thieves, and a gibbet was erected on the hill to act as a deterrent against such crimes. Bodies were soaked in tar to preserve them before being hung on the gibbet for all to see. The gibbet was constructed of wood and during a storm one night it was struck by lightening and set ablaze. Legend has it that a black dog was seen dancing and howling in the flames and smoke before the fire was extinguished. It is said that the dog gathers the souls of the dead and is occasionally seen today.
Before being used for the gibbet, Galley Hill was used as a Barrow and hill fort from Neolithic to Roman times. There are four Barrows located near to the Iron Age Boundary of Dray’s Ditches. The area is now an AONB and nature reserve and is traversed by the Icknield Way Trail to the north of Luton.

The YHA has a long history of welcoming walkers. This year they have launched their first Festival of walking, with organised events, free downloadable maps to help you plan your own walk, and various offers and discounts. If you log your mileage during the Festival there's also a chance to win a £500 voucher for Cotswold Outdoor. (Source: Walkingworld)

Chairman Secretary Walk Secretary
Treasurer Membership Secretary Newsletter Editor Publicity Secretary Social Secretary

YHA Walking Festival
Committee Members 2021-22
Jeff Petts 01582 654280, 07938 561659
Bob Tarron 01582 738754
Andrew Turnbull 01525 404048, 07770 166489
Bob Shelley 07737 411793
Eric Peppiatt 01582 883257
Rosemary Hasker 07891 425630 Andy Bahn 07984 954461
Maggie Rattigan 07962 992802

The Ramblers Association is a registered charity (England & Wales no 1093577, Scotland no SC039799) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales (no 4458492). Registered office: 2nd floor, Camelford House, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TW