We started 2003 as we meant to go on, with satisfying trips to Ripon and the South Pennines. The Lancashire Association AGM once again drew our attention in April, and this was followed by monster day grabs around Leeds and the Peak Dsitrict. During July we went on a mini-adventure around the Dales and some of us visited the Ringing Roadshow in Lincolnshire. Check out the rest of our trips in 2003 here.

1st February Yorkshire Association General Meeting
5 towers: Aldborough (8); Boroughbridge (8); Ripon Cathedral (10); Kirklington (8); West
Tanfield (8)

This year's ringing outings started in style with a trip to Ripon Cathedral and four other towers in the area. The first port of call on a cold and sunny winter's day was to Aldborough, just off the M1 in North Yorkshire, a nice ground floor six. After ringing some called changes and Plain Bob we headed a mile west to the lofty six-bell tower at Boroughbridge. Here there was an unusual rope "semi" circle - the tenor was right next to the treble but significantly separated from the fifth. Next our first cathedral of 2003 beckoned at Ripon. Parking was readily found in this small city dominated by the massive minster, and we soon made our way up the south-west belltower. We had a chance to see the ten bells in ear-splitting action before ringing a few rounds and calls. After a pub lunch in Ripon we drove north to two more six-bell churches at Kirklington and West Tanfield on the bank of the River Ouse. It was a great day out in glorious weather with ringing on some very nice bells.
click for larger image Andrew ringing
called changes
at Aldborough
click for larger image The tall tower
of St James,
click for larger image The impressive
facade of Ripon
click for larger image Leaning too far
at Kirklington,
St Michael
click for larger image Outside Aldborough the
first tower of the day
click for larger image Peering up at the south-
west belltower
click for larger image Chris, Adam and Andrew
at Ripon Cathedral
click for larger image The Cathedral's bells
swinging into action
click for larger image Ripon Cathedral basking
in the winter sunshine
click for larger image West Tanfield church, the
final tower of the day
1st March Liverpool Branch Outing: Lancashire into Yorkshire
6 towers: Ashton-under-Lyne, St Michael (12); Mossley, St George (8); Saddleworth (8); Marsden (10); Meltham (6); Lindley (8)

We didn't find out about this tour until a few days beforehand, but we hastily arranged a trip to accompany the Liverpool ringers. First stop of the day was the 12-bell St Michael's in Ashton-under-Lyne, a massive tower to the east of Manchester - plenty of folk were about as we grabbed a quick ring. We then made our way to the fringe of Lancashire at Mossley, St George, a ring of eight, before stopping off in the picturesque valleys around Saddleworth at St Chad's, a very nice eight. Crossing the border into West Yorkshire, it was time for some lunch before the next tower, so we ventured off in search of a pub. We scouted out a couple of likely establishments on the A62 en route to Marsden. In the second pub, Andrew felt compelled to mention his dislike of the music as we beat a hasty retreat! Eventually we came across The Swan in Marsden, a stone's throw from St Bartholomew's, the fourth tower of the day. The food was good and during our lunch-time discussion it even inspired us to set up the St Bart's Pub Guide. After a ring at the 10-bell tower we pressed onwards to the six-bell tower in Meltham and finally to Lindley near Huddersfield before heading home.
click for larger image 12-bell tower of
St Michael,
click for larger image Adam, Chris and
Andrew outside
St Michael's
click for larger image The lads in the
car park of St
George, Mossley
click for larger image Andrew at
St Chad
click for larger image The bulky 10
bell tower
at Marsden
click for larger image Adam and Chris
at the diminutive
Meltham tower
click for larger image Our last stop is
at Lindley near

26th April LACR AGM: Rochdale Branch
8 towers: Todmorden, St Mary (8); Todmorden, Unitarian (8); Walsden (8); Littleborough (8); Milnrow (8); East Crompton (8); Friezland (6); Oldham, Moorside (8)

Showers had been forecast but the day dawned brightly and stayed that way till tea. We skipped Heptonstall as we had all rung there before, and instead headed straight to Todmorden nestled amongst the industrial valleys of Calderdale. St Mary's diminutive tower housed a very nice if light eight, quite a contrast to the lumpier peal at the Unitarian church just down the road, where the tenor was out of action. Onwards to Walsden for a cuppa where we rang some Cambridge Minor with rather springy ropes. Next stop was Littleborough for some Plain Bob and Grandsire Triples before continuing to Milnrow where we managed a tuneful half course of Cambridge Major.
click for larger image Paul and Adam outside
the Unitarian church
click for larger image Paul and Chris at St
James's church, Milnrow
click for larger image Adam and Chris outside
East Crompton's tower

There was no time for lunch on a packed tour as we reached East Crompton with its nice set of eight; after waiting for a few more arrivals we rang a touch of Bob Major. The furthest detour of the day took us to Friezland in Saddleworth for some St Clements. Finally, we headed back towards Oldham to meet up with the rest of the day's ringers at Moorside, which was rather more crowded than the previous seven towers. Absolutely famished, we stopped for a well-earned and much deserved tea in the King's Arms at Grains Bar.

click for larger image The tiny tower
of St Mary's in
click for larger image St Peter's tall
and dark spire
at Walsden
click for larger image Chris and Adam
at St Barnabas,
click for larger image At Moorside,
venue of the
2003 AGM

5th May Yorkshire Association Open Day: Leeds Branch
19 towers: Knottingley (10); Ledsham (3); Sherburn In Elmet (8); Saxton (3); Aberford (4); Wetherby (8); Collingham (8); Kirk Deighton (6); Spofforth (4); Knaresborough (8); Kirkby Overblow (3); Weeton (3); Leathley (4); Beckwithshaw (6); Harrogate, St Peter (8); Harrogate, St Wilfrid (8); Hampsthwaite (3); Birstwith (8); Fewston (4)

Having already been on a Yorkshire Association trip this year, we were eager with anticipation for the next and didn't have to wait too long. Luckily we were blessed with beautiful weather yet again for a trip around nineteen towers on the periphery of Leeds. We arrived at Knottingly and were greeted by a lengthy queue for a ring on the relatively recent peal of ten bells, which would become a familiar site throughout the day. There was no delay as we pressed onwards to Ledsham, our first ever three bell tower and certainly a different experience. The next trio on the itinerary were Sherburn In Elmet where we were briefly left waiting on the roof of the south aisle, Saxton with its medieval ring of three, and Aberford, our first ever four bell tower, where Adam struggled to control the erratic third. A short drive up the A1 brought us to Wetherby and Collingham (two Taylor eights) where we managed some Cambridge and Bob Major, then Kirk Deighton and Spofforth, reputedly the heaviest ring of four in Yorkshire.

click for larger image On the church roof at
Sherburn In Elmet
click for larger image The tower at Collingham
in the spring sunshine
click for larger image Yay! We rang surprise
minor at Kirk Deighton
click for larger image First stop was
the ten bells of
click for larger image The sanctus bell
at Harrogate,
St Wilfrid
click for larger image "Wetherby's
tower has been
on a diet"
click for larger image Paul on the
brass staircase
at Fewston

Without a break we continued to Kharesborough and its unusual tower ingress before heading out of town to three country towers at Kirkby Overblow, Weeton and Leathley (the latter being a four bell tower with more of a rope line than a circle). Veering northwards we stopped off at Beckwithshaw to ring some Little Bob with Yorkshire tails then drove into Harrogate centre. A short wander brought us to St Peter's though we were held up momentarily by a slipped wheel. Crossing the sun-kissed town on foot, we made our way to St Wilfrid's and were amazed by its labyrinthine stairways and passages, the vast yellow ringing chamber, and extremely light ring of bells. Making our way back to the car then back into the countryside, we rang at Hampsthwaite and the ground floor eight at Birstwith. Our final tower of the day at Fewston was probably the strangest of all with its brass spiral steps, anti-clockwise ring of four, and extremely odd struck treble.

click for larger image Adam and Chris ringing
at Spofforth's heavy four
click for larger image A beautiful Bank Holiday
in Knaresborough
click for larger image Chris and Adam Plain
Hunting at Weeton
click for larger image The quaint church of St
Oswald, Leathley
click for larger image Chris and Adam in the
roof space of St Wilfrid's
click for larger image Adam sums up our mood
after ringing at 19 towers

21st June Derby Diocesan Association: Peak District Open Day
30 towers: Buxton, Fairfield (8); Burbage (6); Taxal (6); New Mills (8); Hayfield (8); Dinting Vale (6); Glossop (8); Glossop, Whitfield (8); Chapel-en-le-Frith (6); Castleton (8); Hope (8); Bamford in the Peak (6); Hathersage (6); Eyam (6); Taddington (4); Monyash (3); Bakewell (8); Great Longstone (6); Baslow (6); Edensor (6); Stanton in the Peak (6); Elton (6); Winster (5); Darley Dale (8); Matlock (8); Ashover (10); Brackenfield (6); Clay Cross (6); North Wingfield (8); Scarcliffe (8)

So far this year each ringing trip has encompassed more and more towers, and following our 19-tower grab in May this was no exception! We drove to Buxton on a pleasant summer's evening in search of a campsite. We scouted out a potential spot on the northern fringe of England's highest market town, but what was a marked on the map as the nearest pub turned out to be a residential property up for sale. Pressing on we bypassed the first tower of the next day's outing at Fairfield, which happened to be practicing that night. We eventually found a pitch at Lime Tree Park to the south of Buxton, where we listened to faint sound of Fairfield's bells as we erected the tents and lit the barbecue. Stomach's filled to bursting, we headed into town for a nightcap at the acclaimed Ramsay's Bar.

The day of the outing dawned bright and clear. Striking camp we arrived at Fairfied for 9.10am, twenty minutes early, and were already queuing! Fortunately ringing was underway and after a brief detour we arrived at Burbage dead on time, where the midges were swarming en masse. Seven miles across the beautiful Goyt Valley led us to Taxal where coffee and biscuits were doled out to the patiently waiting ringers. New Mills and Hayfield soon followed with the sun gently baking us in the car. We were beginning to adopt a grabbing mentality: abandon the car as near to a tower as possible and leg it to the church!

click for larger image Camping and cooking at
Buxton the night before
click for larger image The handsome tower of
St Giles in Matlock
click for larger image Cows crossing the road
opposite Edensor church

Next came three towers around Glossop, all of them hard work in their own right, especially the flighty eight at Whitfield that apparently hadn't been rung for a year. Then it was a nine-mile drive down the A624 to the seemingly ancient tower at Chapel-en-le-Frith. As we dashed off, it was looking like we might miss Hope, which started at the same time as Castleton. Caught up in the tourist traffic in one of the Peak's honeypots, we grabbed Castleton as quickly as possible and headed to Hope with little...erm...hope. We left the car in the pay and display and pegged it to the tower; there could only have been five minutes of ringing time left. We were the last three there and had to call on the services of the attendants to muster a course of Little Bob Minor, but we'd done it!

click for larger image Chris and Adam
at Fairfield at
the outset...
click for larger image The tall, spired
parish church
in Old Glossop
click for larger image Old clappers in
the ringing
room at Hope
click for larger image The lofty spire
at Bamford with
its sprung stays

Slightly more relaxed we headed to Bamford where there was still quite a queue. The narrow, tall spire here housed a ring of six light bells with sprung stays and ringing them was an unusal experience to say the least. At Hathersage there was some confusion as to the exact whereabouts of the tower so we left the car at the bottom of a steep hill - running up this felt like slow motion! After a quick grab we pressed on to Eyam then Taddington where, thanks to a spot of rallying, we had managed to jump the queue somewhat. We were finally half way!

click for larger image Paul and Adam
outside Eyam,
St Lawrence
click for larger image Half way point
and Adam is in
need of a rest
click for larger image An ancient
coffin rests in
Monyash's nave
click for larger image Still queuing for
Stanton's bells
after an hour!

The 3-bell tower at Monyash came and went, and we could only manage five at the impressive tower at Bakewell. A spate of 6-bell towers followed and we were briefly delayed en route at Edensor as a herd of cows nonchalantly crossed the road! People were still queuing at the recently augmented Stanton in the Peak with only ten minutes of ringing left, and we were the last band. Rushing to Elton, our grab here consisted of a course of Plain Hunt then ringing down. About a mile down the road, Winster was an anti-clockwise five where the tenor, to quote Chris, sounded like "a tuned bucket".

click for larger image Chris feeling
a tad acrobatic
at Winster
click for larger image Ashover with
its ground floor
ring of ten
click for larger image Paul and Chris
sharing a 200th
tower grab!
click for larger image ...30 towers
later we end up
at Scarcliffe

By this time we were the trailing group, always last to arrive at a tower, usually with only minutes remaining. The 8-bell rings at Darley Dale and Matlock soon slipped by before we reached our first ever ground floor 10 at Ashover, where once again we had to ring down. The recently rehung six at Brackenfield was something of a milestone for Chris and Paul, being their 200th tower grab. The bells at Clay Cross were really rather nice, probably the best of the day. By comparison, those at North Wingfield were hard going, and here - our penultimate tower - we were unduly delayed by a wavering course of Grandsire Triples and the need to ring down, which seemed to take an eternity. We sped off to Scarcliffe over seven miles away, arriving for a last gasp ring with seconds to spare! We were the only people to complete all 30 towers and at each one we all rang together. Certainly an unforgetable day....

5th July Colne's Summer Mini Adventure
4 towers: Bolton-by-Bowland (4); Broughton (3); Rylstone (3); Horton-in-Ribblesdale (4)

A ringer's camping trip to the Yorkshire Dales had been in the pipeline for a while, so Paul hastily arranged a quartet of towers to visit on the way to the campsite. Our first stop was the newest tower in the Blackburn Branch at Bolton-by-Bowland. Contrary to the 2002 LACR Annual Report, four rather than three bells resided here, and they were quite an ecclectic mix, two being over 500 years old and the most recent treble imported from the Isle of Man. A fascinating roller device used to be employed here so that the tenor ringer could actually ring from outside the church during weddings to spot the approaching bride! We continued to the infrequently rung bells at Broughton, near Skipton, where the helpful vicar left us to ring the ground floor three. The ropes here were hung in a straight line against the back wall of the tower, so they could really have been clockwise or anti-clockwise.

click for larger image The slender
tower at Bolton
by Bowland
click for larger image Joanne ringing
the third at Ss
Peter and Paul
click for larger image Andrew outside
All Saints church
at Broughton
click for larger image The little used
tower of St
Peter, Rylstone
A ten-minute drive to the far side of Skipton brought us to another 3-bell tower at Rylstone. After a brief wait for the keys, we made our way up to the large ringing chamber, which was obviously little used judging by the amount feathers, bird droppings and cobwebs in evidence. Nevertheless the bells themselves went quite well bar the odd creak and groan, though they were very loud being hung just above the ringing room. Our final tower was at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, literally a stone's throw from our campsite. We arrived late after being delayed at Rylstone, but luckily the lady who was to open up for us had also been setback, so we reached the tower within a few minutes of each other. The 10 cwt tenor at Horton felt double its weight, though we managed at least half a reasonable course of Bob Minimus. :) Trotting over to the campsite we soon had the tents pitched and settled down to a barbecue expertly cooked by Joanne, followed by a game of boules and a mini pub crawl to cap a day of mini ringing.
click for larger image Chris, Andrew and Adam
ringing St Bart's Surprise
click for larger image Patiently waiting for the
tower keys at Rylstone
click for larger image Camping at Horton over
the road from St Oswald's

26th July Ringing Roadshow: Lincolnshire Showground by Chris Pickup
7 towers: Welton (6); Dunholme (6); Middle Rasen (6); Market Rasen (8); Tealby (6); Caistor (8); Grasby (6)

The day started at 8.00am for a trip to Lincoln. After a slight detour, we arrived at 11.00am and parked up. First of all we had a go on the Lichfield mini ring, for the fifth time, and admittedly Adam's attempt was far better than mine - I lost it on the first stroke! Anyway, after the mini ring we had a look around the main exhibition hall. There were several stalls and stands, and by the time we got to the end of the hall we had already acquired three mini bugs for our collection.

After that it was off to the beer tent (the highlight of the day!) followed by the exhibition tent where there were more stalls and exhibits. I had a go on the plant pot bells, they were fun. It was then time for some dinner as we were both getting hungry, so we sampled the food from the burger stand. Once we had finished our dinner it was time for the aircraft fly past. At about 2.50pm a Hurricane flew pretty low overhead, and 15 minutes later a Spitfire and a Dakota flew by.

By now we decided it was time to head to the first tower at Welton, but when we got there we were an hour too early so we found a pub and stayed there for a while. Once ringing started the boredom was eliminated and the mad rush started - grab a ring and head to the next tower. When we arrived at Dunholme we were ahead of schedule so we took a gentle stroll to the tower. After a ring it was back to the car, a quick look at the map and we were heading to the next tower at Middle Rasen, which was quite a way. Once we got to the town it was a task and a half to actually find the tower which, surprisingly, was at the end of Church Lane beyond several back alleys and small roads.

On to the forth tower of the day at Market Rasen, a nice ring of eight on which we rang the dreaded Grandsire. Next was a light six at Tealby where we rang Plain and Little Bob; the bells weren't that good and the steps were near vertical. The penultimate tower was Caistor, another nice eight, where once again we rang Grandsire. Getting out of the town posed a slight problem, there were roads leading everywhere, but we eventually found the right one leading us to the last tower at Grasby, a lovely ground floor six. We finished the day with Cambridge, which had been Adam's request throughout the day. After that we had the long slog back to Colne, arriving home 280 miles later and very tired. Planning for the next trip now!

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