This year was a quiet one for us in relation to the past couple where some of us went tower-grabbing mad! Two of us ventured out around Yorkshire again in March then everything went rather off the boil until October and the Joint Branch outing. The last trip of the year in December took in an expanse of Yorkshire from Hull to York. Nevertheless, we've been to some interesting towers and the usual reports and photographs can be seen below.
 
28th March Jennifer Johnson's "Last of the Yorkshire Pudding" Tour
10 towers: Huddersfield (10); Batley (8); Drighlington (8); Idle (8); East Ardsley (8); Horbury (8); Emley (6); Shelley (6); Ossett (12); Featherstone (3)

Only two of us could make it on this trip around ten towers scattered around the suburbs of the industrial heartland of West Yorkshire. An hour's drive over the Pennines brought us to Huddersfield with it's nightmare one-way system and ring road. We eventually fould somewhere to park within earshot of St Peter's, a lofty yet slender tower which belies the ring of ten within. Quite a number of folk were crammed into the small ringing room and after a quick busrt of Plain Bob on the tricky bells we left the rest to it. Glad to be out of town and the building traffic, we headed off to the interested old church at Batley. The next stop at Drighlington brought us to a broad tower set off the main road where the ringing chamber was huge! At Idle on the fringe of Bradford a nice peal of eight lent itself to some pleasant ringing.
 
click for larger image The tall tower
of St Peter's in
Huddersfield
 
click for larger image At Batley we
rang at this
unusual church
 
click for larger image We rang some
Cambridge Major
at Horbury
 
click for larger image Ossett's large
church with its
ring of twelve
 

After a quick bite to eat from a local corner shop (no time for a pub lunch on this tour!) we rang at two completely contrasting eight-bell towers, one being a tall sooted up church is a very pleasant setting, the other a small, spired town church in a less than pristine state. Next on the agenda was Emley, somewhere we had rung before, memorable for it's nice ground floor ring and also the nearby Emley Moor 1084ft concrete TV mast. Shelley, back near Huddersfield, was another nice six-bell tower. Ossett was complete change of a scenery being an almost cathedral-sized builing with a substantial tower to accommodate its twevle bells; once we'd found the ringing chamber we stayed for some simple rounds and calls. The last tower of the day before the long drive home was on the other side of Bradford at North Featherstone, a three-bell tower where we were almost the last to ring.

 
click for larger image Adam ready to head up to
ring at Drighlington
 
click for larger image Paul at Emley with the TV
mast behind (see 2001)
 
click for larger image Back near Hudderfield Adam
poses at Shelley, Emmanuel
9th October Joint Blackburn & Preston Branch Outing: The Wirral
6 towers: Liscard (8); Wallasey, St Hilary (6); Wallasey, St Nicholas (8); Bidston (6); Bebington (8); Rock Ferry (6)

Despite its faily close proximity, none of the Colne band has done much ringing in and around Merseyside, but we came pretty close on this occasion. A sunny day dawned as we started the motorway run to Liverpool, passing Goodison Park and under the Mersey via Wallasey Tunnel to The Wirral. Although this part of the world is directly opposite Liverpool it is part of Cheshire as far as the ringing world goes. Chris started the day as he meant to go on at the first tower, when someone asked him what he would like to ring he replied "Coffee, please!" Nevertheless, we all managed to get through a half course of Cambridge Surprise Major on the ground floor ring. The second tower, St Hilary's, was set on a hill overlooking Liverpool Bay and had within its cemetery the oldest structure in Wallasey, the Tudor Tower.
 
click for larger image Waiting around to ring
at St Mary's, Liscard
 
click for larger image Chris alongside the sign he
didn't read on the way out!
 
click for larger image The patriotic St Hilary's with
a glimpse of the sea beyond
 

Heading across town to the church of St Nicholas very close to the north Wirral coast, we stopped off for a brief wander along the rather desolate promenade. From the ringing room at St Nicholas there was a great view of the sea too. We had an hour or two to spare before the next tower so we had lunch in Liscard after making a hasty retreat from the first venue we tried in New Brighton. We ate with Brian and Matt, two other local ringers from Padiham, who were also on the tour. With our stomaches filled we were ready for some Cambridge Minor at the small tower of St Oswald, Bidston, quite a light ring of six.

 
click for larger image Liscard basking
in the morning
sunshine
 
click for larger image St Nicholas's is
a stone's throw
from the sea
 
click for larger image The tower at
Bidston had a
village feel
 
click for larger image The clouds loom
over the tower
at Bebington
 

The last couple of towers were futher south down the Wirral peninsula. At Bebington we rang some Plain Bob while others attempted a half course of Superlative. The final stop of the day was at Rock Ferry, where everyone arrived up to half an hour early but the local ringer was late so we had a 45 minute wait. Whilst hanging around, Chris virtually insulted the tour organiser, albeit unintentionally! Another blast of Cambridge and we were on our way back, this time driving through the Birkenhead Tunnel (when we eventually found it) and home via the M62 and Ikea (where Chris had a bad experience with a cactus!).

 
click for larger image Adam and Chris pose along
the Wallasey promenade
 
click for larger image Adam, Brian and Matt ring
Plain Bob at St Nicholas
 
click for larger image Paul and Chris wait to ring
at Bebington, St Andrew
4th December York Christmas Lights Tour
12 towers: Hessle (8); Walkington (6); Market Weighton (8); Goodmanham (3); Hayton (3); Escrick (13); Bishopthorpe (6); York, Marygate (6); York, St Wilfrid (10); York, North Street (8); Huntington (8); York, St Laurence (8)

Following an early start on a cold, clear Saturday, we were soon skirting Bradford and picking up the M62 east. We caught sight of the impressive Humber Bridge once we'd left the motorway and arrived at our first tower, Hessle, on the fringes of Hull. Here we found somewhere to park and headed inside (after spotting the only open door on the fourth attempt!) to meet up with the other ringers and had a bash at Grandsire and Yorkshire on the pleasant ground floor eight. We made a brief detour for a closer look at the Humber Bridge before heading northwards for a quick grab at Walkington. Next port of call was the interesting eight at Market Weighton where we took the chance to nip into town and scoff a pasty or two (spicy chicken flavour...mmmm).
 
click for larger image We stopped to look at the
Humber Bridge near Hessle
 
click for larger image Chris ringing Cambridge
at Walkington, All Hallows
 
click for larger image Hayton's 3-bell tower where
we fluffed Stedman Singles!
 

After our elevensies we drove a couple of miles to Goodmanham, a three-bell tower with a Mallaby frame and apparently quite a rare grab. Rod Bickerton, the tour organsier, was completely gobsmacked at the lack of movement in the frame - he was descending the belfry ladders clad in a boiler suit as we arrived. We raised the bells then continued west to Hayton, another three-beller, where we were first on the scene and had a peek at the newly refurbished bells up three steep flights of stairs. Next stop was at Pocklington though we needed to wait for a wedding to finish before we could ring. Here Alan Birney, a ringer from Whalley whose trips we have been on before, tried to twist our arms about ringing a quarter peal at the final tower of the day! We bought lunch from another bakers while waiting, in vain as it turned out because the bride was 25 minutes late and we had to press on. It was a relief to leave the chaos behind and get back on track at Escrick, a fairly new ring of 13 bells that used to hang in Birmingham, St Martin, where we managed some Plain Hunt Cinques and Maximus.

 
click for larger image Sun shining on
Hessle's tower
bright and early
 
click for larger image Market Weighton
(with Rod the
organiser in grey)
 
click for larger image The newly rehung
tenor in the
belfry at Hayton
 
click for larger image Chris meditating
before we rang
the 12 at Escrick
 

The remainder of the day was spent in or near York with its abundance of towers. First we were at Bishopthorpe south of the city where we attempted London Minor but it broke down about half way. Fifteen minutes later we parked up at Marygate and had a stroll around York (looking for the toilets!) and popped into another local bakers for supplies. Alan kindly bought us a pint in the Minster Inn over the road from St Olave's, our initial city centre grab. Next we ventured closer to the Minster, where a band was expertly ringing as usual, to ring at St Wilfrid's Catholic church. Here we rang Grandsire Caters and had to leave them stood at backstroke which we all managed first time! Nipping over the river we rang a All Saints, North Street and should have visited the Spurriergate Centre but for the nativity scene being in the way! We drove a few miles north to Huntington, where we rang another course of Yorkshire Major, and ended an enjoyable day just outside the city walls at St Laurence's where we rang up and bid farewell before serious quarter attempts got underway!

 
click for larger image St Andrew's, Bishopthorpe,
not the place for London!
 
click for larger image It's a busy afternoon in York
not just for Xmas shopping
 
click for larger image Other members of the visiting
group ringing at North Street
 
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