Holmer Tower Outing (July 16th 2011)

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On a very wet and grey morning, everyone made his or her way to meet at Holmer Church Centre for a 9 O’clock departure.  Coats and umbrellas were the order of the day but this didn’t dampen our spirits with the excitement of the day ahead. 

Mike was to be our driver for the day and, as we got underway, we realised just what a task he had ahead due to the volume of surface water on the A49.  Despite this he steered us safely towards our first tower, even coping with detours to Stoke Prior and Leominster to collect more members of our party.  

Before long we arrived at our first tower, Richards Castle.  This beautiful church has a ring of just one!  A rather large (41-2-5) and impressive sounding bell.  The rope consisted of two Sallys and, although could be rung by just one person, often had one of us on the hand sally and one on the tail sally.  A must see was the bell in its chamber which, after scaling near vertical ladders, allowed us the opportunity to stick our fingers in our ears for safety due to the noise!  It was difficult to think why the church only had one bell but, when you see its location on the side of the valley and hear the deep slow ring that it produces, you can soon imagine people being called to church from far and wide. 

Soon we headed towards our next stop, Ludlow and I am pleased to report that the rain had stopped.  Indeed, we actually saw sunshine!  We made our way to Ludlow Church, not far from the famous Castle, and were faced with the climb to the ringing chamber.  Mike reliably informed me that there are 137 steps (I hope I remember that correctly!).  I was sure that the tower got narrower and the steps smaller but this may just have been altitude sickness!  The tower has a ring of ten (16-2-16) but in the ringing chamber the bells were quite quiet.  Only when the door was opened for ventilation (it had got very warm after the climb) could we truly appreciate the bells.  In fact, the non-ringers in the church below commented after that they had not heard the bells and wondered if we had started at all. 

No matter, because the next stop was The Church!  I mean of course the public house version.  Lunch had been pre-ordered and was accompanied by a wonderful selection of drinks. 

We made our way back to the mini-bus bathed in sunshine.  It really was quite a contrast to the start of the day and gave us wonderful views across the valleys and hills as we made our way to Cleobury Mortimer to enjoy a ring of six (12-0-0).  The spire of the church is what first drew our attention due to its twisted nature.  A point of note is that this tower is used to name a local brewer’s ale.  Just as this beer does not disappoint, neither did the bells that we found to be a delightful ring. 

Our final stop of the day was Tenbury Wells which gave us another ring of six (10-0-11).  This was a very busy church due to preparations for what looked like the town band’s birthday celebrations taking place that evening.  The church itself had raised seating at the back and it was from this that we found the steps to a very small ringing chamber.  For those that could not fit in, the evening rehearsal was a great distraction.  The bells themselves were again a delight and I believe that we all got on well. 

Before long we had to make our return journey to Holmer. Great thanks are due to Mike for doing an excellent job of driving the mini-bus in some very difficult situations.  Also, thanks must go to Karen and Dave for choosing an excellent mix of towers that were just about bearable for the novices amongst us and sounded delightful when our more experienced team members took hold.  

Dave and Karen would like to thank all the other ringers who joined us during the day. 

Kevin Johnson

L to R; Anne, Karen H, Karen P, Celia, Wendy (hidden), Joe, Keith, Jen, Ken, Kevin, Sally, Mike, Dave, June, Alex, Pam.