Holmer and Friends Tower Outing - Saturday 27th June 2015     More Photos

On a bright summer morning we all arrived early at Holmer Church eagerly looking forward to a day of ringing and friendship. Our journey was to take us into God’s Own Country – Wales - and who better to be our chauffeur for the day than Karen. We set off in convoy with Karen driving the mini bus and Des following in her car. There were 20 in the party 17 of whom were Ringers.

Our first church was St Gwendoline set high up in the small market town of Talgarth, Powys, in the beautiful Brecon Beacons. The 15th C six bell tower, reached by stairs, was well maintained. Here we started simply with Rounds, Call Changes and Plain Bob before progressing onto Spliced Doubles. There was no “Starbucks” in the town for a coffee break but the nearby loo’s were free!

We then moved on to St Michael’s Church, Cwmdu, overlooking a valley in the Black Mountains. It was a light and airy church with a ground floor ring of six. The tower base is pre 15th C. Here we continued ringing the basics interspersed with Spliced Plain, Little and Cambridge Minor. Sadly as we left we hadn’t time to stop to join the bikers who had congregated outside the local pub!

Our next stop was St Peter’s Church, Llanbedr set on the edge of the Black Mountains high above Crickhowell. There is a memorial in the church for the crew of a Boeing Flying Fortress which crashed returning from a bombing mission over France in 1943. At this six bell tower we rang Grandsire, Stedman and Waterloo Surprise Minor.

Fortunately lunch was also on our agenda and where better to eat than “The Bear” in Crickhowell. This is an old coaching inn with a cobbled forecourt and a 19th C stagecoach timetable at the bar. The place was packed but luckily we had already booked so we all sat down to an excellent meal, with very efficient service. Afterwards some of our party strolled around the shops while others bought ice cream and cakes.

Fully refreshed we moved down over the River Usk to Llangattock to ring at St Catwg’s Church, a trip down memory lane for me. My Grandmother lived next door in the Village Farm House consequently I spent my holidays here until I was about 17. We parked the mini bus in her old orchard, passed through the lych gate and had our group photo taken outside the church. On display inside were ankle stocks and a whipping post, although there is no truth in the rumour that they were used for Ringers who failed to stand their bell! The tower is the oldest part of the church dating back to the 12th C. In the ground floor ring of eight, Rounds, Plain Hunt and Grandsire Triples were successfully rung.

Our final church was St Ellyw at Llanelly, the parish Church of Gilwern, situated on a hillside. To reach it Karen had to drive for 1 ½ miles up a very narrow road with no turning places. Luckily the only thing we passed was a horse and rider! The churchyard has several 700 year old yew trees while inside the church there were two beautiful stained glass windows. During our final ring, comprising of six bells, Cambridge Surprise Minor was rung and Spliced Waterloo and Cambridge attempted.

Our day ended safely back in Holmer with everyone very satisfied with their ringing efforts. Thanks must go to Dave and Karen for once again organising this outing, choosing some lovely churches with great views, and making sure that everyone had the opportunity to ring to their own strengths.

Finally a big thank you to Karen who proved that lady drivers really can park a mini bus in the most of awkward places!

Pam Owen

Group 2015
Left to right; Mary, Robert, Bronwen, Andrew, Des, Mick, Carrie, Karen P, Dave, Ruth, Hayley, Karen H, Kevin, Martin, Alex, Ken, Mike, Pam, Sally and George