Summer 2009 Tour - South-East NottinghamshireFriday 4 - Sunday 6 September
A preliminary tower list is shown below:
Friday 4 September 2009
Saturday 5 September 2009
Sunday 6 September 2009
When? 4th - 5th September. Who? Dedicated members of SUGCR. Where? Deepest, darkest Nottingham. Well, Cropwell Bishop to be exact. Yes, it was time for the annual summer tour of the Sheffield Universities' Guild of Change Ringers. The towers had been chosen, the route planned, and as we pulled into the car park of Cropwell Bishop Memorial Hall where we would be staying, there was the feeling of a good weekend ahead.
Our first port of call was the church at Cropwell Bishop, just a few minute's walk down the road from the hall. Although we were a little short on numbers initially, with some people stuck in traffic, we wandered down to get warmed up. After a momentary glitch, we were allowed entry and, with the help of a local ringer, rang some doubles while waiting for others to arrive. This pause allowed for some much needed catching up of members' activities over the summer, and soon enough the stragglers arrived. With this increase in numbers, we were able to ring a range of things, from called changes to surprise minor. However, with many of us having travelled a fair way that day, hunger soon set in, so it was off to get some much needed sustenance in the form of fish and chips, as well as a bottle or two of wine or beer. It was then back to hall to gorge on our feast, kick back and relax, and, maybe, play with some dominoes (we are now youtube stars!).
An early start on Saturday was required to get through the day's ringing; however, some fried eggs and bacon butties made it more than pleasant. The first stop was at Hickling, a 10cwt ring of 8. We made a good job of these, with some called changes and plain bob triples, but it was the back 6 that took our fancy when we rang a touch of bob minor � possibly one of best pieces of ringing on the tour. Next was the 17cwt 8 of Long Clawson. Rumours of difficult bells had been circulating about this tower and it's best to set the record straight here: yes, a 30ft draft with no guides makes good technique an absolute necessity; however, no, this is most certainly not one of the worst rings ever. Once they were up, they rang well very well, and were most enjoyable. We were joined at this point by Ellen Dew and Christopher Crabtree from Durham University, and this meant we were able to get half a course of Yorkshire among other things. Our last stop before lunch was at the 6cwt 6 bell tower at Willoughby on the Wolds. Here, we were joined by Sue Burchell, our Guild President, whose support was greatly appreciated. Now we were in full force, it was time to blow away the cobwebs and start stretching our ringing brains. A warm up for this was some Norwich S Minor, as well as touches of plain bob minor, and the start of the game of "how many doubles methods can we splice together". In this first round, 4 were achieved. Having worked up an appetite by this time, we retreated to the excellent Plough Inn at Normanton on the Wolds, where we able to re-fuel for an exciting afternoon. There was no post-lunch haze on this tour, with a touch of London S Minor and, after some speedy learning, a course of York S Minor at the very easy going 6cwt 6 at Keyworth. The spliced doubles game continued, this time managing to splice together 7 different methods/variants. A heavy 16cwt 6 bell tower, this one at Plumtree, was our next stop. Once again, some speed learning was required for a course of Annable's London, which was thrown in between the usual called changes, doubles and bob minor. Our last destination of the day was Cotgrave, a modern looking 17cwt 8 bell tower. Maintaining the momentum of good ringing established throughout the day, we concluded with a course of Bristol S Major and some Cambridge and Yorkshire spliced. All in all, a very satisfying day's ringing.
We bade Sue a farewell after this, as she had a long way to travel back home. The rest of us retired to the Chequer's Inn back at Cropwell Bishop, for a drink and a meal, cooked by a man who proudly informed us that all his culinary skills were learned from ready, steady cook. Having had our fill, we went back to the slightly less intimidating atmosphere of the hall, and having said our good byes to Ellen and Christopher, and after another drink or two� or three, got some well earned rest.
Our final call on the tour was Sunday Service ringing at our Chair's local tower of Bingham. This ring of 8 was probably the hardest work we had had to put into ringing this weekend, however very satisfying when we got them going. We finished off the tour with a very respectable service touch of bob minor. After that, we headed back to the hall to finish clearing up before heading off to our respective areas of the country.
This tour showed the high quality of ringing that SUGCR are able to pull off, especially when supported, and as such our thanks go to Ellen Dew, Christopher Crabtree and Sue Burchell who was able to represent the many alumni who were unable to come. Thanks must also go to our Chair, Sarah Green, whose masterful organisation and coordination resulted in an extremely successful tour that was enjoyed by everyone.
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