Newsletter Feb 14

This is the latest Newsflash – information and some quick updates from the AGM held on 7 February are included below.

Annual Report and Survey Results

Key points included:

  •  Membership Level being maintained (currently 88)
  • Howard Cruse and Steve Andrews as new members of the Committee
  • There will be a vacancy on the committee arising when John retires on 7 April anyone be interested in helping with social events/holidays would be appreciated
  • Members enjoyed three very good holidays in 2013 at Whitby, Derwentwater and Mayrhofen
  • The completion of the Cambrian Way Challenge – 25 legs over 6 years. Thanks to James Williamson for organising
  • 33 weekend walks took place, excluding holiday walks, but overall a reduction in the number of walkers
  • The biennial review of our Risk Assessment highlighting the need for more care on roads and with cattle in fields
  • The recent walk leader training of Jan Gidman and Ken Pratt with further training of Wendy Scott and Stephen Doubt planned
  • The retirement of Hugh Bray, our Webmaster, replaced by James Williamson who is now working on the redevelopment of the website
  • Some informal comments and the time since our last survey (2004) led to a new survey timed for the AGM with a reasonable response of 32 and 86 comments.


Here are some of the key findings and surprising results from the survey:

  • Over 90% of us like the mix and frequency of walks, suitability of social events, spring/autumn beaks/summer holidays, safety and security on walks, walk briefs, charity walks
  • Nearly everyone had joined to keep fit, for the physical challenge especially hill walking and to meet and socialise with new people, to a slightly lesser extent, for holiday breaks and socialising generally and less popular but still of value to more than 70% of us, to do leisurely walks, to socialise and to do long distance challenges.
  • The most common comments were about club financing (see below), requests for slower red walks, the summer party was missed, weekend breaks/summer holidays were enjoyable but costs were felt to be too high with travel too onerous and whilst safety was ok there was room to improve
  • The question on how the club should be financed showed that 75% of us thought we should stay as we are (through walk fees) but received the highest disagreement of 25% who thought it should change (eg through annual subscription)

So why change? Would it be simpler to administer annual fees and fairer relating to subsidised events? We found some very surprising facts:

  •  2013 AGM subsidy:  25 people: Total £105
  • 84 Different Walkers in 2013
  • 25% walked once        39% walked once or twice
  • 51% did 3 or fewer      76% did 6 or fewer walks
  • The rest would leave a club of only 20 people!

The conclusion drawn is that the club has operated on inclusiveness and simplicity, moving to an annual fee may change this if infrequent walkers decided to stop, it would take time to introduce (new policies/procedures, changing the Constitution and website) but it would also be more risky to balance books as unknown numbers could result in a fee of between £19 and £40! The proposal to stay as we are was unanimously supported.

Walk Fees and Charity Donations

We are continuing with our aim to break even and to help reduce the current surplus. The Weekend Walk Fee has been reduced this year from £6 to £5. The Daily Walk Fee which will now include the Wainwrights is £2. Up to date walk fees are shown below:

  • Daily Walk Fee £2
  • Weekend Walk Fee £5
  • Walk leader out of pocket expenses £20
  • Charity Walk Fee a minimum of £5 with the amount you pay at your discretion. If you cannot walk and wish to make a donation it will be added to the fees collected. Our supported charities are The Stroke Association and Cancer Research


Walks and Walking Statistics

During 2013 there were more walks but fewer walkers:

  • 33 walks had been programmed (rising from 27 in 2012) but the average number of walkers has reduced from an average of 15.5 to 10.2.
  • In response to the survey we are looking into the practicalities of harder (Red and Blue) walks at a slower pace and hope to trial it this year
  • We will also seek to improve pedestrian safety when walks need to include roads.


The Wainwrights

Those people who expressed interest in these have now received information on suggested accommodation for the first two weekends separately and a Wainwright e-mail list has been setup. If you are interested, even in coming along to do alternative walks, and are not on the list, please let Howard and John know so you can be added.

Dates for this year:

9-11 May – Patterdale (Currently 20 booked and will possibly provide a Green Walk each day)

5-6 July – Great Langdale (8 booked.  Accommodation in July may be a struggle to find so the advice is to book as soon as possible or there is the option of camping).

19-21 September – Buttermere (Accommodation should be booked as soon as possible to secure a room. Details have been emailed to the Wainwright email list.

Once you have booked accommodation, please let Howard and John know  where you will be staying and if any non Wainwrighters will be coming along so we can decide if alternative walks should be planned.

Nearer the time we will share information on where everyone is staying and their plans, with those coming to help co-ordinate plans.


Walk Programme

A reminder the latest is available on the Events section of the website.

Other Special Events 2013

Spring Walking Weekend – Selworthy– 25-28 April – 21 booked. Bookings are closed but if you are interested contact Toots

NOTE: For those of you going to Selworthy (now reduced to 19) John will be requesting final payment soon, which is due to be paid by 7 March.

Autumn Walking Weekend – Dolgellau– 10-13 October – 40 booked. Bookings are closed but if you are interested contact Toots

Pyrenees – 22-29 June – accommodation still available


2015 – Walking Weekends

The favoured response to two options for spring was Church Stretton, Shropshire and the response to Coniston in September, so that it can also link into the programme for the Wainwrights, was very popular. Dates and further details to follow.

Your Committee

Howard Cruse – Chair

Steve Andrews – Walk Leader Officer

Nicola Doubt – Treasurer

John Trimble – Treasurer retiring on 14 April

Toots Williamson – Secretary


Launch of new Website

We are taking the opportunity to move our website into the modern era and the development will provide access from desk & laptops, tablets and smart phones. The site is undergoing a final Committee review before being made available.

The new site will continue with the existing information of About Us, Walkers’ Handbook, Leader Resources, Photo Gallery, the Walk Programme and the Walk Brief

New features include –

  • ‘Contact us’ form will be available for outsiders
  • Newsflash
  • Walk brief will have a link to book a walk.
  • Walk brief will provide a google map for the approximate start point of the walk
  • Secure Members area (secured with individual passwords) containing lists of:
    • Committee
    • Members
    • Walk Leaders
    • Member Forum – allowing members to post messages

More details to follow.


Communications from OHWC – Review of Membership List

If you no longer wish to receive communications from the club we can move you from the active members list to archive members list – this will maintain your lifetime membership contact Toots

Cotswolds* Special Discount Event – 6 March – 15:30-18:30

As promised we have another special evening with 20% discount (off of any full priced goods) on 6 March and you can go between 3.30 and 7pm. Stuart the Manager at Cotswolds has asked me to let you know that you can pre-order – just ring the shop – 01244 400204 quote our special discount code AF-OHWG

*The store is located at 82-84 Foregate Street, Chester which is opposite Wilkinsons (there is free car parking in Gorse Stacks Car Park from 3pm). To help them with staffing please email Toots by 27 February if you wish to attend