The first meeting of 2018 was opened by Chairman His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson at 1030 a.m., wishing everyone a Happy New Year and with six apologies having been offered. He paid tribute to the organisational skills of Programme Secretary John Taylor and his wife Margaret in arranging the splendid Christmas Lunch at the Ascot House Hotel in December which also raised £280 for two charities. A very nice acknowledgement from the Girl Guides Association in connection with their donation to the extensive refurbishment programme at Birk Crag had been received. The Chairman’s first well received anecdote of the New Year related to a recidivist miscreant in the dock at the Old Bailey receiving a legal aid provided “Rolls Royce” service from his defending and distinguished Q.C. with the Judge pointing out, if found guilty, he was likely to be served a “Rolls Royce” sentence!!

Programme Secretary John Taylor took to the floor briefly to update members on the following:

–Under “Calendar of Meetings” on March 20th Terry Byrne’s Talk should be entitled “South African Journey”.

–Mrs Phyllis Coggan, widow of Ray Coggan,(former Secretary) had sent a letter thanking the Forum for remembering her husband but also offering the Programme Secretary some constructive criticism on his choice of Speaker at a previous Open Meeting!!

–Sadly John had to offer short tributes to a member, Robert Bradwell, who died last month and also a former member and his long time next door neighbour , Harold Dawson, who had also passed on.

Today’s Speaker saw the return of Mr Roger Oldfield, former Programme Secretary at Harrogate Men’s Forum, with his talk topic “From Sea to Shining Sea”. He advised that his title had been appropriated from the lyrics of the song “America the Beautiful” although his speech would traverse from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, a Walk Across England or more specifically the “Coast to Coast Long Distance Walk” originated by Alfred Wainwright. At the age of 23 Wainwright went on a walking holiday in the Lake District, fell in love with the area, and spent the rest of his life devoted to walking, writing and illustrating his beloved Lakeland Fells.

The Coast to Coast Walk covers 193 winding miles across three National Parks starting at St. Bee’s on the west coast and finishing at Robin Hood’s Bay on the east side. Along the way we were taken to numerous places including Ennerdale Bridge, Grasmere, Patterdale, Reeth, Richmond Glaisdale and Grosmont amongst others. The three National Parks taken in were the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors. We learnt about some of the history of the places passed on the route; heard about Cumberland Pencils in Keswick; William Wordsworth’s attachment to Grasmere and the Grasmere Gingerbread made to a secret recipe and still sold there. Notable architectural features were pointed out on Castle’s, Church’s, and Abbey’s as well as landmarks and geographical features in the various dales and fields along the walk. The highly interesting and informative presentation was supported by extensive slides illustrating the route covered and was appreciated by an interested and attentive audience with questions raised at the talk’s conclusion.

The Vote Of Thanks was given by Keith Wadd on behalf of the forty attendees.



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