YCG Ringing Tours

Over the years there have been many ringing tours and outings of YCG.

See below for some reports of past outings of YCG

Manchester 2010

On March 6th 2010, a group of 8 excited YCG members, varying in states of wake, met at York railway station and leapt onto a train to Manchester for this year's Spring Outing. Alice Longden, our outing organiser for the day, claims she made the sun come out; in any case we had gorgeous weather all day, putting everyone in a great mood. The journey passed quickly; far too over excited, the conversation was peppered with laughter and inappropriateness. A bag of fizzy sweets that were being passed around prompted Sam Collard to exclaim at Helen Rickerby that she had "stolen my cherry! Both my cherries!" At Leeds, we were joined by James Ramsbottom, a member of LUSCR, and our own Helen Green.

Our first excitement in Manchester was a ride on the tramline to Victoria (including several photos from Alice Longden of tram tickets!). We walked from here to our first destination, Manchester Cathedral, a 10 bell tower, met with exuberance by all ringers. After a bizarre incident involving steps and an umbrella, we were met outside by Matthew Greenaway, a former YCG member who now rings in Cardiff, and then in the tower by 4 ringers from Edinburgh, including James Sanderson. The first ring of the day went to called changes, my first on 10 bells - slightly intimidating but I survived it well, unflattering photos and all! Afterwards, the more experienced members rang a course of Stedman Caters and some Plain and Little Caters, prompting the comment "Visiting ringers don't usually strike the bells that well." We must have done something right!

Moving on, we walked to Sacred Trinity church in Salford, with 8 bells. Small things pleased us in this tower: a sign was seen that said “Please do not poke the bellringers, they are concentrating very hard!" Naturally, pictures of this were taken, as well as one of an apparently headless Helen Beaumont! As in the cathedral, called changes were rung, alongside a variety of Plain and Surprise methods On leaving the tower, a loose sign naming the church was seen, that (in true first year student style), one nameless member wondered whether we ought to take home as a souvenir!

A bunch of now hungry and thirsty ringers charged back the way we had come, past Victoria station and on to a lovely pub called The Marble Arches Here we all scoffed a variety of dinners, including fish and chips, chicken sandwiches and risottos. Fed and watered (some with beer of course!), we were rushed to our next destination via a train to Ashton-under-Lyne.

Our third tower of the afternoon was St Peter's, another 8 bell tower, which sat on an island surrounded by traffic. The views from the tower were clear and lovely; several members wondered what it was like to ring during a sunset. Here, (a lovely touch of) 8 spliced was rung, along with Plain Bob for those who were improving and, as always, more called changes.

Finally, apart from Charlotte Elkington, who was very eager to run on, we all stumbled off to our final tower of the day, St Michael and All Angels, also in Ashton. This 12 bell tower was a difficult one for me, another challenge, but unfortunately I was too tired to ring well there! Everyone else, however, rose to the occasion and rang rounds on 12 and a nicely-struck bob course of Grandsire Caters, as well as the usual called changes.

We retired to the pub for an hour before catching our trains home; we all sat around weary, but happy! Jokes and beer continued to flow, including the bag of fizzy sweets.

After some photos and spot of impromptu ceilidhing (which was filmed!) on the platform at Ashton, we all staggered, exhausted, onto the train that would take us to Stalybridge, and with a change there, back to York. Unlike the first train journey, this was filled with a few sleeping ringers, including Alice Longden, who insisted on swearing at those who took photos of her!

Exhaustion from the day's ringing didn't stop YCG members looking forward to the curry that awaited us on our return to York. On the walk from the railway station to the curry house, there were several umbrella related innuendos, resulting in Helen Rickerby crying "I don't want to be an umbrella kebab!" Naturally this followed by Alice Longden wondering who was "banging my bum". Collard and his umbrella strike again.

At the restaurant, we were met by other YCG members who hadn't been able to join us on the outing. The rest of the evening went by with chatter and laughter, enjoyed by all. One highlight was blatant eavesdropping upon the speech of a stag do's best man! The stag's equal in volume, we all went home exhausted but happy.

A thoroughly successful outing!

West Yorkshire 2008

At 8:30am on a particularly bitter March morning, a disparate group of ringers known collectively as the YCG stood ready to hit West Yorkshire. An air of mystery hung over the band, desperate to find out both the identity of the YUSU President-elect decided the night before, as well as exactly what was in the cake tin Helen was cradling. The latter realisation hit David Roberts and myself rather hard- we were going to have to be polite to Helen for a whole half-day, at least until the tin was opened.

We bundled into the convoy of cars assembled to deliver us to the West Riding and began leafing through methods. An assortment of six and eight bell towers meant that everyone had something to learn, relearn and learn properly before arriving at our first stop, Barwick In Elmet. A difficult fifth bell proved my personal downfall, as well as a lack of knowledge of Stedman Doubles, though to my recollection other peoples' efforts were more successful. The next tower, a ring of eight in Guiseley, allowed the band to try some of the spliced compositions they had been working on.

Otley's eight bell tower sounded nice, were relatively easy to control, and many went away with a smile. That is, once they had dealt with the slight inconvenience of the 'Yorkshire Knob-end' where a tailend usually sufficed. There was some good ringing, though only after the original hurdle had been overcome and fears put aside. Lunch was spent in The Junction Inn attempting the local ales, giving time for some to reflect on the day so far and others to do some shopping.

One such acquisition, a collection of Disney themed songs, was the accompaniment to our drive onwards to Helen's home tower in Ilkley. With Lilah singing 'Colours of the Wind' as we got out, Helen finally revealed to the group the content of the cake tin- a batch of freshly baked brownies. Ilkley's tower was generally regarded as having some of the best bells rung that day, the only complaint being of the concrete ceiling. As we sped on to Addingham for the final ring of the day, the weather took a turn for the worse, as did the sound of the bells. The best description comes from Lilah, who compared the flighty ring of six as sounding like a calypso drum at best.

By this stage we were all rather tired and the tone was being increasingly lowered- one group of individuals labelling the ringing master 'Ginger' by placing a hastily written sign in the back of his car. We had a little while to get ready before descending on (Lost through the years) for a delicious curry followed by the usual debate on how much we all owed. Naturally the evening didn't end there, and various pubs of York were blessed with our custom as the night progressed, the final cohort of ringers safely tucked up in bed by 3am at the latest. Thanks are due to Helen for organising such a successful outing in a lovely area, and to all those who offered lifts to people.

Ripon 2004

This year's annual outing was to the Ripon area. We assembled bright and early (well - 9-00 and with no obvious hangovers) in one of the university's car parks. Mike Esbester had fetched the minibus and met us there. This year it was a shiny new one, and had plenty of diesel in its tank. Learning from last year's mistakes, evidently...

We were also met by David Potter in his car, and the two vehicles then headed to Aldborough, the first tower of the day. Arriving half an hour early, the more energetic played frisbee on the village green while the not-so-energetic watched. The lovely village, with its green and maypole, attracted favourable comment.

We arrived at the pretty church at the allotted time, and everybody had chance to ring although some of the less experienced found the relatively long draught a little disconcerting. The creaking floor-board under the 5th and tenor was commented on, and an information panel nearby revealed why there were boards here in the otherwise stone floor: the pendulum of the clock comes down from above in a wooden case against the wall and goes into a six-foot-deep pit in the ground. It is the longest clock pendulum in the country, apparently. Somewhat surprisingly, the innuendo opportunities which a long pendulum offered were entirely missed, even by Emma and Maff.

Most of the ringers then headed for the next tower, while I had a look at the Aldborough bells and David Potter waited (anyone want to see my photos of the bells? No, I thought not...). We then joined the others at Kirby Hill, where it was slightly difficult fitting us all into the small upstairs ringing chamber. These are really good bells from the ringer's point of view - they go very well, have a short draught, and sound very clear and distinct in the ringing chamber. I noticed that a couple of ex-Huntington ropes which we donated on a York outing a couple of years ago were still in use. Members of the church were setting up for a church open day and were very friendly, offering us a cup of tea before we left. Time was short though, so reluctantly we had to decline.

Onwards, and to the only eight of the day at Sharow just outside Ripon, where Graham Blackburn joined us for ringing. The climb to the ringing chamber on the second floor caused some grumbles, and the tonal properties of the bells were debated at some length by myself and Graham. The bells go reasonably well, but feel a lot heavier than they actually are.

There was then much discussion about where to go for lunch, and we walked through the back streets of the village to the local pub, only to find that it was closed! More discussion took place as we retraced our steps, and fortunately Kevin comes from the area we were heading for and recommended the Green Dragon at Exelby. A phone call confirmed that they could accommodate us, and we duly headed there. The food was excellent - definitely a pub worth visiting again.

Then on to Burneston. The church was the finest of the day, an impressive largely Perpendicular structure. The bells have something of a reputation throughout Yorkshire, but I have to say that they didn't go anywhere near as badly as I had been led to believe. Their sound is, shall we say, unusual: they are quite noticeably out-of-tune! The learners managed surprisingly well on what was in some cases their first experience of plain bearings.

David Potter then left due to another engagement, and the rest of the group headed for the last tower, Kirby Wiske. I had high hopes of these having ascertained beforehand that apart from two old bells (4th and tenor) they are a complete Taylor job of 1930. I was not disappointed: they are really nice and were the best bells of the day. The long draught and light trebles proved a little off-putting for some, but they learned to cope. Unfortunately some of the ringing was of the end-of-the day type! Group photos were taken here, and after we had finished ringing we headed back to York.

Thanks to Helen Jonas (who couldn't come due to other commitments) and Nicci for organising the outing, Mike for arranging the hire of and driving the minibus, and the ringers at the towers we visited for the use of their bells.

David Bryant

Swaledale 2003

8-50 on a Saturday morning is not a time generally known to students, but on 17th May twelve of us were waiting at the appointed meeting place in York city centre at the appointed time (well - more or less!). The hired minibus was duly collected, and we all piled into it and headed for Richmond, the first tower, accompanied by confidence-inspiring creaks and groans from our vehicle, which was driven by Adam Greenley.

After some difficulty in finding the correct church in Richmond, we arrived there and rang on the only eight of the day, tenor 11 cwt. The anoraks of the party duly noted the old inscribed tenor headstock and some inscribed pieces of frame mounted on the ringing chamber walls. It was discovered that the 7th had a tendency to slip wheel when Rob Lee or I rang it, although it didn't seem to want to do it to anyone else. The suggestion was made that it could possibly be attributed to sloppy handling, which is obviously hard to believe!

Following a brief stop at Richmond market for sustenance, we headed for the pretty village of Grinton. No trouble finding the church here. The 10 cwt six are rung from a large upstairs ringing chamber, which was used for the filming of an episode of All Creatures Great and Small. Having rung, we went across the road to the pub for lunch and a pint (or two, or three..). Then back into the minibus and along the narrow winding lanes across the top of the dale towards the next scheduled tower, Askrigg. However, Askrigg was not to be as a mile or so from our destination the minibus ran out of diesel. Adam had realised that we were low but thought we had enough to get to the next petrol station as the warning light hadn't come on. It was knackered, evidently!

And so we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, blocking the road at the bottom of a hill with a minibus which wouldn't go. While Adam steered, the other eleven of us pushed it backwards up the hill to get it onto a verge out of the way. Have you ever tried pushing a 17-seater minibus us a hill? I don't advise it! Having got it off the road, we asked a couple who had been walking their dog and had just got back to their car nearby how long it would take to walk to Askrigg. Twenty Minutes, apparently, but the nearest petrol station was in Hawes five miles away. However, we were unbelievably fortunate in that they had a can of diesel in the boot of their car, and kindly sold it to us.

Mobile again, we abandoned any idea of ringing at Askrigg and headed into Hawes to get more diesel. We then went on to the next tower, Aysgarth. The 12 cwt six were the heaviest bells of the day, hung on plain bearings. They went well though, and we had some of the best ringing of the day here. A quick look at the Aysgarth Falls (in the rain!) then on to the final tower, East Witton, where we came across the Bishopthorpe ringers who were also on an outing in the area. They'd got the classic Taylor eight at Middleham and we couldn't have them - how dare they! Anyway, we had a ring on the six at East Witton, tenor 7 cwt, where the 5th had a tendency to disappear at backstroke and some of the ropes were so long that ringing while kneeling or sitting on the floor proved easiest for some.

We then headed back to York (without running out of diesel this time!) and returned the minibus. Later, most of us met up again at the university and some people even got very drunk, hard though that will be to believe. One female ringer, who shall of course remain nameless, seemed intent on chatting up every bloke in Goodricke Bar, to the amusement of many onlookers.

Last but definitely not least, thanks to Mike for organising the day, to Adam for driving the minibus along narrow winding lanes and to the towers we visited for the use of their bells.

David Bryant