One of the things I particularly enjoy about the Bogtrotters are the trips away. In the last 12 years I have walked in more places than I would have imagined when I joined, not just Iceland, the Faroes, Bulgaria and Jordan on our trips abroad, but the Elenydd, Knoydart and other wild places in Britain, the mountains of The Lakes, The Peak District , Snowdonia and then our more domestic weekends closer to home at Stow on the Wold, Alfriston and Tanners Hatch to name just a few.
When I first joined the group it was often possible to sign up for a trip more or less a week in advance of the departure date. Often hostels had spare capacity and so a simple phone call could secure an extra place. This is much less true now; often hostels are booked nearly a year in advance. This has meant that this year many of our trips have been to places chosen simply because they were available for late bookings. Our trip to Dinant in Belgium was unfortunate because a core group booked to go but before it could be offered out to other members all the remaining places in the Auberge were taken.
Recently Don led a trip to Cholderton and Salisbury. This was very well attended with 22 people taking part. Some members chose to stay at a Bed and Breakfast. This seemed to be a formula that worked well and so Sue is planning a trip in the spring to Portland in Dorset with places available at Portland YHA and a Bed and Breakfast in Weymouth.
One of the limitations of Youth Hostel accommodation is that the hostels are often closed in the off season and are only available on a rent a hostel basis. This has in the past seemed to be an obstacle. However if we have a core group of about 12 then renting an entire (small) hostel becomes viable. Eila is organising a rent a hostel trip to Street Hostel in the Somerset levels at the end of November and Don has agreed to organise a programme of walks. This also has the advantage that we should be free to take late bookings if new members join and decide they would like to come along.
Don is running a post Christmas pre New Year trip to Shropshire in which accommodation will be shared between the YHA at Bridges and independent Hostels at All Stretton.
Next year Bob will be taking another group to Petra in Jordan. Following our February trip to Tanners Hatch last year I wonder if anyone would be up for a rent a hostel weekend at the end of February to Jordans Hostel near Beaconsfield? (We recently attended a working party there, another is booked in October).
If we booked the entire Auberge we could take 16-17 people back to Dinant in Belgium next year, quite a number of the original group said they would be happy to do it again.
Following Sylv and Sandra’ successful trips to Nidderdale and the Brecon Beacons they are busy investigating other venues.
It should be a good year.