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All this years BBQ places have now gone.

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Penarth and District Ramblers have lost another of their stalwart members as sadly on 31 May 2018 Val slipped away in hospital after a short illness.

Val HartreyVal was a founder member of the group and soon became a walk leader as well as organising social functions.

In May 1977 she became its Rambles officer, and then in April 2001 turned her talents to leading the group as its Chairman, taking over the reins from Des Nellins which was a task she ably carried out for fourteen years.

After stepping down and handing the chair over to Robin, in October 2015 she became the group secretary, a position she has remained in until now.

She was a very active member of Plaid Cymru, a Vale Councillor and served as a Dinas Powys Community Councillor and juggled the duties of Ramblers whilst carrying out a more important role within the community.

The group are always sad when one of their own is taken, but Val’s legacy will live on and she will be remembered for the contribution she made to the group, not only in its formation but in the years that have followed.

Her funeral will be held at St Peter’s Church, Dinas Powys at 12 noon on Thursday 14 June, when there will be a chance for those who knew her to say a fond farewell.

Our thoughts are with Mike her husband and the rest of her family to whom we send our condolences.

Joy Strangward (Publicity Officer)

On 30 March 1993, an invitation was offered in the press to a public meeting at the Lee Hall in Dinas Powys in order to form a new walking group to fill the space in between the Vale Ramblers and Cardiff Ramblers, taking in Barry, Penarth, Wenvoe, Dinas Powys and Sully, making three rambling groups in South Glamorgan.

It was a tall order and was formulated by Barbara Palmer and some of her pals from Cardiff Ramblers including Norman Slater, Nina Smith and Sheila Shepherd who formed the first steering group after the initial meeting attracted over 100 people.

The proposed new group was named the Eastern Vale Group and a three month walk programme led by members of the Cardiff and Vale groups went into print offering walks at Sennybridge, Brecon Beacons, Llanharan, Barry, Tredegar, Neath Valley, the Heritage Coast and Wenvoe.

It was a huge gamble and there were mutterings during the first six months that the new group which by July had been re-named Penarth and District Ramblers would not reach one year!

Penarth and District Ramblers BadgeBarbara became the Chairman, Geraint Thomas was Rambles Officer and Nic Fogg became its very enthusiastic Publicity Officer due to his journalistic background. He was the one who encouraged the group badge designed symbolically by Joy Strangward. The coastline from Penarth to Barry is shown with the blue of the sea indicating our coastal connection, and the five stones under the waymarker indicate the five areas the group serves. The arrow indicates the fact that OS maps face north and the plain waymarker post is an invitation to cross the stile to see where it leads.

Entering 1994, soon people came forward to lead walks and longer 6-month programmes were produced, nothing like the programmes you see today but it was a start.

The group continued to progress with walk reports in the press and exhibitions around the area to promote walking, plus social events to raise group funds with membership gradually growing.

Nina Smith introduced an ‘Adopt your Footpath’ scheme where members walked their chosen footpaths twice a year and reported any faults, whilst Barbara took members out on ‘fossicking ‘trips clearing local footpaths.

In 1995 when The Ramblers celebrated their Diamond Jubilee by walking the whole of the coastline of Wales, the group were honoured to be part of this achievement and a scroll was made with calligraphy from Joy Strangward and a message from Alan Howard, which was passed on and read out at the start of every walk both in the North and South of Wales.

Over the years there have been comings and goings on the committee with very positive leadership from Barbara, Des Nellins, Val Hartrey and our present Chair Robin steering the group onwards.

But the one person who steadfastly remains, his name was on the first committee formed and is still there, is our own Geraint Thomas who today is still as enthusiastic, hard-working and knowledgeable in his position as our Footpath Officer and deserves great praise.

We as a group must thank not only the hard working committee but especially our walk leaders who give their time and expertise for free and produce some fantastic walks for everyone to enjoy, without them we simply would not exist.

As we begin our 25th Anniversary year, which is also the Year of the Sea, I think you will agree that the next 6-month spring and summer programme is brilliant with its huge variety of walks that should interest everyone.

The 30th March 2018 marked the group’s 25th Anniversary and to celebrate there were two walks which attracted 41 people in all despite the threat of rain and a delicious lunch at the Blue Anchor in East Aberthaw for a group of 50.

The group extend their thanks to the Blue Anchor for their hospitality and James the Head Chef and his team for the delicious meals and fast and efficient service, making this a very special day.

So Happy Birthday Penarth and District Ramblers, long may you continue and all for the love of walking!

Joy Strangward
March 2018 (Publicity Officer)

Jan & John’s walk Daffodil Walk has been cacelled due to the weather. It will now take place on the 10th March replacing Joy’s walk in the Wye Valley. Meet at Barry Dock Railway station car park at 09:30am.

Walkers come together upon losing one of their own and sadly this is the case with the recent sudden loss of Barbara Elizabeth Ann Palmer without whom Penarth and District Ramblers would not have been founded in the first place.

Hirwaun Common - BarbaraBack in 1993 Barbara along with some of her walking buddies from Cardiff Ramblers decided to try and form a new Ramblers group to cover Barry, Penarth, Sully, Wenvoe and Dinas Powys and after a public meeting was held at the Lee Hall in Dinas Powys on 30 March that year, the new group was formed under the title of the Eastern Vale Group, which soon became Penarth and District Ramblers.

Without doubt a lot of thanks are owed to the Cardiff leaders who readily led walks at the start as the new group were inexperienced both in the running of a group and in leadership, but that soon changed.

Barbara became the group Chairman until 1996 when she became footpath officer, a role which fitted her perfectly as she, the new Chairman Des Nellins and publicity officer Nick Fogg were becoming increasingly concerned about the state of the footpaths within the Vale of Glamorgan, many of which were totally unwalkable. Following this with Barbara’s help Valeways was formed, whose object is to promote and protect the public rights of way in the glorious Vale of Glamorgan and she became a Trustee. In the same year she began a series of path clearing walks with our group which she called ‘fossicking’ that often ended with lunch at the pub!

Barbara was something of a private person and preferred to carry out her recceing of walks alone, but she was a great lover of walking which she enjoyed sharing with others and had many spectacular holidays in remote locations, because of her interest in history and archaeology.

Those amongst us who have been members since the start will remember the great contribution Barbara made over the years including weekends away at Aberystwyth and Bala when she took the group up over Snowdon. She also led the group on a series of planned walks around the whole of the Gower Peninsula and around the long distance Valeways Millennium Heritage Trail, which opened in 2001 and which she helped to compile, along with a variety of map reading and compass trips. It is extremely sad to think that Barbara will not be joining the group in celebrating their 25th anniversary in March of this year which she would have loved.

Many of us over the years will have joined Barbara on her walks which were not only local but took in most of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Carmarthen Fans, Afan Argoed, the Sirhowy Valley, Rhymney Valley, Rhondda Valley, Neath Valley, Abercynon, Gnoll Park, Twmbarlwm, Ogmore Vale, Blackmill, Usk, Avebury, Margam, Rudry and Vaynor just to name a few of the interesting places she liked to visit.

Her recent short funeral was a Humanist led farewell as she was not a believer that had been pre-planned by her. With two lovely passages from Shakespeare and two pieces of classical music culminating in the stirring ‘Nimrod’ from the Enigma Variations, this very simple but moving goodbye, made to order with no frills was so typical of Barbara.

Our condolences are sent to her family on their sad loss, but this lady who has hung up her boots for the very last time will never be forgotten because of her total commitment to the love of walking.

Robin will lead a walk of 8.5 miles in the central beacons, graded Moderate/Hard. It will start from just near the Storey Arms, follow the Beacons Way to the top of Graig Cerrig Gleisiad and thence Fan Frynych, returning via Carno Woods and Y Gyrn. Meet Penarth Leisure Centre at 9.00 am.

Due to heavy rainfall with more to come this Sunday’s walk will now be around Barry and be about 5 miles in distance. Meet at Barry Dock Railway station car park at 10am.

Rachel has cancelled this walk due to the forecast for heavy rain and strong winds.

Extra Walk 22 October

On Sunday 22, meet 10am at Barry Dock Railway Station car park at Vale Council Dock Offices for a 6-mile moderate walk taking in the Valley of Stags at Llancarfan; contact Sheila V on 07932 523 415.

Changes to two walks

Sunday 17 September
A reminder that providing the weather looks OK (!), the walk Robin will be doing this Sunday is the walk originally planned for Sunday 10th September – a ridge walk in the Black Mountains to Rhos Dirion, over to Twmpa, down to Capel y Ffin, and then back up and over to Mynydd Du. This is 12 miles with nearly 3000 ft ascent and graded Strenuous… But if the weather cooperates, there will be outstanding views!

Saturday 23 September
Joy will now lead her Mitchel Troy walk will that was planned for the 24th on the 23rd instead.