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Tribute to Bronte

BronteToday marks the end of an era because three weeks before her 16th birthday my beautiful Bronte lost her battle and passed away after a short illness. She was the only female in a litter of six and became the exact replica of her father Bud in appearance and mannerisms and soon settled in after being schooled by Tuffi who mothered her.

Initially bred as hunting dogs to go fox hunting, she had all the attributes of a Jack Russell Terrier. She was feisty, fearless, athletic, agile, outgoing, intelligent, courageous, affectionate (except to fluffy white dogs and sheep) completely fearless, totally independent and made a fine, if not hard to control companion.

She was typical of her breed, would chase anything that moved which was down to her hunting instinct and if commanded to do something, would add it to the long list of other things and do it when she felt like it.

BronteShe was socialised by coming on walks with the group and her nickname of ‘Little sod’ fitted her. Ask anyone who knew her and they will always tell you a story about how naughty she had been – in all honesty I could write a book!!

Like the time – on a walk at Vaynor, opposite the church there used to be a tavern and somehow Bronte found a huge catering kitchen roll at the top of the hill and did her Andrex puppy impression by rolling it downhill and scattering it everywhere. Whilst everyone was falling about laughing, it took me 15 minutes to gather together all the bits……….
Or the time – at the end of a recce at Mitchel Troy, with Ann and Nick, when she suddenly disappeared underneath a huge tree in the car park by the church. Making no noise at all I was becoming very concerned and after about 20 minutes of trying to coax her out I was just about to go and knock a door and request a shovel, when Ann spotted her nose. Luckily I had my secateurs and made a hole big enough under the tree to put my arm in and yank her out and the best thing … she would have run straight back and disappeared again if I had let her.

She very much disliked sheep and was as her breed commands very vociferous in her hatred yelping and howling her displeasure when they were spotted. I had to be about 3 miles ahead of her when we were out walking so I could put her on the lead at the appropriate time, which sometimes did backfire.

On a walk in the Taff Fechan valley she managed to find the only sheep on our side of the river, which ran straight into the river before scrambling out onto the opposite bank. Bronte however did not come out of it so lucky; the river was in full flood, moving fast on its journey down the valley and she was swept along for a huge distance bouncing off the rocks until she came to land on a narrow piece of rock which lay underneath a big overhanging shelf, which made it impossible to get to her. So I had to hang over the edge of a rock a little further downstream with someone hanging onto my feet so I didn’t fall in, whilst attempting to cajole her into jumping back into the water so I could catch her. It took patience and time but in the end she trusted me enough to jump in and I managed to successfully grab her like a trapeze artiste and haul her to safety, glad she was safe but at the same time wishing I could murder her!

She would disappear into woods, under bushes and into rabbit holes when the hunting instinct became too much and all I could do was sit and wait until she appeared, totally unabashed and with no sense of remorse.

BRONTE 13.5.2004- 22.4.2020There are so many more stories to be told of my little hero who wasn’t afraid of anything or anyone but was so loyal. She was simply my guiding light, faithfully by my side through thick and thin, laughter and tears and when I was ill she went into full ‘nursie’ mode, giving me a lot of attention and support until she felt I was better.

There is now a gaping hole for Bracken and I because she is missing forever and it hurts. But her energy, vitality and spirit is forging its way through the big blue yonder and that is my comfort.

Fly free my warrior but please know you will be sorely missed xxxxxx

Joy Strangward, Publicity Officer
22.4.2020

Unfortunately due to the weather warning for this weekend, this Saturday’s walk at Clytha has been cancelled and has been rescheduled to Sunday 23rd of February.

First the cancellations – Sunday 9th and Saturday 29th February walks have been cancelled.

Tuesday 11th February walk will start from Wenvoe Church at 10am and not St Nicholas as previously advertised.

Clive is adding an extra walk to our Winter programme. Cwmwernderi Reservoir from Garwen Afan Forestry Car Park. Distance is about 8.5 miles and a grade of Moderate. Meeting point is Cogan Leisure Centre at 09:00 to car share to start point.

Join Joy at Redbrook Crescent (above Jacksons Bay), Barry Island for an 8 – 11 mile walk depending on underfoot conditions. Meeting time 10am.

A tribute to Nick Fogg

Penarth and District have lost yet another stalwart member from its early days as apparently Nick was on his way to New Zealand to celebrate his 70th year and on a stopover at Bali he sadly passed away.

Nick Fogg in 1993Nick was the group’s first publicity officer when it formed back in 1993 and despite the fact that he had changed careers and was then a very caring and busy social worker; his previous journalistic background came to the foreground as he had contacts with all the major newspapers.

His flair for publicity was immense and infectious and in the early days in order to get the news out about the newly formed group Barbara Palmer, Sue Paterson (Sue 2) who was our unofficial photographer and myself worked very closely with Nick, producing photographs and information about the group and borrowing display boards that were carted around to various venues, where the activities of the group were put on display in order to gain new members. I am not too sure it was very successful but at least we tried and it was fun!

Nick’s life was very full and he was always in a rush, even when writing about group walks for the press, he would burn the midnight oil and be slaving away at his article the night before the deadline, but it always turned out perfectly. He wrote some great articles often about problems encountered on a walk and also highlighting the state of the public footpaths closer to home.

In 1996 Barbara, Nick and Des Nellins who became chair of the group were very concerned about the footpath network in the glorious Vale of Glamorgan and as a result of their efforts, together with other like-minded people, Valeways came into being which over the years has benefitted all walkers.

Apart from taking care of publicity until 1996, Nick also led walks when he could spare the time to places such as Worms Head and Gower, Carmarthenshire and tracking the ley lines in the Brecon Beacons. Peter Dawkins took over from him when he stepped down and he left very big shoes to fill.

I have a wonderful memory of the early days when the group went on a visit to Table Mountain, Pen Cerrig-calch and Pen Allt-mawr. Nick was always late for things and he managed to miss the departure from Cogan, but this did not deter him and despite not knowing where the start point of the walk was, he drove to Crickhowell. Having climbed the mountainside from further up the valley the group paused at Crug Hywel for morning break and during their stop, up over the top appeared a rather red-faced and puffed out Nick. When asked how he had found us, he simply said…… ‘I followed the noise’. Things haven’t changed the group don’t do…. QUIET!

Nick was affable, knowledgeable and worked hard in the early days for the success of the group. So we say farewell to a lovely man and good friend with thanks for what he did and send our deepest condolences to his wife Pat, his family and friends on their great loss. As always no one from Penarth and District is ever forgotten.

Joy Strangward
(Publicity Officer)

This Saturdays walk has been cancelled due to the reduced train service to Merthyr Tydfil and forecast of heavy rain with no place to shelter on the walk.

A tribute to Roger Hill

Penarth and District Ramblers have lost another of its stalwart members as Roger Hill sadly passed away on 28 September after a long illness.

Roger joined the group in September 1994 and led his first walk with his wife Janet in February 1996. By 1997 he became the group treasurer a task that he complimented until 2016 when he decided to step down.

He was a real character who had a wicked sense of humour and was laid back and very likeable. He loved his racing pigeons and a pint or two… or three and a good yarn and he led some fantastic walks in his favourite places, the Black Mountains, Gower and the Wye Valley, as well as in the Tenby area with Val Hartrey on group weekends away, in the early years.

Roger beside the River WyeI remember Roger had never walked the Wye Valley until he came on one of my walks, he was so impressed by its beauty he took time off work to walk the Wye Valley Walk. He would stay at a suitable pub or inn and his wife Janet would drive up to bring him fresh clothes and have a meal with him.

Roger in Black MountainsThere was always mud on a Roger walk, lots of laughter and quite often we would return as the light dimmed, because he had taken an unplanned detour, but no one seemed to mind. I always used to jest … if you go on a Roger walk, remember to bring a candle because you’ll need it to see your way back!

There is no doubt that those members who knew him and walked with him will have their own stories to tell which will remain as part of the group’s history as always.

Here are a few memories …

‘So sorry to hear about Roger, on my first walk he recognised me. I used to go to the pigeon club with my dad, as my dad set the pigeon clocks, when the birds were going away to races. Roger used to be there with his father. His parents lived a few doors away from my grandmother. Such a great person’ … Sue J

‘Awww…. I was talking about him on Nick’s recent walk. Great character, I’ll always think of him with fondness and remember with affection. RIP Roger’ … Sheryl E

‘How sad. He did well to live with his illness for as long as he did’ … Rachel A.

We send our deepest condolences to Roger’s family with the message that no one in Penarth and District Ramblers is ever forgotten.

Joy Strangward
(Publicity Officer)

Val’s Bench

On 31 May 2018, sadly VAL HARTREY a founder member, Rambles Officer and Chair of the group for 14 years passed into the big blue yonder, and the committee were anxious to commemorate not only her life, but her contribution to the success of the group.

bench plaqueIt was decided that a memorial bench would be a fitting tribute and after consultation with the Dinas Powys Community Council, who very kindly purchased the bench with a contribution from the group, it has at last been installed outside the Murchfield Community Centre in Dinas Powys village.

Mike, Joy, Geraint, John & RobinAt 11am on Wednesday 28 August, friends, colleagues and Robin, John, Geraint and Joy (representing the committee) joined Val’s husband Mike and daughter Louise at the commemoration ceremony.
Val of course served as a Vale of Glamorgan Councillor, a Dinas Powys Councillor and was very active in the Plaid Cymru Party and literally was very well known to the Dinas Powys community.
Councillor John FanshawFollowing a stirring speech from Cllr John Fanshaw listing many of Val’s exploits, the sturdy bench that bears her name and also a plaque from the group, will no doubt be an asset as a resting place and also a reminder of the selfless dedication in which she served the community.

After which, those present were treated to morning refreshments inside the hall and the group’s thanks go to all who were involved in making this a success.

A moderate 10 mile walk from Trelleck along green lanes and woodland paths. Meet at Cogan to depart: 9.00 am. If you need further information contact Nick 01446 420540.