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.

Extra Walk 4th August

Walking along Bryn Awr and Deri, there is an option to miss the last ascent over Gaer with an easy track back to the cars. This walk is Moderate/Hard walk with three ascents but none of them major and a moderate pace to suit. Its 11.6 (or 10) miles long. Meet at Cogan to depart: 8.30 am. If you need further information contact John 07484 844533

Robin has rescheduled his Clytha walk for the 14th July. Meet Penarth Leisure centre 9.00 am for a 8.5 mile easy/moderate walk.

Joy has added an extra evening walk for Thursday 18th July. Meet at Wenvoe Church for a 4 mile easy walk. Walk starts at 18.30.

Tribute to Pepper

It is always hard to put into words just what a dog as a companion means to an owner and over the years members of the group have taken various dogs into their hearts because owner and dog become a team.

That is exactly what Robin and Pepper were as Pepper the spaniel always accompanied Robin on his walks. The spaniel is one of the oldest breeds of dogs having arrived in this country during Caesar’s invasion 54-55 BC and they were bred to flush out game from thick undergrowth and retrieve from land and water.

PepperPepper was no exception, he was a handsome chap, very eager to please, full of energy and with a wonderful temperament. When out walking with the group he was a typical spaniel, head down and bum up always seeking out smells and running about to have adventures.

When he had the scent he would bound off and when Robin blew the whistle to retrieve him he would always come back from a different direction than the way he had left, much to everyone’s delight and amusement.

Pepper enjoying a rollHaving started walking up mountains from a young age he revelled in walking and has completed many long distance paths with Robin, walked the entire peaks of the Brecon Beacons at least five times, tramped up and down the Black Mountains and the Carmarthen Fans and travelled the length and breadth of Scotland, a place where he had only recently been on a walking holiday.

At the age of 15 and a half Pepper had a wonderful full and active life, although he was hard of hearing and had to remain on the lead in the latter stages, he was still enjoying his walks. Sadly his demise was fairly rapid and he took his last walk on 13 June and was finally laid to rest on 21 June.

Our thoughts are very much with Robin at this very sad time, it just won’t be the same – one without the other – but Pepper who was a truly much loved member of Penarth and District will never be forgotten by those who knew him.

Joy Strangward
(Publicity Officer)

Joy is adding an extra evening walk on Thursday 6th June. Please meet 6.30pm at the Viaduct car park in Porthkerry Country Park for a 4.5-mile easy/moderate walk taking in the coastal path, southernmost tip of mainland Wales and the flooded Rhoose Quarries.

Joy can be contacted on 07794 274 930 if you have any queries about this walk.

Alison is changing the printed programme walk to the Three Saints Walk that was cancelled when Storm Hannah blew in.

The walk is 9 miles and graded moderate. Meet at Cogan 9.30 am. Please be aware that £5 in coins is required for parking at St Fagins, so share cars as much as possible.

Alison can be contacted on 07717 820012 if you require further details.

Mina Fairfax joined Penarth and District Ramblers following the death of her beloved husband Arthur after she was somewhat cajoled into it by her two nieces, Lesley and Sue and soon became one of the gang.

She was in her mid 70’s when she joined proving you are never too old to try something new and fit as a flea and despite her age climbed a great many mountains and really enjoyed her walking.

She was very knowledgeable about the countryside, flowers, plants, folklore, herbs, cooking and just a joy to be with.

I certainly have many happy memories of Mina, she accompanied me on many a recce and when you got home from a day’s walking your tummy would be aching from laughing so much.

On an early walk of mine in Llangattock, there was a steep hill in front of us and despite the fact that she tried to climb up it, her rucksack seemed to be dragging her back down. When I asked her to take it off so I could carry it for her, I understood why… it weighed a ton, inside she had enough food to feed an army, sandwiches, biscuits and cakes that she had baked and all to give away. She always made sure we were fed.

For those of you who walk in the Vale, you will know there is a stile known to us as ‘Aunties’ stile which is situated on the Highlight walk, a dedication to the fact that she and her then young man Arthur, did most of their courting on the bridge over the River Waycock and it is a fitting memorial.

'Auntie' Mina in 2010The last time she took an active part in the group’s activities was when she attended the 75th anniversary of Ramblers on 26 June 2010 when the group put on a short walk followed by an afternoon tea party in Wenvoe.

Sadly Mina peacefully passed away on Saturday 9 March 2019 aged 100 years.

Some of the older members of the group will remember her fondly and humorous stories do abound about her from time to time which means she will never be forgotten and will remain as part of the group’s history.

Her funeral will take place at the Chapel of Rest at A.G. Adams at 1pm on Monday 25 March should anyone wish to pay their respects to this wonderful lady who was truly admired and loved for her infectious personality.

Group at Michaelston 19.9.1993The photograph shows the group on their first stile building outing on 19 September, 1993 when the newly formed group was 6 months old and the line-up is comprised of …

Back row….Nic, Midge, Derek, John, Lesley, Dermot, Tony
Front row… Auntie holding the teapot, Joy, Sue and Ann

Such happy days and Auntie Mina was a big part of that and will be truly missed by all who knew her.

Joy Strangward
(Publicity Officer)

Tribute To Jodie

As a dog friendly walking group ‘man’s best friend’ as they say has always been just as important in the group’s history as their human companions.

JodieSo the news of Jodie’s passing on Friday 25 January is met with great sadness and our thoughts a very much with Sue and her family.

I recall the first time I met Jodie when I was on school crossing patrol at Romilly School and across the road came Sue’s mum who very proudly said ‘ This is my new dog and her name is Jodie’. On the end of the lead was this beautiful, smooth, slim brindle Staffordshire bull terrier and we held up the traffic long enough for me to say hello…..

Then of course Jodie became a shared dog and Sue would often bring her along on walks.

Staffie’s of course were originally bred to be small, fast fighting dogs whilst remaining people friendly but soon became firm, loyal family pets.

Jodie at first was a little shy when meeting people, but she soon warmed to the crowd and her qualities of intelligence, energy and friendliness soon shone through. She loved her walks and as she got to know everyone enjoyed the fuss she received almost right up until the end, especially if Sue brought her to Cogan to greet everyone at the start of a walk and she would have fun chasing her ball before everyone left.

So the duo of Sue and Jodie will be no more and we will all have our own memories as we say a very fond farewell to another faithful companion.

Joy Strangward
(Publicity Officer)