CONTACT: SPRING 1961
"And here is the weather forecast - most of the country will be cloudy with occasional rain showers and snow on high ground".
As I looked despondently out of the window at one of the 'occasional showers' which had been drumming down for the last two hours all ideas of a moonlight ramble faded.
However, by 9pm the moon, a glaring white disc in a black velvet bed, was peering between fleecy clouds. Soon I was packed in the Dormobile among the bulging haversacks and heavily sweatered companions of the night, all heading full speed for Cannock and The Chase.
At Cannock the van left us and returned for the rest of the party. We set out for Hednesford followed by the amazed stares of the local evening revellers going home to bed. We hadn't long to wait for the second van load of night-walkers; yet a further carload made the party 25 in all.
The moon had once again hidden behind a layer of cloud but it was still light enough to see the tall trees silhouetted against the sky. We followed the main road for a while, flashing torches only when a passing motorist sped by, then, turning off the road on to The Chase, darkness closed in upon us, the tall dark forbidding pines blotting out all the light. They seemed to whisper to each other as if upset by our intrusion and plotting against us. A short steep climb took us out of reach before we were trapped by the whispering giants, we found ourselves on a golf course.
Taking a short cut across the course had its hazards, such as when switching on a torch revealed us on the edge of a two-foot drop into a bunker. A short shower cleared the clouds and the sky grew lights again before we had crossed the course and we headed on along the faint silvery tracks across the Chase to Castle Rings, the highest point.
Now the cold was felt as we stood on top of the old earth fort, I realised I had been sweating freely on the climb but now I was thankful for the extra sweater. Shortly afterwards a halt was called in a sheltered quarry, before long the Primus Stoves were going full blast, the sizzling of sausages, bacon and liver was mixed with happy chatter and calls of "See you" from the card school that had suddenly appeared. The cold was completely forgotten.
Replenished in food and energy, we were off again. Almost immediately one of the "Leaders" was 'lost'.
"He went straight on", insisted someone.
"But we turn left here! I suppose we had better wait".
It turned out that it was only a shadow that had been going 'straight on', I was with the 'lost' ones - we had gone the right way and when we realised we were not being followed, also stopped and waited for the others to catch up. It taught us to stay closer together for the rest of the way.
Another halt was called about 4am on a deserted railway station where we sat out our second and last shower under shelter entertained by the four "brag" players trying to win enough to pay for breakfast.
By now we were tiring, the moon had set below the horizon and the road took on a never-ending look. When someone asked "How about a rest?", he turned round and found four bodies stretched out in the middle of the road.
By 8am we were all washed and refreshed and tucking into the best bacon and egg breakfast tasted for a long time. Three hours later everyone was home and, for me - bed.
They all said I was mad to go on a moonlight ramble but, here's to the next time.
THE BMB RAMBLING CLUB
Well, we've survived the winter months in fine style with rambles even better supported than ever. Variety has been the keynote with a Scrimmage Ramble, a Tour of the Ardens, a Moonlight Ramble and a Theatre Party being arranged; one more ramble to come in March will complete the Winter Programme then it's "Summer 1961 Here we Come".
A provisional programme has been arranged and we hope to include a Treasure Hunt (July) and a Water Ramble (in conjunction with the Staff Association) in addition to our normal monthly rambles. Watch for the circulars.
The Club is honoured to welcome as its first President, Mr H J Sutherland.
Any queries or enquiries regarding the Club and its activities please contact any member of the Committee. Till June (our First Birthday) it's Au Revoir and Happy Rambling.
The Committee of the above Club, as elected at the Annual General Meeting, ie as follows:-
Chairman .... Mr A Radburn
Secretary .... Mr G Butler
Treasurer .... Mr P Baulcombe
Committee Members .... Mrs P E Butler; Mrs J Baulcombe; Mr R M Atkins
This Club is a young and energetic one but you need not be young and energetic to join it. ANY member of the Staff is welcome, just contact any one of the above - DO IT NOW, what have you got to lose?
CONTACT: SUMMER 1961
By the time this article reaches publication the Club will well and truly have celebrated its first anniversary. Yes, one year old and certainly the bonniest baby seen around for a long time.
A membership of over 40, most of whom are regular and keen ramblers, has proved the need for a social outlet for the younger members of the Association. Rambling, however, is not new to the Municipal Bank. It was a few nostalgic comments overheard at the bar about the good old Bank rambles of pre-war days and the remark course they couldnt take it today that set a few of us thinking Why not? Well show em.
Within a month four of us had tries a route and prepared the ramble of the year. Then we sat back and worried and worried. Would we get any response? Could to-days staff take it? Our problems were soon solved with more applications from would-be ramblers than we could cater for. The weather was hot, the air was clear and the result a cry for MORE.
Thus it was that, at a meeting held on 15th June 1960, it was decided to form a Rambling Club. The Birmingham Municipal Bank Rambling Club was born.
Since then the Club has steadily grown, even the rigours of winter failed to keep us down, our biggest triumph being an all-night ramble in January supported by no less than 25 members. Our Anniversary is to be celebrated in style with a trip to Dovedale, we even have our own Birthday Cake.
Because of last years success we do not intend to sit on our merits but intend even better rambles to come. Already arrangements are in hand for our own Treasure Hunt, another Moonlight (a slightly warmer one), a river excursion and ramble combined, and a swimming ramble. Also a photographic competition amongst members has been organised.
I would like to thank all those who have led or otherwise helped to organise the rambles or offered to lead future rambles. It certainly has made the job of Secretary an easy one. If YOU have any ideas that may prove useful to us, let us know if you like something others are sure to like it too.
Well, its cheerio once more heres to another successful year and many more miles off the beaten track.
CONTACT: AUTUMN 1961
BMB RAMBLING CLUB.
September saw the close of our most successful summer programme of rambles with a combined pleasure cruise along the Severn from Stourport to Holt Fleet and an afternoon ramble through the mellowing Worcestershire countryside.
The rambles have all been well supported with never less than22 members participating and as many as 40 attending the anniversary ramble to Dovedale. Activities have been as varied as possible with a treasure hunt, swimming afternoon, river trip, rounders and football matches being combined with our more normal pastime of walking.
Our second Moonlight was even more successful with the moon being more obliging than usual and following us throughout the nights walk. After climbing the Worcester Beacon we followed the ridge of the Malverns over to British Camp where, on top of the highest hill around, an open-air cook-up was enjoyed by all including the sheep who had been a little annoyed at being disturbed at such an unearthly hour. We stayed at the crest until the first rays of the sun rose above the horizon about 4:30am then, by the growing light of a new day, headed for Ledbury, reaching the main square in time to greet the milkman staring his rounds.
At the moment of going to press, the Winter programme has not been arranged; however, I can assure you that our activities will once again continue throughout the winter months, starting in October with an introductory afternoon walk when we will be pleased to see any new members especially our new juniors who would like to meet the Club.
The Annual General Meeting has been arranged for 4:30pm on Wednesday, 15th November in the Assembly Room, Head Office free tea available if you have any ideas, suggestions or complaints please come along and air your views whether members or not.
Photographs for the competition are coming in very slowly, we want a lot more so COME ON RAMBLERS. Lets have those snaps, you never know, yours may be a prizewinner. Last date for entries November 1st.
Please note that my present Branch is now Hall Green, any enquiries to be addressed there until further notice.
Well, Cheerio for now, be seeing you soon.