Bawtry Hall, Bawtry, Doncaster
Having heard a lot about the YBRCT from relatives, I thought that I should sign myself up for the experience. This was my first cycle tour, so I didn't really know what to expect other than ringing and cycling. I did feel a bit nervous about not knowing very many people, but everyone on the tour was very friendly, and easy to talk to. My main problem was remembering everyone's name. If it occurs that there are two (or more) people with the same name, one of them is given a new name, and trying to remember real names and cycle tour names was quite challenging!
This year we stayed at Bawtry hall, a Christian conference centre that served great food, and also had a very interesting shop. One of the highlights of the week was Peter reading his favourite extracts from 'The Highway Code to Marriage', which was very entertaining.
The ringing was of a good standard, with all the ringers being able to handle their own bell and ring it competently to rounds. Throughout the week we had a range of things being rung, from called changes to surprise, so there was something for everyone.
As with most bellringing events, the pub was the most visited area of the town, especially because Bawtry hall was dry, so the customary barrels of beer were not present. On the first night, we went to the Turnpike, where the Deuchars barrel was emptied within a matter of hours.
The cycling was pleasant on the whole as the weather was good every day apart from Wednesday, when we got wet. Friday's route was perhaps the hilliest, or maybe I was just so exhausted by then that it seemed worse!
The Wally of the Week award is not highly sought after, and this year's recipient of the title was trying very hard to ensure he didn't get it. However, drinking sun cream is not considered a very sensible thing to do, and we all thought he deserved the award. Congratulations Ben Carey!
I have learned that the last night of the cycle tour is traditionally party night, which involves lots of alcohol, games, and frivolous things like that. Dave treated us all to a song about Cecil the caterpillar, embellished with piano accompaniment. The only word I could use to describe this is genius.
This tour was the 35th YBRCT and I'd like to thank Geoff Stickland for organising it for all these years. Thanks also to the respective churches for letting us use their bells and also to the people who provided much needed cups of tea and refreshments at towers.
Next year's tour will be based in Northampton at the King's Park Centre. For more details of next year's tour or of previous tours, the website has everything you need to know: http://www.ybrct.org.uk
Alex Marchbank, September 2008