St Rita's Retreat, Honiton, Devon
Having had the only lock out of the week, I have the pleasure of writing this year's tour report. This was my third tour and is undoubtedly the prettiest yet and hilliest tour I have attended so far.
The tour was based around the town of Honiton, Devon, where we stayed at the St. Rita's retreat and conference centre. Here we were told there were no rules, so we made ourselves at home. Sunday Evening ringing was at Honiton where the group enjoyed ringing, catching up with friends they had not seen all year and getting to know the two new ringers to the group, Simon and Peter.
Devon is not a flat county and chevrons on the map became welcome challenges to some members of the group, and things to be avoided at all costs to others. For me, riding down was certainly far quicker than cycling up! Members of the group that deserve special mention here are Emma Pym, James, Ed, Alan Shepherd and John Ware who all determinedly cycled up every hill.
The ringing all week was of a high standard with ringing varying from attempts at Devon rounds and call changes to Bristol Royal and we visited some beautiful churches, towns and villages including the unusual Ottery St. Mary, where ringing is from the south transept, the carpeted Axminster and Sidmouth, on the south coast where some members of the group enjoyed fish and chips on the beach in glorious weather followed by a paddle in the sea - this also provided an opportunity to dry soggy socks from the rain earlier in the day!
Unfortunately the Loughborough parrot was in the USA so could not join this year's tour, so we were joined instead by the Loughborough duck. Before this tour, I had never heard of a quarter peal that had been lost because of a stuffed toy, however, when the lift doors opened to reveal the Loughborough duck in the middle of an attempt to ring a quarter of plain bob major in hand, I have been told laughter took over concentration in an instant and the quarter was lost.
The best cakes of the week were most certainly provided by Feniton, these cakes were to put all ringer's teas to shame, as the more cake we all ate, the more cake, scones and mousse arrived. With no time for more than a grab (given the time spent consuming cake) we all left the tower three pieces of cake heavier with a slice or two in panniers or back packs for the next day!
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the YBRCT 2012, so a big thank you to Geoff for organising another fantastic tour and I look forward to next year's tour based around Gladstone's Library near Chester.