Young Bell Ringers
Cycling Tour

Gladstone's Library, Hawarden, Flintshire

An ambiguous weather forecast was given for YBRCT 2013 in Hawarden (pronounced 'Hard-on' or similar). Which is North Wales. As the crowd gathered for the week we welcomed our new participants for the week with evening ringing at the church of Hawarden - handily located behind our accommodation! (William) Gladstone's library - four times prime minister!
Monday morning arrived and there was an issue. One of our new recruits had 'misplaced' his(or her) bike lock keys - not to be found anywhere!! After a suitable replacement was borrowed we set off for some ringing in England which included the interesting ascent to the ringing chamber at Chester; St. Mary - an 8. Today was one of our longer days miles wise. After our evenings sustenance most of the assembled crowd attended Chester cathedral practice night, later described as indistinct !!
Tuesday meant staying in Wales, but there was good news!! The bike had been freed from its shackles (via unknown means) and was duly shown off. Only four churches today - including Halkyn - with the mysteriously quiet treble! The exuberantly named 'Bodelwyddan' practice night was attended by a few mainly to show off to the locals and to nosey round such a lovely church!!
Wednesday was back to England! The Wirral to be precise - the pointy bit between Wales and Liverpool. Today was rather more a cagoule type day. The five churches were pretty much in a straight line from base - the furthest being about 15 miles away. Most cycled home via the 'man made' straightened river Dee cycle path which would have been lovely had the wind been blowing in the right direction! A shower was very welcome by the time we were back in Hawarden!
Thursday was the church lovers day. Firstly we regaled the churchyard sheep at Hope. We were in Wales! We rang at two of the Wonders of Wales. The tower of Wrexham, which is were lunch was sourced and some 'one number' called changed were called. Another wonder was specifically the bells of Gresford, which were 'A Wonder' !! They had ambitions to put two rings of bells in their tower.
Good news!! By this time we were aware that the bike owner with the severed lock had been re-united with his (or her) keys!! Pity the lock was inoperable!
Friday A mixture of excitement and sadness was the overriding emotion as we rang together for the last day. We rang at three churches - via shortcuts. (some trespassing included) After ringing at Tattenhall we could pretty much see the next tower - Eccleston. Unfortunately the river crossings were pretty well spaced, not to mention a certain affluent land owner (A nice man known as the 'Duke of Westminster') wouldn't let us cross his estate. So while some of us went fully camouflaged and acted stupid when questioned, we made it. Eventually using the excellent bridges of Chester to get round the river. But it was worth the struggle!! A fairly 'modern' church with a glorious 26cwt 8 residing within it! And the nice Tower Captain let us ring a little longer as some were not surprisingly late!!
There was however some sad news during the week, one of our party known to us as Loughborough was cruelly snatched from us and held hostage. Fortunately after a valiant effort on part of the whole of us, we finally managed to get her back unscathed. Our thanks to all involved.
After the evening meal, Wally of the Week was awarded (to the severed bike lock owner) and some evening frivolities ensued!
George Wrycroft