A Report on the 62nd Rodings Rally
Well that’s it! Our 62nd, and final, Rodings Rally has been completed. The results are available HERE as a downloadable document (.doc) form, the answers to the CLUES are HERE, and some competitors' comments are at the bottom of this page.
We have given many competitors over the past 62 years the frustration, dismay, and joy of having taken part in the Rodings Rally. Likewise with the many group members, who over the years have given their time organising and running this unique event.
It started at High Roding Youth Hostel, and when it closed we moved onto Ivinghoe YH, near Tring. This was not convenient, as we had to bicycle, or hitch hike to and from there. No cars in the group in those days. Then the small High Beach YH opened. We tried Hatfield Forest YH for a few years, and then went back to High Beach YH, and several years later the village hall because the hostel was too small when cooking for so many.
In the beginning the rally was only open to YHA (Youth Hostel Association) local groups, and when these groups started to close, the rally was opened up to all. In the early days the route map was the one-inch Ordnance Survey, so the courses were simple compared to the last three decades of having our own maps.
It has been fun organising the rally for so many years, but we are getting too long in the tooth to man the checkpoints, and others staying up all night without any rest, and because like so many other types of clubs no young people have joined us since the 90s.
So no more having to seek permission to run the rally in Epping Forest, and book the village hall at High Beach, before the group, as a whole, gets to know about the rally.
No more delightful walks in Epping Forest checkpoint plotting after the group had worked out the route one Thursday evening. Frustrating sometimes when the teams checkpoint plotting coming in from the three different directions do not meet up at the checkpoint grid reference, but happiness when we did get it right.
No more evenings thinking up the clues, or that rally meal before we went about our jobs.
No more having a night out at the start wondering what did I do to deserve this. Sitting in the cold some times with inadequate shelter, and light. Trying to sort out teams who have not done the RR before, or who turn up late, or not at all.
I’m sorry, guys and girls, that you will not have the joy of staying up most of the night, in a tent, possibly cold, waiting for a twig to break; is that someone? Or a flash of light coming through the trees that could be hunting for you, but is now going the wrong way.
The tea tent chills, no more. Standing or sitting around waiting around for ages wondering why nobody has turned up yet for a hot drink, then so busy you don’t know which way to turn, then dribs and drabs, no-one, then the next rush.
No more final checkpoint at the hall, or welcome breakfasts to cook. They did have a warm room, but that long wait for competitors to finish, with no chance of a kip until you got home, could wear you down.
So a really big "thank you" to all members, past and present, for making it a great event for 62 years.
What will we do now? Apart from going for walks, cycle rides, visits to other countries, theatres, visits to everywhere. What will we do now?
Peter G., 20th November 2018
Competitors' comments, via Facebook, following the Rally:
Ian Brazier: An amazing event... Very sad to see it go.. thanks for the memories.
Russell Stebbings: Very sad to see this truly great event depart. It was a highlight of our 'adventuring' calendar and gave us a great deal of pleasure. Thank you all so much for all of your many years of hard work and dedication. We miss you already. From the Carabids of Fire/Dragonfliers.
Bert Park: As always the best challenge event of the year, as always. Will be sadly missed, nothing else gets close to the combined challenges of clue solving, uncertainty, personal and group management, and of course night time navigation. I have done 19 of these, been fortunate enough to win it a few times, and humbled/ beaten/battered a few more times !!
Antony Goodall: As a competitor of the last three years, I have to say a huge thank you to everyone involved for putting the event on. What a wonderful experience you have enabled us to have - unlike anything else, and memories to treasure for many a year! Responding to "what did you get up to at the weekend?" has been met by both "that sounds mad", and "wow, that sounds amazing" - much more of the latter, actually. You've challenged us, frustrated us, delighted us and inspired us. Thank you.
Pam Linstead: Fond memories of manning a checkpoint in the 60s with Helga.
Yoginee Patel: Oh no. This is sooo sad. This is such a great night adventure. Glad I took the opportunity and did it when I did it. Thanks for organising. Still hoping it comes back.
Anne De Asha: Thank you for the memories. Frustrating and knackering at times but fun and we always came back for another year!!
Duncan Coneybeare: Thank you so much to everyone involved in organising such a brilliant event. I wish I had competed in more of them - I only managed 5 or 6 out of the 62 - and had a blast, something definitely out of my comfort zone!
Steins & Sausages by the Thames
Brian U., 6th October 2018
Pangbourne Walk - Saturday 22nd September
Three trusty EFOG members met up at Paddington Station at 9am to set out for Pangbourne for a walk. We had actually stayed near there, in Goring-on-Thames, at Easter time - so it was a question of Pangbourne re-visited (only I was not able to partake in the mainstream walks at Easter - thankfully now I am walking much better).
It started to drizzle as we reached Pangbourne and unfortunately it did not stop for the rest of the day. Luckily not really heavy rain, but steady and persistent. It was a pleasant walk however, in spite of the rain. We crossed the lovely little toll bridge (free to walkers thankfully) to Whitchurch across the river visiting the pretty little 12th Century Church of St. Mary on the way, then following the Thames Path for a way, before going uphill through woods and through some nice little villages (including one rather quaintly named Blackbirds Bottom). As we had brought our lunches with us we dined in style in a bus shelter in Whitchurch on the Hill before cutting across fields to bring us back onto the circular route back to the original village of Whitchurch near the toll bridge. We encountered alpacas, many horses, and a field full of rather frisky young bullocks who were very interested in us and were keen to play! Jill headed resolutely towards the far field gate, I wafted a soggy bunch of maps and instructions at them, but the gallant Sir Ken brought up the rear and staved off the wild beasts whilst we made our escape! Anyway, after that bit of excitement we had a well deserved drink in a very nice pub in Whitchurch (The Greyhound) which welcomed, soggy walkers, cyclists and dogs, before heading back to Pangbourne and catching the 16.17 train back to Paddington.
A very enjoyable, if rather wet, day out walking approximately 8.5 miles. Thanks Jill and Ken for your company.
Lynne, 5th October 2018
A visit to RAF Hendon
We travelled to NW London to visit RAF Hendon on Saturday 15th September, 2018. A couple of us had been before but the rest were first-timers.
The RAF are celebrating their 100th anniversary and this particular day was also a festival day celebrating the 1930’s and 1940’s. It was a fine day, the entry is free and so we were surprised to note that the car park was not full. Still, more room for us.
After a cup of tea we started at Hanger 1. This gave the history of the RAF from its formation to the present time. Coming out, we watched a stationery Merlin engine being run up. The noise and vibration were terrific. Brian and Dave have videos if you want to see them. Then on to Hanger 2 which covered the First World War. A surprising time later we realised that it was time for lunch.. After a good - though slightly expensive - lunch, Kathy and Brian went to attend a Swing Dance class while the others went to Hanger 6. We all, apart from Dave, popped out to see a Lancaster flying overhead. Brian has posted a video on Facebook so become his Facebook Friend if you want to see it.
All through the day there were many people in period dress, happy to pose for photos and looking very convincing, even down to seams in the ladies’ stockings.
Finally, we visited Hangars 3,4, and 5 which included a Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane and a lot of the other notable aircraft from World War 11. Also there were modern jet bombers. Standing under a Vulcan bomber makes you realise how big the wings are. There also was the chance to sit in a Spitfire for £10. No, we didn’t think it was worth it either.
It was nearly 5pm before we left. A full, surprisingly long, day, very enjoyable. Well done, Ken for organising it.
Brian U., 15th September 2018
Bletchley Park - 25th August 2018
Meeting as usual at The Eagle, Snaresbrook, eight of us set off for Bletchley Park. When arranging this trip Brian had overlooked that it was a Bank Holiday weekend and about two hours later we finally arrived.
A gasp at the cost of entry, a quick lunch in the café and we set off around the estate. The mansion where the more senior officers worked is very grand, a good looking building, and Kathy was attracted to the restaurant advertising afternoon tea (£18!). It rained heavily around this time which was a surprise according to the weather forecast. Near the mansion there is a small garage with typical motor cars and bikes of the period, the major donor here being Mick Jagger.
The huts where the routine (if you can call such brainpower routine) work was carried out were basic and must have been cold in Winter. The displays were very similar, a desk or two, a typewriter and a telephone being seen many times. Huts 11 and 11A were different, a model of a bombe (see photo) and interactive displays attracting the crowds. Adjourning to Hut 4 and its café, we suddenly heard the sound of Merlin engines and rushed out to see a Spitfire and a Hurricane flying over the estate. It is amazing how such a simple air display puts a smile on your face as you return to the café and your tea in an enamel mug.
The estate closed all too soon and we left feeling that we had rushed around (we were there more than four hours). We had all obtained annual tickets allowing free return for a year and agreed the place was worth a return visit at a less busy time. Then it was into the cars for the slow slog back to Snaresbrook and home.
Brian U. 26th August 2018
Page 9 of 52