59th RODINGS RALLY (2015)  Report

Saturday 20th / Sunday 21st  November

Dear Competitors,

Thank you all for entering the 59th Rodings Rally and well done to everyone who took part on what was a particularly cold night, though most of the people I spoke to did not seem to mind the chill. It did every one a favour in some parts by freezing the muddy patches! We also had a lot of interesting teams from universities, including the Dragon Flyers from the Insect Room at the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge who came in a very creditable seventh in the ten checkpoint event

Unusually this year, teams won the individual events who have never won before, so it just goes to show that if you keep going you will eventually succeed. Also returning to the fray after a bit of a hiatus was East Barnet School, who not only rustled up four teams, but one of their teams also will be taking home the Rockets Trophy for the fastest under 20 team over the five mile course, so well done them.

Of the 42 teams entering the 10 checkpoint event, 20 teams managed to find all 10 checkpoints. The winning team, Suffoc & SOS surprised even themselves by coming home in three hours and fifty four minutes, just ahead of the Dartford Scouts, who were two minutes behind them, and the Rayleigh Rockets number two team who took four and a half hours to complete the course.

Last year’s five checkpoint event winners were a team going by the mysterious name of ELR, who were equally stunned to have finally made it home in first place after several attempts. They came home in two hours and fifty-three minutes, nine minutes ahead of last year’s joint winners, The Barnet Strollers and a further seventeen minutes behind, the New Sospects.

The Group Trophies, awarded to the Group or club with the three highest placed teams in each event, went again to the Rayleigh Rockets in the 10 checkpoint event (30 checkpoints in 16 hours and 29 minutes hours). The best five checkpoint group again was the 41st Epping Forest Scouts, who managed 15 checkpoints in 14 hours and 52 minutes. Since both of these teams have held the trophies for a couple of years now, it’s up to you to mount a challenge!

The Rockets Trophy, as I mentioned above, went to a team from East Barnet School, their number 4 squad. The teams from the school, all of them under twenty years of age, came fourth as a group in the five checkpoint challenge, which is very creditable indeed. They were four of the eleven under twenty teams we had this year and we hope to see them all back again next year, bringing their mates along after telling them what a great time they had!

Trophy winners will be contacted shortly to confirm delivery arrangements if not already received.

As stated on our information sheet, 50p from every entry is donated to a charity nominated each year at our AGM. Those of you who entered the 2014 Rally may be interested to learn that your donations went to the Cody Dock Project.


Points to Note:

This year, Checkpoint one seems to have given a lot of the teams grief and it also seems to have been the area of most lost property. The only item I have of lost property is a right-handed grey and black glove with Seal Skinz on one finger. However, three teams asked us to put out an APB on the following items:

A pair of thin black gloves – John Pennifold

This is a long shot, but I have lost a reasonably expensive 'Silva' compass that was a Christmas present from my kids 3 years ago!  (Typical rectangular base plate and should have a short thin cord attached - If I remember rightly the rotating bezel was black rather then the usual white.).  If anyone's handed it in, I'll refund the postage and a bit extra for a beer! It was fairly early on in the night, about 10.20-10.30, on the way to checkpoint 1. Using your map, between grid references 7820 1925 (Junction of Debden Slade & The Green Ride) & 7830 1940, near top of the small hill. Probably on left side of The Green Ride (W) as you walk uphill (N). - Robin Richardson

One of my team members lost a head torch on our way into checkpoint 1 and was wondering if anyone has found it and handed it in. It was a very bright (think Neo or something like that) with a head-strap and rechargeable battery pack on it. Not sure how he lost it the size of it but there you go. It was almost brand new so he’s a bit gutted he lost it! - Tim Cartwright,

If anyone picked them up, could you contact me and I will make arrangements to get them back to their rightful owners.


Click here to read some feedback from competitors.


And Finally:

Next year is our 60th Rodings Rally, and as such will be a special event, on Saturday 19th/Sunday 20th November 2016. Because of this, the rules for entry are going to be tightened up a bit, as we had a few issues this year, and I am fairly sure that the anniversary event will be quite popular. Spaces will be on a first come, first served basis, so no asking for an early slot unless you are backing up that request with a completed entry form, properly filled in (mind out all of you I had to chase this year for various details, for example what distance you want to compete over) and with the finances taken care of. As usual, you can pay by bank transfer or cheque, and if you do use a bank transfer, please, please let me have a receipt/screen shot of the payment. Every year our poor Treasurer tears her hair out as we go back and forth trying to work out what belongs to whom, so for her sake if not mine, then have your receipts at the ready. We will also be moving the date for last e-mail entries forward by one day, to Wednesday 16th November (postal entries will close on Friday 11th November. Please make sure your entries are in before the 16th as demand for slots should be high.


Where did you come? Click Here and look for your team’s number in the event down the left hand side in the distance you covered.




Ladywell to Forest Hill - 8th November

This was the 7th section of Pam's series of walks following the “Green London Way”. Pam mentioned in the programme that this section of the walk takes us through parks and along "prominences". I wasn't sure what she meant by prominences, especially as she'd put whatever they are into inverted commas. Anyway, she had said “along prominences”, so that didn't sound too onerous.

Ladywell Forest Hill 151108 06563artThe very start of the walk at Ladywell ParkShe also said “a few hilly bits” - not like the last walk in the series when there was nothing but hilly bits. So, five of us met at Stratford, and two went straight to London Bridge Station where we all met up to catch the train to Ladywell. It got there just before 11am, and as it was Remembrance Sunday that gave us time to walk into Ladywell Park, find a quiet spot, and observe the two-minutes silence. We then went to the nearby St. Mary's Church, which is much bigger on the inside than on the out, where we were invited in and even got tea and biscuits without having to stay for a service.

There is a tomb in the churchyard to which Pam referred us, of an Irish poet none of us had ever heard of, the inscription of which is totally eroded away, and is un-signposted. We did find it, but I don't quite know why. The parasol mushrooms were slightly more spectacular.

Ladywell Park is very pleasant, and on a remarkably warm Autumn day was a pleasure to walk through. The Ravensbourne River is really the reason for the park, as it comprises the flood plain and has been re-landscaped to not only enhance the river but to provide for any potential flooding. We looked in vain for a very special tree that is mentioned in the guide book and elsewhere on the internet. It is an elm, known as the Lewisham Dutch elm, and is supposed to be unique. It is either unique or extinct, because we couldn't find it.

After Pooh-sticks on the bridge, we left the park and soon got to Montacute Road where Pam regaled us with a story about Edward 2nd, Edward 3rd, William Montacute and a red hot poker, a group of which we'd just passed in someone's front garden. At this point I was also beginning to realise that “prominences” might also mean hills and we weren't actually walking along them but up and down them. This was somewhat reminiscent of GLW Section 6, and reminds us that Essex is really ever so flat compared to south London suburbs.

Ladywell Forest Hill 151108 06569artAtop Blythe Hill FieldsBlythe Hill Fields was the next summit. Another of those open spaces that were fought over and demonstrated for to protect against development. From here there are some great views, particularly trending northwards to encompass – to the right – the Canary Wharf complex, and – to the left – the City. Between Canary Wharf and the City we could even make out the Epping Forest ridge, though because it is in Essex and it was also a bit overcast, wasn't very prominent.

After we left the open space there was bit of confusion as to where the road called Brenchley Gardens was, but it turned out that – as a couple of girls told us – it was miles away because Pam had turned over two pages of the route instead of one. We made our way through streets, passing Honor Oak station, downhill and then uphill, to the entrance to One Tree Hill. It was disconcerting that there were lots of trees, more so that there were lots of steps, and even more so that the people coming down the steps kept saying, “It's worth it when you get to the top”. Sort of at the top, there is the Honour Oak itself, or rather a replacement of the original which Elizabeth 1 picnicked under whilst out a-maying. We picnicked out a-sitting (or standing) nearby with another grand view towards London. Being as this was south London, the view was odd, too, with a St. Paul's Cathedral almost centrepiece, but looking somewhat alone from the rest of the City buildings.

Ladywell Forest Hill 151108 06567artThe RavensbourneWhere there is an up there is often a down, and in this case more steps, covered with almost as many leaves as my garden. This lead us to Brenchly Gardens, which – of course (see earlier) was miles away. Brenchley Gardens should be famous for its Ginkgo trees, including ones that produce the disgusting-smelling seeds, which I demonstrated by breaking open the soft flesh. Surprisingly, the enclosed nut is edible, but I have never tried that.

From Brenchley gardens we crossed to Camberwell Old Cemetery which we traversed to reach the uphill roads and then a downhill footpath between the houses leading to the Horniman Nature Trail. This is the oldest nature trail in London and was formed along part of the disused railway track, originally the Crystal Palace and South London Junction Railway and later the Nunhead to Crystal Palace High Level line. This was built in 1864/5 but closed in 1954, and the nature trail was opened in 1974.

Ladywell Forest Hill 151108 06573artMusical interlude at Horniman ParkOdd musical sounds were coming from our left as we walked the embankment, and their provenance became apparent only after we'd entered Horniman Gardens where, in a position on a slope, there was a selection of sounding devices to play on. These consisted of drums, tubular bells, xylophones and the like. We duly chased the children off and took over – just to spoil things.

Our final effort for the day, before getting the train back from Forest Hill Station, was to have tea and cakes in the cafe at the museum itself. Most of us paid homage to the walrus, some of us enjoyed the badgers, some the okapi. The woman almost centre of the remarkable mosaic on the outside wall of the museum looked to me as if she really were going to pay homage to humanity.

A pleasurable, if hilly and prominent, walk led by Pam and enjoyed by Dave, Fozi, Fred, Ken, Lynne, Sue. S., and myself.

Paul Ferris, 10th November 2015

Five went to Ribblesdale

Horton in Ribblesdale is on the famous Settle to Carlisle Line, so no buses needed to get there by public transport from King's Cross. We stayed in a bunkroom situated behind one of the village's two pubs. Luckily we had one twenty bedded bunkroom to ourselves...

Dales horton station 2015 EFOG 029Sunday promised to be the better day so we thought we'd do Pen Y Ghent that day and on Saturday aimed to stay 'down in the valley' to keep out of the clouds, and planned a walk around the famous Ribblehead Viaduct. Did  I say that we weren't going to need buses? Not so hasty.....it was a weekend of engineering works, so not only could we not actually take the train over the viaduct, but we had to take a bus replacement service to get there! Three of us felt that as Ingleborough was between Ribblehead and Horton, that we might as well walk back that way......The paths are easy going - all well laid out with slabs of stone to minimise footpath erosion. However, soon visibility was limited to the path and a few blades of grass to either side - we were climbing up, and up into a cloud and ferocious rain storm we went. We even lost each other briefly on the summit.... Fortunately it was Yorkshire's equivalent of Clapham Junction and other walkers reported seeing a 'lady in blue'. As we descended the skies cleared and we had a couple of hours of walking towards Horton with amazing limestone pavements to either side of us, and a wonderful view of Pen Y Ghent ahead.

Dales Valley 2015 EFOG 055The evening brought unbroken sunshine and all the summits were clear. Not quite so the next morning - the 'better' day turned out to be not exactly that, but we went up Pen Y Ghent anyway. We had lunch by the side of Hunt Pot - a very very deep crevice in the moor, with a cascading waterfall descending way, way down. Two of us added an extra loop to the way back to Horton - though following the 'Ribble Way' footpath was not exactly straightforward - or rather, some very large cows got rather in the way.

Dales Grikes 2015 EFOG 006The famed Pen Y Ghent cafe provided many hot drinks and a few tales. As we arrived one morning a couple of men were just leaving - they had just spent the night walking the Three Peaks (25 miles encompassing Whernside, Pen Y Ghent and Ingleborough). Not so long ago another couple of men had done the round trip three times in 24 hours. To 'qualify' you have to complete in 12 hours and a single circuit is sufficient! There is a log book held at the cafe which you can sign once you have 'qualified' - that's for another time!



Jenefer S.  31st October 2015

Greenwich to Ladywell

What an interesting and varied walk that was... Pam met us at Stratford – or maybe we met Pam at Stratford – on 10th October, and we took the DLR to Greenwich Cutty Sark where we began the walk.

Not unsurprisingly, the Cutty Sark was viewed on passing, as it is difficult to miss, and we soon entered Greenwich Park. I haven't done hills for a year and more, so it was with great relish that we were soon ascending the heights to Wolfe's Statue by the observatory, and using the opportunity to observe all the tourists observing all that is observable from there.

green london way 151008 06528artIn Maidenstone GroveAfter strolling down an avenue of sweet chestnuts, with foragers busy trying to steal the nuts from the squirrels and indeed in one case feeding the chestnuts to the dog, we exited the park by way of a gate that led to a little lane between grand houses onto an edge of Blackheath. Pam told us how the heath in olden days had been the gathering place of various anti-governmental marches on London: Wat Tyler, William Cade and 40,000 Cornish-men to name two and include another 40,000. More little lanes and grand and small (but all doubtless unaffordable) houses followed, together with a conduit that once helped provide the Royal Naval Hospital with water, and a particular area of lovely Georgian and Victorian cottages around the (to me) intriguingly-named Maidenstone Grove. Sometimes there is something in a name and location which seems that it might say more than is evident, and a little research later showed that at least someone else had thought so too. It was beneath this area that a series of caverns had once been known and used for 'purposes', and nearby Point Hill may even have long ago had a ritual temple atop, maybe even dedicated to the Horned God, Cernunnos.

green london way 151008 06531artPeering at the RavensbourneWe descended – after going up and down a lot (remember, I haven't done hills for a while) – to the valley of the River Ravensbourne. I suppose, pedantically, it shouldn't be the River Ravensbourne – just the Raven's Bourne. Pam told us that the river got its name after Julius Caeser's troops nearly died of thirst when they invaded this far (presumably because they lost their way from the Thames and couldn't find a pub) but luckily one of the army happened to notice a raven going overhead with a bucket of water in its beak which it had got from the bourne and hence they were saved. This seems a bit far-fetched to me, but if Pam says so...

Anyway, the Ravensbourne at this point was a bit of a concrete gully, but Sue did spot a Grey Wagtail, so it's better than it looked, and it did look quite nice near downtown Lewisham where it has been landscaped a bit to enhance flow, help alleviate flooding, and look pretty.

green london way 151008 06533artOn Hilly FieldsWe walked up from the river valley through suburban streets to emerge at Hilly Fields, a large open space which Pam told us had been saved from Victorian developers by the campaigner Octavia Hill. One of her newspaper articles was entitled “More Air for London”, which helps sum up things. Being 175 feet ASL, it is no surprise that we then walked down again – albeit the other side – to enter Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries, opened within a month of each other in 1858 as part of the new wave of Victorian cemeteries, once divided by a wall but now comprising a considerable open space. The Brockley part seems to be a lot less managed – although still in use – and the Ladywell end more open and mown. Out of the cemetery, there was still more downhill, passing a house with a plaque which indicates the position of the Ladywell mineral spring. This, presumably, was “Our Lady's Well” from which the area took its name. These mineral springs were purported to offer healing properties, and this one was supposed to help with eye problems. The Ladywell Tavern, nearer to the heart of things, for some reason had a dog's head on its pub sign. I can't think of a connection, but anyway a short way beyond that was Ladywell Station and the connection there was to Charing Cross.

Thanks to Pam for another thrilling instalment of the Green London Way series, and to Amina, Fozi, Fred, Jill, Lynne, and Sue for the company.

Paul Ferris, 10th October 2015

Constable Country Walk

Eleven of us turned up to meet Fritz at the corner cafe in pretty Dedham on a sunny Saturday morning on 22nd August. After a refreshing drink we set out alongside the River Stour, enjoying the sun as the heat soared.

Fritz gave us a potted history of John Constable on the way to the bridge where we stood and admired the view of Flatford Mill that Constable painted. The National Trust owns 400 acres in the area and has an interesting display of Constable’s work, including the miniatures that Constable drew in such detail before embarking on his 6 foot canvasses. We then passed Valley Farm on our way to Willy Lott’s Cottage which is in The Haywain.

Leaving the Stour valley we climbed through paths and fields in the increasing heat to East Bergholt. Thoroughly hot we stopped at a pub to cool down, apply more suntan lotion and have our lunch before moving on to the interesting church in East Bergholt. It has a bellcage which was erected as a temporary measure – in 1531. Constable grew up in East Bergholt but there is little original evidence left of his existence there.

Descending back to Dedham we had cake and tea in the arts centre and then left for home.

Brian U. 23 September 2015



Flatford 20150822 120531c

    The Group near Flatford Mill