Possible new 'Adventure Group'?
The idea behind this proposed group is to try a new adventure/experience once a month, something you have always wanted to try but never got around to, for example Go Ape, Segway, canoeing, archery, clay pigeon shooting, ice-skating, zip wire – the list is endless. Adventure is not just for the young, but the young at heart to give us memories! Expressions of interest should be sent to Chester U3A's Group Liaison Officer. A preliminary meeting is likely to be held late July or early August.
Friday Walking Group swelters in Shropshire, 6th July 2018
The Friday Walking Group enjoyed a hot day in Shropshire on 6th July. The walk started in Carding Mill Valley (near Church Stretton, then climbed Ragleth Hill, descended to Little Stretton, climbed to Pole Bank via Ashes Hollow, then returned via Townbrook Valley. Wonderful views of Caer Caradoc, Hope Bowdler, The Long Mynd and the Stiperstones. Dave Atkinson, a member of Chester Songwriters, provided musical entertainment on the top of Ragleth Hill by singing a couple of the many songs he has composed - a welcome interlude before the long climb up Ashes Hollow!
Click here for more Friday Walkers photos.
Friday Writers' Group has room for new members!
We meet once a month on the second Friday from 10am to 12 noon in members' houses. We are essentially a creative writing group with a democratic and supportive standpoint and the writing we do can take a number of forms. Don't worry if you don't have a flair for writing blank verse or sonnets as the work produced by our members is greatly varied and can include all types of genres from dark and scary stories to comic tales. Anything goes ....
Each session we work to a theme suggested by one of the group. We also like to find time to do a writing exercise to challenge our spontaneity.
Overall, it's fun. There's no considered right or wrong way to write and I continue to be astounded by the creativity and imagination of our members.
We've recently done some writing about the books that we loved in our childhood, written stories that start with the last line of another story, and woven random words into a narrative. Observation in a public place – or people watching and then writing something creative from that experience was an interesting one and great fun to do. So you can see that the subjects are varied and interesting and not at all scary – unless you want to make them scary!
Please give me a ring on 01244-314215 or email me if you would like to know more. I look forward to hearing from all you budding writers out there.
Su Sisung, Coordinator – Friday Writers' Group
Wednesday Walkers – walk from Llanymynech – 11th April 2018
Ten members came on a nine mile walk from the car park behind the Dolphin Inn at Llanymynech. The walk started by following the line of the mainly disused Montgomery Canal from near where it passes over the (river) Afon Cain. This route took us north to Llynclys and then back South through a nature reserve and up to a wooded ridge joining Offa's Dyke path. The path eventually dropped down past a deserted Llanymynech golf course, the base of the limestone cliffs to the panoramic observation platform (with views blocked by mist). The route continued with the limestone quarry on the left, down the English Inclined Plane and then through a tunnel ending at the Hoffmann Kiln. Since afternoon tea was not available in Llanymynech we took the cars to Llynclys (which we passed on the walk) and thus to the Cambrian Heritage Railway. This was opened by special arrangement and we had tea and cakes in one of the railway carriages.
Wednesday Walkers enjoy 10 mile walk in mid-Cheshire, 14th March 2018
Nine members of the Wednesday Walking Group enjoyed a good walk of nearly ten miles starting and finishing at the Whitegate Station Café – where we finished with drinks and home made cakes. Go for the cakes even if you don't do any walking! See the picture of us enjoying our elevenses at the locks on the Weaver Navigation. Thanks to Pam Hamill for leading and to John Hammond for the original route.
Wednesday Walkers have a memorable walk under and along Eglwyseg Cliffs, 14 February 2018
A small group of Wednesday Walkers enjoyed an energetic 10-mile walk on Valentines Day, starting at the 'Panorama Layby' above Llangollen, following Offa's Dyke Path to Words End, and returning along and above the Eglwyseg Cliffs. Weather conditions weren't ideal, comprising sleet, ice, gales, mud and slippery limestone, but the views were wonderful, and it was good to explore a new area. We followed the walk described here in reverse, with an interesting variation towards the end. Thanks, Ian, for organising such a challenging walk, and to Colin for taking the photos.
Bird Watching Group visits Burton Mere Wetland Reserve, 12th January 2018
Bird Watching Group 1 enjoyed a bleak cold Dickensian day at the Burton Mere Wetland Reserve on Friday 12th January 2018. Thanks to Bob Davies for the excellent photos.
Friday Walking Group's 'Christmas' walk, 1st December 2017
The Friday Walking Group enjoyed a relatively short walk to the summit of Foel Fenlli on 1st December 2017, and then proceeded to the Plas Hafod Hotel, just outside Gwernymynydd, for a most enjoyable Christmas lunch. Thanks to Dave Atkinson for arranging both the walk and the meal so proficiently, and for this group photo on the summit of Foel Fenlli
Bird Watching Group visits Martin Mere, 17th November 2017
Bird Watching Group 1 visited Martin Mere on 17th November, and enjoyed the murmuration of approximately 50,000 starlings as they approached their roost on the marshes. Not to be outdone, well over 100 geese also put on an impressive display!
Wednesday Walkers enjoy a splendid walk from Llanarmon DC 8th November 2017
The Wednesday Walking Group's November walk followed a route to the east and south of the starting point at Llanarmon DC in mid-Wales, with wonderful views across the Ceiriog Valley to the Berwyns. Thanks to Tony Crane for leading the walk, and to the Hand Hotel for providing us with a selection of tasty cakes after the walk. The photo, taken by John Brinkley, shows the group at the end of the walk adjacent to the Hotel.
Friday Walking Group visits The Wrekin, 3rd November 2017
The Friday Walking Group visited The Wrekin for the first time on 3rd November. The group has driven by The Wrekin on many occasions en route to walks round Church Stretton, but never stopped. Thanks to Mike and Janet for rectifying this omission. The right hand photo, which was taken earlier in the year from the Long Mynd by Dave Atkinson, shows clearly the ridge from Caer Caradoc to The Wrekin. The other photos were taken during the walk by Annie Bellinger.
Friday Walking Group visits Sedbergh, 15th to 18th July 2017
The Friday Walking Group visited Sedbergh this year for their annual holiday, staying at Thorns Hall, HF Holidays house in the town. The weather was hot and sunny, and the walking excellent. High level walks visited the Howgill Fells, the Mallerstang Edge and High Cup Nick. Lower level walks explored the Lune and Eden valleys and the area to the north of Appleby. Many thanks to Tony for co-ordinating such an enjoyable holiday.
Birdwatching Group visits North Wales, 2nd July 2017
On Monday 2nd July, 12 members of Birdwatching 1 went to North Wales. We spent the morning at 'The Spinnies' beside Penrhyn Castle. The hides there allowed us to see seabirds on one side a and a small tidal lagoon on the other. At sea, apart from the usual suspects, there was much discussion over a distant sawbill – was it a female merganser or a female goosander? Conclusion was that it was a female goosander as the red colour of the head was distinct from the white of the neck. On a Merganser it 'merges' from one colour to the other. No photos from us, but there are plenty on Google Images.
Lunch at Beaumaris – G & T battered cod plus chips and peas – for most of us, was followed by a cruise round Puffin Island on the Lander II. Did we see puffins? Of course – see the photo. There were also lots of gulls, guillemots, cormorants and shags. Harbour porpoise swam around the boat, and finally we saw the colony of atlantic grey seals - see photo. Thanks to Alan and Jan Millard for the organisation and Jenny Carley for the photos.
Music Performing Group: New members wanted!
Participants meet in small groups (duets, trios etc) to perform music together, with an emphasis on enjoyment. All genres of music are encouraged from classical to popular (musicals, film, folk, pop etc). The group is currently looking for more members and would particularly welcome woodwind and string players. All standards of playing are welcome.
Please contact Rob Green (01244-383836) if you're interested.
Craft Group makes heart shaped cushions for cancer patients
Another project some members of our craft group have undertaken this year – heart shaped cushions for breast cancer patients at The Countess of Chester Hospital. Over 3 dozen have been made so far. Well done ladies!
Friday Walkers have an energetic walk in the Peak District, 3rd June 2017
This walk was held on a Saturday to avoid the heavy traffic we would have encountered in Macclesfield on a Friday evening. The walk started at the Trentabank Visitor Centre in Macclesfield Forest, steadily climbing through the forest and up Shutlingsloe Hill, then dropping to Clough House before climbing over the moors to the Cat and Fiddle Pub. The return route followed paths and tracks to Forest Chapel (see photo), then down through Macclesfield Forest to the Visitor Centre. A visit to the Peak View Tearoom for tea and cakes capped an excellent days walking! Thanks to Peter Miles for organising a memorable walk.
Chester U3A Geology group visits Brymbo Fossil Forest
Chester U3A Geology Group visited the Brymbo Fossil Forest on May 23rd 2017. The Fossil Forest is part of the Brymbo Heritage Project, near Wrexham, which is now based on the old Brymbo Steel Works derelict site. The Steel Works were in operation between 1796 and 1990 – and one of the original blast furnace stacks remains on the site. The Brymbo Fossil Forest was discovered in 2003 during opencast mining for coal on the former Brymbo Steelworks site. Over the past five years, careful excavation by volunteers has revealed the only known fossil forest in Wales which is approximately 300 million years old. The group was shown around by Peter Appleton of the Brymbo Heritage Project when members explored the history of coal, iron and the fossil forest. In the group photo they are standing in front of an outcrop of the 'two yard coal seam'.
A new group – "Cryptic Crossword Puzzlers"
We often hear about the importance of mental, as well as physical, activity as we get older, and there is no better way to keep those little grey cells ticking over than by solving cryptic crossword puzzles! With this in mind, a few of us have formed a brand new group within Chester U3A, the "Cryptic Crossword Puzzlers ", for beginners and experts alike, and we had our inaugural meeting recently.
We aim to meet on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of every month, at 2 pm, in a house in Guilden Sutton, and will work together to solve cryptic crossword puzzles. We can do this as a whole group activity (all working on the same puzzle), or can split into pairs and compete against other pairs. However, both methods will involve bouncing ideas off each other and working collaboratively.
We can have little competitions, eg everybody take the same word or phrase away with them, and set a cryptic clue for it, ready for the next meeting. Absolute beginners who have never tackled cryptic crossword puzzles before will be most welcome, as we can teach them 'the lingo' – the puzzles are nowhere near as impenetrable as they first appear once people know the principles which are used in clue setting. Also, the sense of achievement when a clue is cracked is most satisfying. So come along and join us, and enjoy sociable and stimulating afternoons!
Please contact Vivian Downing (01244-300678) for further information.
Ambling Group meets the Gruffalo
Chester U3A's Ambling Group visited Delamere Forest on 10th March 2017, and enjoyed meeting the Gruffalo!
Wednesday Walking Group enjoys lunch among the snowdrops, 3rd March 2017
The Wednesday Walking Group's walk on 3rd March 2017 started at the Coed y Felin Nature Reserve, then headed for Cilcain along woodland tracks, bridleways and field paths. After a leisurely lunch amongst the snowdrops, the walk returned down the Alyn River valley to the start. Thanks, Helen, for a most enjoyable walk, for arranging a dry sunny day, and for avoiding most of the worst mud!
Craft Group makes quilts for Project Linus
A few of members of Chester U3A's Craft Group have been learning a new technique in quilting and decided to give the finished quilts to Project Linus. This is a group who make and distribute hand made quilts to children in hospitals, shelters, social services agencies or anyone who is in need of a hug.
Chester U3A's Italian holiday
8 days from 20th September 2017
Why not join us on our exciting holiday to Alassio on the Italian Riviera, on September 20th for 8 days half board. We always have a great time with like-minded people, and you are guaranteed to make new friends. We will arrange transport to the airport later.
Birdwatching Group visits Martin Mere, 6th February 2017
On Monday 6th February, Chester U3A's Birdwatching Group visited Martin Mere reserve near Southport. We saw about 40 different species of birds and watched the frantic feeding frenzy. However, in spite of an intense search, we failed to find Dusty Duck, the reserve mascot!
Easyrider Cycling Group Christmas lunch
The Easyrider Cycling Group held its annual Christmas lunch at the Cheshire Cat in December. This was also an opportunity to bid farewell to two well-known members of Chester U3A, Kathie and Gerald Hughes, who are emigrating to Australia to enjoy a new life with their family. We extend our best wishes to Kathie and Gerald and wish them good luck with their new electric bikes!
Easyrider Cycling Group circumnavigates the Wirral!
The Easyrider Cycling Group completed its annual all-day ride around the Wirral peninsular in October. Starting at Hooton station, eight intrepid riders rode to West Kirby, New Brighton, Birkenhead, Port Sunlight river park and back to Hooton. A total of 38 miles in very pleasant conditions. Click here to see a map of the route.
The group cycles on a weekly basis on a mixture of short and longer rides between 10 and 25 miles. Rides usually start and end at Kingsway in Chester. All cyclists are welcome. Click here for contact details.
Friday Walking Group heads for the Brecon Beacons, 26th to 30th September 2016
The Friday Walking Group headed for the Brecon Beacons this year for their annual holiday, staying at HF Holidays house in Brecon. The weather wasn't great, but, after a very wet first day on the Western Fans, the second day, spent amongst the waterfalls to the south of Fforest Fawr, was mainly dry, and the final day, across the Black Mountains and down to Hay-on-Wye, was sunny, with wonderful views. The accommodation, meals and company were excellent. Thanks to Tony for co-ordinating the holiday.
Wednesday Walkers enjoy Breidden Hills in hot, sunny weather, 14 September 2016
Wednesday Walking Group's visit to the Breidden Hills, near Welshpool, was noteworthy on several counts. The intended route to the start crossed the River Severn on a minor road that had been closed for maintenance, so an unexpected diversion had to be devised. The walk itself climbed steeply up to Rodney's Pillar on Breidden Hill (erected in honour of Admiral George Rodney), then crossed to Middletown Hill before returning via footpaths, fields and tracks. Thanks, Ian, for a most enjoyable walk. There was no café at the end of the walk, but the Lord Moreton Pub, on the outskirts of Chirk, provided much needed tea and cakes on the way home.
Craft Group is learning how to quilt!
Some members of Chester U3A's Craft Group are learning the skill of quilting. They are making a beginners group quilt, which they intend to donate to the local children's hospice for Christmas.
Friday Walking Group heads for Aber Falls, 3rd June 2016
The Friday Walking Group's walk on 3rd June headed south from Abergwyngregyn to Aber Falls (see photo), then headed west along the North Wales Coastal Path, with wonderful views across to Anglesey and Puffin Island. The walk returned along a minor road and paths, finishing with welcome tea and cakes in Abergwyngregyn. Thanks to Tony for a very enjoyable walk.
Wednesday Walking Group has lunch with the Gruffalo - 9th March 2016!
On 4th April 2014 Stephen O'Brien, Eddisbury's MP at the time, officially opened the Oakmere Way, a much needed link for walkers between the Whitegate Way and Delamere Forest. On 9th March 2016 Chester U3A's Wednesday Walking Group set off from Stoneyford Nursery and headed along this new bridleway to Delamere Station, then headed up Pale Heights, with its seven standing stones, before dropping down for lunch with the Gruffalo (see photo). The walk continued through Delamere Forest, round Blakemere Moss, and back to Stoneyford where we enjoyed tea and wonderful cakes.
Click thumbnails for bigger images.
New German Improvers Group concentrates on the spoken language
The German Improvers group is a small self-teaching group. Members have a basic knowledge of German but are all very 'rusty'. The group concentrates on the spoken language, with a small amount of necessary grammar. More information and contact details here.
'Industrial Heritage 3' visits JCB's World Headquarters at Rocester, 2nd March 2016
20 members of Chester U3A's Industrial Heritage 3 Group enjoyed an inspiring visit to JCB's World Headquarters at Rocester (near Uttoxeter) on 2nd March. The factory tour began with a short presentation on JCB's global manufacturing facilities and products. We then spent some time in the 'Story of JCB' Exhibition Hall, where our excellent guides led us through the story of JCB from its formation in the 1940s its position today as one of the world's leading construction and agricultural machinery manufacturers. We then moved on to the assembly line of the world famous Backhoe Loader machine , where we saw how the machine is built from the delivery of the sheet steel to the finished product! We finished with an excellent lunch in JCB's Hospitality Suite. Our thanks are due to JCB's staff who managed the visit so professionally and looked after us so well.
'Singing for Pleasure' group visits Harold Pinter Theatre
Four members of the Singing for Pleasure Group visited the Harold Pinter Theatre (formerly the Comedy Theatre until 2011) in London on Thursday 3rd March 2016 for a day's singing organised by the Third Age Trust. They worked with a West End musical director on four songs that are currently being performed either on the London stage or on tour. It was a long day but very enjoyable. These events are arranged annually so it's worth looking at the national website to see what's available.
'Industrial Heritage 1 Group' visits Hanson's limestone quarry and cement plant, 19th February 2016
Industrial Heritage 1 visited Hanson Cement on February 19th and saw the whole process from quarrying limestone at the Cefn Mawr quarry near Loggerheads to the finished cement being packed in bags at Hanson's Padeswood cement plant. Blasting at Cefn Mawr takes place twice a week. When the siren goes off, the local peregrine falcon knows to fly away until the blasting has finished! Crushers then reduce the size of rock before it is loaded onto lorries, weighed and transported 7 miles to the cement works at Padeswood, where it is crushed further using steel balls in a revolving drum. It is then blended with sand and other chemicals, and fired in a rotating kiln to produce cement. The photo shows most of the group inside the bucket of one of the giant diggers used at the quarry.
Wednesday Walking Group enjoys Offa's Dyke in the mud!
On 10th February our Wednesday Walking Group assembled at a small car park near Craignant. The walk headed south on Offa's Dyke Path to Carreg-y-big, before heading north through Selattyn and looping round to pick up Offa's Dyke Path again back to Craignant. Thanks to Annie Bellinger for leading this walk on terrain that was unknown to most (all?) of those taking part. A memorable walk on several counts – plenty of sticky mud, an unusual view of Chirk Castle from above, and a sheltered spot in the porch of Selattyn Church for lunch. Click thumbnails for bigger images.
Several new interest groups to whet your appetite!
Chester U3A members now have over eighty groups to choose from - see the Group Listing for details. The most recent interest groups include Meditation, Opera Appreciation, Social Justice and Singing for Pleasure. There are also vacancies in the Deeside and South Wirral Philosophy Group which usually meets in Chester.
Friday Walking Group braves icy wind and mist on New Years Day!
A select group from the Friday Walkers celebrated New Year's Day with a walk from Loggerheads. A good start to 2016 – despite the icy wind and mist on top of Moel Famau!
Friday Walking Group. Walk from Llandrillo, 2nd October 2015.
Friday Walking Group's walk on 2nd October started in misty conditions from Llandrillo, a small village between Corwen and Bala. The sun soon broke through as the group headed steeply uphill to Bwlch Maen Gwynedd, the col on the Berwyn ridge between Cadair Bronwen and Cadair Berwyn. A small group headed up to Cadair Berwyn before joining the others as they headed back to Llandrillo, via the Moel Ty Uchaf stone circle. Thanks, Tim, for organising this strenuous walk in such wonderful weather and for arranging tea and cakes afterwards at the Glyndwr Plant Centre.
Friday Walking Group. Walk from Loggerheads, 7th August 2015.
Friday Walking Group's walk on 7th August started from Loggerheads Country Park, then headed along the Alyn Valley to Llanferres before following Offa's Dyke Path to the Clwyd Gate and round Moel Gyw. Then across to Llanarmon-yn-lal, where we stopped for lunch, before heading back via Bryn Alyn (super views) and Big Covert. Thanks to Ian for devising such an interesting and energetic walk. We arrived back at Loggerheads just in time for tea and cakes at Caffi Florence.
Friday Walking Group. Walk from Hayfield, 3rd July 2015.
Friday Walking Group's walk on 3rd July started from Hayfield beneath cloudless skies and headed along the Sett Valley Trail for a short distance. The route then turned north to climb Lantern Pike, then dropped to the A624 before climbing Mill Hill. The walk then skirted Kinder Scout before dropping down William Clough to Kinder Reservoir and then Hayfield, where we visited an excellent tea shop for sustinence before heading home. Thanks to Garry for organising the walk, and for arranging such wonderful weather!
Two new groups - Line Dancing and Cycling
Two new groups have started. Line Dancing will be held on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month at The New Church, Dicksons Drive, and Cycling – Easy Riders will meet on the 1st Wednesday and 3rd Monday of the month at Lime Wood Fields, near Kingsway Shops.
Industrial Heritage Group learns about recycling and waste disposal, 1/4/15
The Kier Group was appointed by CWaC Council in April 2012 to deliver a new recycling and waste collection service to the borough's residents. Industrial Heritage 3 members visited the Kier Recycling Centre at Winsford on 1st April 2015, where they were given an illuminating presentation on what happens to the waste that is collected every week from outside our houses. They learnt that 57.5% of our household waste was sent for re-use, recycling or composting in 2013/14, a performance that puts CWaC into a creditable 17th position (out of 300) in the recycling performance table for local authorities in England. CWaC also topped Eunomias 2012/13 carbon league table by saving the highest amount of CO2 emissions of all disposal authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Following the Winsford visit, group members headed for FCC's Gowy Landfill Site, where the site manager provided a fascinating insight to the fate of our household waste that can't be recycled. Many thanks to our hosts at Kier's Recycling Centre and the Gowy Landfill Site, and, of course, to Jane Lewis who arranged the visits.
Birdwatching 1 and the Eclipse, 20th March 2015
The day dawned bright and clear on the 20th March for the Birdwatching 1 group trip to Ellesmere. But first there was the unusual sight of a solar eclipse to see. Before leaving home the eclipse was in the early stages (see photo). As the group assembled in Halfords car park the eclipse neared maximum and we found another use for binoculars (see photo), to focus a clear image on a sheet of paper. No danger to our eyes in this method and everyone can see the image of a small crescent sun 80+ percent obscured by the the moon. Then to our disappointment the cloud rolled in but, fear not, the eclipse could now be photographed directly. So then it was off to Ellesmere for good birdwatching round the Mere where 27 species were seen including this lovely Tufted Duck in brilliant breeding plumage and the first Chiffchaff of the year was heard. All in all a memorable day for us all.
Friday Walking Group walks from Llanddulas, 6th February 2015
Friday Walking Group's walk on 6th February started along the North Wales coast from Llanddulas to Old Colwyn, then followed a stream up through a small park and into the Fairy Glen area. The walk then looped round above Old Colwyn, over a varied mixture of open hillside, woodland and paved paths, partly on the North Wales Path, before descending past impressive cliffs back to a warm welcome at the Valentine Inn, in Llanddulas, where the group enjoyed tea, cakes and strawberry scones. Thanks to Tony for organising such an interesting walk.
Click here for more photos.
Digital Photography Group's photographic competition results
Chester U3A's Digital Photography Group held a photographic competition at their 2014 Christmas party. The winning entries are shown here. The overall winner and best compact shot was taken by Sue Thompson, the SLR category was won by Roger Howells, and the bridge category was won by Alan Gray.
Will all Craft Group members please note that all future meetings will be held at New Scene Youth Centre, Limewood Close, off Newton Lane, Chester CH2 2HH.
Birdwatching Group visits owl sanctuary near Corwen, 3/11/14
Birdwatching 1 had a different trip to their normal twice monthly pattern of birdwatching around the North West with a visit to the Owl Rehabilitation Centre in Bryneglwys on 3rd November. There we saw a collection of rescued owls and birds of prey. They care for owls from around the world which have been rescued from bad conditions and also native birds who have been injured. Those who make a full recovery are released back to the wild. Those that are permanently disabled are provided with a comfortable environment at the sanctuary for the remainder of their lives. It was amazing to see them up close, we normally only get to see birds like this from a distance through binoculars. Here we could see them less than a metre away. They vary in size from Little Owls to the Eagle Owls with wingspan of over 2 metres. This pair of Snowy Owls was a particular favourite. Our host Pam is dedicated to their care and welfare and it was inspiring to see the daily feeding round she undertakes.
Cycling for Softies group cycles from Llangollen to Chirk and back
Chester U3A's Cycling for Softies group's ride on 25th September started at Horseshoe Falls, where the Llangollen Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal draws its water from the River Dee, and proceeded along the canal via two tunnels and two aqueducts to Chirk, before returning by the same route. Click here to read more about this interesting ride, and to learn more about this cycling group.
Belated report on Friday Walkers walk in the Peak District, 5th September 2014
Friday Walking Group's September walk started at Standing Stone Car Park on the edge of Macclesfield Forest. The route climbed Shuttlingsloe, dropped to Clough House, climbed again over the moor to the Cat & Fiddle and Shining Tor, then down to Lamaload Reservoir before climbing back to Macclesfield Forest. The weather was excellent and the views were wonderful, but the high spot of the day was the visit to the Peak View Tearoom after the walk to sample their fantastic selection of cakes (see adjacent photo)!
Friday Walkers enjoy their walk from Beddgelert, 1st August 2014
Friday Walkers' walk from Beddgelert on 1st August is listed as one of the top 50 most scenic walks in Britain, having lovely views, legends, history and industrial heritage, and a café half way round! The weather was much better than had been predicted, and the hardy few who attended enjoyed a very good walk on rocky paths, tracks, moorland and pasture.
Wednesday Walkers sample the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway, 13th August 2014
Chester U3A's Wednesday Walkers walk on 13th August started at the Weshpool station of the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway. The 11 mile walk headed west via fields, tracks and roads, and finished at Llanfair Caereinion where the group enjoyed tea and cakes before returning to Welshpool by train. Thanks to John Brinkley who organised and led this interesting walk. John knows the area very well and provided us with plenty of interesting information about the railway en route.
Terracotta bowl put to good practical use!
Many of you will remember Chester U3A's memorable monthly meeting in December 2012 when the audience, all 200+ of them, were each provided with a small lump of Terracotta modelling clay, and were asked to shape it into a disc, a letter of the alphabet and something relating to their main hobby. All these individual sculpted shapes were then formed into a bowl (see photo on left), which was then fired and offered as a prize in a raffle. You'll no doubt be glad to know that this memorable work of art, rather than collecting dust in someone's attic, has been put to good practical use as plant pot - see photo on right.
Hover your cursor over the images to get bigger sizes.
Popular Science Lectures, 19th February 2014
26 people attended the Popular Science lectures on 19th February at the Bishops Bluecoat School in Boughton. Veronica Moroney told us about the complex geological history of the Southern Uplands of Scotland, which have kept geologists busy for the past 300 years. She was followed by Norah Clewes, who explained the technology of cochlear implants and how they can be used to give hearing to profoundly deaf people. Thanks are due to them, to Gordon Bowyer who managed the technology for us, and to the School for their hospitality. The next meeting will be on October 29th 2014.
Friday Walkers find a dry sunny day for their February walk!
In a horrible wet winter, ten members of the Friday Walkers were extremely lucky to have a dry sunny day for their walk on 7th February. The route started from Trevor, near Llangollen, and, after a climb through woodland on the Offa's Dyke Path, we enjoyed superb open views over the Dee valley and Castell Dinas Bran. As the paths continued upwards above Trevor Rocks the views extended to the Llantysilio range and the snow-covered Berwyn mountains. Finally we reached a point above the spectacular Eglwyseg cliffs and began our route back to the pub and a well-deserved afternoon tea.
Click here for more photos.
'Sunday at Seven' Survey
Photography Group - Christmas Dinner 2013
There was a very merry gathering at the Photography Group Christmas lunch held on 12th December at the Farmer's Arms in Kelsall, a new venue for the group. As you can see from the photo the group was well-served by the proprietors. The excellent photo collage was compiled by John Quinn, the group co-ordinator who also organised the lunch.
Chester U3A's Social Committee wants to know more about your preferences
Chester U3A's Social Committee would like to know what you expect from their social programme, so please help them to help you by filling in this survey form. Please print the form and return your completed form to the Social Table at one of the September meetings (3rd or 12th).
Holiday in the Dolomites for Chester U3A's Friday Walking Group
In July 2013 members of Chester U3A's Friday Walking Group travelled to Italy for a walking holiday in the spectacular mountain scenery of the Dolomites. Our comfortable base in the pretty ski resort village of Corvara offered guided or independent walking at grades ranging from (relatively) easy to quite challenging. Other activities enjoyed by members of our group included a more serious Via Ferrata route, guided wildflower walks in the flower-filled Alpine meadows where even non-enthusiasts were impressed by the Ladies Slipper orchids, a couple of firsts for the less-expert birdwatchers in the group (Nutcracker and Ring Ouzel) and watercolour painting days trying to capture it all in paint. Something for everyone in fact – and one of our party even celebrated her birthday with apple strudel at 6000 feet!
Friday Walking Group visits the Ceiriog Valley, 7th June 2013
Chester U3A's Friday Walking Group enjoyed a warm sunny day during their 10 mile walk in the Ceiriog Valley on 7th June. The walk headed north from Llanarmon DC towards the head of the valley, before looping round to return to Llanarmon. The group had a sandwich lunch adjacent to a Memorial to James Darlington, a former manager of Black Park Colliery near Chirk. Thanks to Tony Crane for a most enjoyable walk.
Strolling Group visits Moss Valley Country Park, Wrexham
The photo shows members of the Chester U3A's Strolling Group enjoying themselves on Monday 15th April in Moss Valley Country Park near Wrexham. The group strolls fortnightly over distances of up to 4 miles.
Birdwatching 1 Group visits Martin Mere, 4th February 2013
On the first Monday in February, Birdwatching 1 Group went to Martin Mere. We braved the wind, cold and rain to witness the wild swan feeds. There were lots of migrant birds - Whooper and Bewick's swans, Pink Footed geese and various ducks. However, Fred's 'bird of the day' was the Brambling seen on one of the feeders. All these birds have flown down from colder areas to feast on the riches of Lancashire's wetlands. The Bewick's swans come from as far away as Siberia!
Harry & Val Ryder step down as Photography Group co-ordinators
The annual Chester U3A Photography Group Christmas lunch was held at the Cherry Orchard, Chester on 13th December 2012. It was a double celebration. Another successful and enjoyable year ended as did Harry and Val Ryder's eight year stint as the Photography Group Coordinators. Harry and Val have worked tirelessly to support the group, and members expressed their gratitude by presenting them with gift vouchers and a card illustrating members' photos which had been signed by the whole group. All that focus on having a good time meant that those present failed to focus quite so well on the photography - so no photos of this great occasion! John Quinn has taken over responsibility for co-ordinating the group's future activities.
Wednesday Walkers head for the Cheshire Ridge for their first walk of 2013
The Wednesday Walking Group headed for the Cheshire Ridge for their first walk of 2013. The 8-mile walk started by the Candle Factory, headed north along the Sandstone Trail, looped back through Peckforton Woods, and then continued to Bulkeley Hill and Rawhead. It was slightly misty and a bit muddy in places, but no rain! Thanks, Tim, for leading the walk.
Thursday Strollers have a bracing walk by the River Dee
Current Affairs - New Study & Interest Group
A new Study & Interest Group, Current Affairs, has just started. Please contact George Horsman (01244-328281) if you're interested.
A full list of all our Groups can be found here.
Wednesday Walkers don't worry about a bit of frost!
Fourteen hardy walkers from Chester U3A's Wednesday Walking Group braved sub-zero temperatures on 12th December to enjoy a seven(ish) mile walk up and down Helsby and Frodsham Hills before retiring to the White Lion in Alvanley for a non-festive lunch. No silly hats and no crackers. Thanks to Gaye and Phil for sorting out the route and lunch. As a bonus, it didn't rain (or snow) all day.
Two new Study & Interest Groups!
Friday Walkers have a damp holiday in Northumberland, 24-29 September
Chester U3A's Friday Walking Group headed for Wooler for this year's walking holiday. It was very wet and windy for the first couple of days, but the weather improved as the week progressed. We avoided the rain on the first day by visiting Paxton House (just over the border), said to be "one of the finest examples of neo-Palladian architecture in the whole of Scotland". The extra-large chair in the adjacent photo is one of many items of Chippendale furniture in the house. Our three days of walking were in the northern Cheviots, firstly a circuit of the Breamish Valley from Ingram, then a walk from Wooler to Yeavering Bell, and finally a walk from Hethpool to the Scottish border along St Cuthbert's Way.
Thanks to the Tankerville Arms Hotel in Wooler for looking after us so well. Thanks also to Tony Crane for organising the holiday. Northumberland is a wonderful place for a walking holiday - so much to do and so few people!
Cycling for Softies completes circuit of the Wirral, 11th September (Report by Mavis Evans)
Well, WE DID IT!! Eight of us set off from Hooton - in a hail storm - on the Wirral circular trail. First 5 or so miles were not pleasant, freezing rain and blustery, but then the rain stopped and the route through Eastham Country Park and around the docks was really interesting. Terry took us on a short detour to see the bear pit. Stopped for lunch at Seacombe Ferry terminal where Ken locked a couple of the bikes together and then lost his keys! Well done Jim for finding them eventually, by which time Ken had been frisked a couple of times, a strip search was imminent! It rained again while we were at Seacombe but had stopped before we left to ride along the river path up to New Brighton, and didn't rain again until we were back at Hooton.
Word of warning - NEVER do this ride anticlockwise (yes, that's what we did). We were cycling into the wind all the way along the front to Hoylake, at times the gusts of wind actually stopped any forward momentum. Going the other way would have been a doddle!
From Hoylake we should have ridden around the Royal Liverpool golf course, but as the Ladies Open was playing they'd closed the public rights of way (I think so nobody could watch without paying) and we had to detour along roads. From West Kirby it was along the old railroad track, slight upwards incline most of the way - Hoylake/ West Kirby obviously are in a hole! - but after the battle along the front it was easy. Short break for drinks at Thursaston visitor centre then back to Hooton. Counting stops it took close to 8 hours, but in the other direction we could have knocked a couple of hours off that time.
We're talking of another go next year in spring/ summer when there's some decent weather. I thoroughly recommend it.
Birdwatching 1 visit Gigrin Farm. Report by Tim and Jenny Carley.
Birdwatching 1 visited Gigrin Farm at Rhyader, mid-Wales, on 3rd September. It's a long way, but the best place in the UK to see a lot of Red Kites swooping down about 50 feet in front of you. On the way, we called at a small reserve at Welshpool and had a pleasant lunch at the Elan Valley visitor centre - where some of us were lucky enough to see a pair of Dippers in the river. A good day!
Photography Group Meeting, 12th July 2012
At the Photography Group's bi-monthly meeting on 12th July, members showed their photos of a visit to the Capesthorne Hall Triathlon, the letter 'O' theme, a visit to Trentham Gardens, and 'Monochrome', the fun competition held at each meeting when members choose a different subject each time. Click here to see a selection of the photos.
Message for those interested in 'Cycling for Softies'
Apologies from Mavis Evans, co-ordinator of 'Cycling for Softies', who has mislaid the email addresses of several potential new members. Could you please contact Mavis again (01244-378337) if you're expecting a response from her, but haven't received anything.
Film History Group would welcome new members
This friendly group is now well-established and would welcome more members. Using an extensive variety of film extracts from all periods of cinema history we include anything and everything which has contributed to our cinemagoing enjoyment, past and present. We cover, for example, the evolution of films from silents to sound, colour and widescreen, film genres (e.g. comedy, costume drama), and the work of individual directors (e.g. Alfred Hitchcock) and stars. Much discussion evokes participants' nostalgic recollections of 'going to the pictures'. We meet at Christleton from 2.00 - 4.00 pm on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. Please contact Alan Coulson 01978-290685.
Six new Study & Interest Groups!
Six new Study & Interest Groups have been started over the last few weeks, namely Cycling for Softies, Film History, French Improvers, Knitting, Painting 2 and Psychology 2. A full list of all our Groups can be found here.
U3A Advice Sheet 10 - Useful Document for Group Co-ordinators
U3A's Advice Sheet 10 summarises the licences provided by The Third Age Trust to all U3As. The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) licence allows U3As to make multiple photocopies from books, journals or magazines, and the PPL licence gives U3As permission to play recorded music in public. Multiple copies of maps, charts, newspapers or printed sheet music are not allowed, and there is no blanket licence arrangement with film copyright holders or organisations to allow U3As to play DVDs or videos. Interest groups are usually covered by an exemption in the Copyright Law which allows the use of DVDs or videos for educational purposes.
Christmas Lunch photos
Chester Golf Club on 8th December.
The Cherry Orchard on 15th December.
Walk4life, a useful website for walking groups!
The Walk4life website is funded by the Department for Health and the BIG Lottery Fund, and aims to help as many people as possible to enjoy walking. The site provides information on thousands of walks in the UK, including many walks, ranging from easy to challenging, in Cheshire, North Wales and the Peak District. A useful resource for Chester U3A's many walking groups!
Successful Group Fair, 10th November 2011
A highly successful Group Fair was held in St Columba's Church Hall on Thursday 10th November. Representatives of all Chester U3A's groups were there to tell prospective members about their groups' activities. Many thanks to Sheila Young for organising the Fair and to group co-ordinators for creating such eye-catching displays.
Click here to see some of Geoff's excellent photos.
Wednesday Walkers have bracing day on Conwy Mountain
The Wednesday Walking Group's walk on 12th October started at Conwy, then climbed Conwy Mountain, dropped down to Sychnant Pass, looped round through Llechwedd and Groesfford, and then headed back to Conwy. The weather was overcast and bracing, but at least it was dry - very different from the hot balmy conditions experienced by those who checked out the route two weeks earlier.
Information for Group Co-ordinators
There's a new page, primarily for the use of Group Co-ordinators, on this website. Click here to find links to the Group Co-ordinators Handbook and to other useful documents.
To access this page in the future hover over 'Study & Interest Groups' on the navigation bar, then click 'Group Co-ordinators'.
Tuesday Walkers at Dunham on the Hill
On Tuesday 18th October, Brian Holyoak led a party of 10 Tuesday Walkers on a six mile walk from Dunham on the Hill. The weather was reasonably kind - only a couple of showers. The walk ended with a lunch at The Plum Tree where we were joined by two of our 'resting' members.
Thanks to Brian for a good day and to Tim for the photos.
Visit by the Industrial Heritage Group to Astley Green Colliery Museum, Friday 23rd September 2011
We had an excellent guided tour of the site which is dominated by the headgear. It is the last surviving colliery of the South Lancashire Coalfield and was saved because of the unique steam winding engine. The pit opened in 1908 and reached a depth of ½mile. The bitumen coal was transported via the nearby Bridgewater Canal. The mine closed in 1970. We handled the equipment that the miners carried which, in total, was very heavy and we saw the large machinery and colliery locomotives.These are just the highlights of a most interesting visit. (Report by Margaret Hodson, group co-ordinator.)
Photos taken by Margaret Hodson. Click on a thumbnail to get a bigger image.
Friday Walkers have a bracing holiday in Leyburn, 11-16 September 2011
The arrival of 10 members of the Friday Walking Group in Leyburn, on the eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, coincided with the arrival of the remnants of Hurricane Katia, so the walking over the first couple of days was restricted to low levels, mainly in Wensleydale, and was quite bracing. Later in the week, when the wind had dropped, it was possible to climb higher in beautiful sunny conditions, with wonderful views of Arkengarthdale and Swaledale. Accommodation was in Eastfield Lodge, Collett's only 'Walking Lodge' in the UK, where the group was looked after exceptionally well by Dave and Pol. Many thanks to Phil and Gaye for organising the holiday.
Thursday Strollers visit to Coniston, 14-17 June 2011 (report by Di George)
Travelling up we all unknowingly stopped at the same stop for a coffee before going on into the lakes which was great so we all went off in convoy and met at the planned stop for the walk up and around Tarn Hows, which was very beautiful and obviously a very popular beauty spot. We did find out however a better way to get there which would have cut out a rather long walk up hill at the beginning. However, it was nice to get out of the car and stretch our legs.
After the walk, we travelled on for about half an hour to Coniston and the Hotel. We were much releived that we had managed to get 11 people into 3 cars as their parking spot only took 4 cars. However, this all worked out OK, but would not do if we went there again with more people. The hotel owners, Peter and Beverley, made us very welcome, the food was very good although some had a little trouble squeezing into their showers! Is there a message here?
The next morning, it was raining whilst we had breakfast, so we decided to abandon the idea of a trip on Coniston Water, and walk along the lakeside to Torver where we sat in the sun outside a pub for a welcome cup of coffee/tea. Here we said goodbye to Noreen and Eddie who caught a bus back to Coniston. We carried on for another hour back towards the lake and sat on the Torver Jetty and ate our packed lunch, which included sandwhiches, fruit, chocolate, crisps and salad for those who wished. Energised we continued back along the lakeside back to Coniston.
After a lovely evening meal, everyone decided to do their own thing. The oldie goldies to relax and watch TV or read and the younger ones to go and investigate the village.
The next day again started with rain, but again, once we set off, the sun came out and there was a little cloud which made it perfect for walking. We drove off to Ambleside and parked in the town, and soon picked up the route for the Loughrigg Terrace. Again, as in yesterdays walk, John (Mavis's husband) was a great help with his map reading skills, as we ladies were very much thankful for later on. The information we had from the internet specified 3 to 4 miles but in the end it turned out to be 8 miles. However, before we realised this, we enjoyed our lunch at what must be one of the most beautiful views in the lakes. We looked out over Elterwater and Windermere, and the river Brathay below. Absolutely stunning! Onwards, it was soon obvious that the walk was longer than anticipated, and luckily John was able to pinpoint a hotel which we ladies could make for and which was on the way back to Coniston. So we parted ways, the men continued another 2 miles, which I gather was very hard, whilst we ladies enjoyed a very welcome cup of tea. A fantastic day. I think this walk could be done again by walking the first half and then following a lower route back the way we started. This would be well worth doing again.
The last evening we were invited to make up two teams for a quiz night in the bar. Unfortunately for the locals one of our teams won!
For our first adventure of this kind it was a great success, and I would like again to put on record my thanks firstly to Roy and Shirley who first came to me with information for walks in the Lakes. Secondly to Noreen who came up trumps with the hotel, as we were having trouble finding somewhere. Thirdly to Shirley again for her enthusiasm and work she put in finding walks and for being so supportive. And lastly to everyone for just joining in.
Friday Walkers have an eventful walk on the White Peak, 5th August 2011
The Friday Walking Group set off from the Cat & Fiddle to do a circular walk via Three Shires Head, Knotbury and Axe Edge Moor. All went to plan until just after Knotbury in a fairly remote location, when Sue went over on her ankle and was unable to even hobble. A telephone call to the Emergency Services led to a startling succession of emergency vehicles to deal with Sue's problem. First on the scene was a Community First Responder, followed by a Community Paramedic from Leek. Next to arrive was an East Midlanda Air Ambulance emergency helicopter from Tatenhill Airport (near Burton upon Trent), and finally an ambulance from Macclesfield. Sue's leg was strapped up and she was whisked away to Macclesfield A&E, where her ankle was X-rayed and diagnosed to be a bad sprain. We are very grateful to the emergency personnel who helped us - we were most impressed by their efficiency and professionalism. Click here for a few photos taken by Nicolette during the walk and the 'rescue'. Thanks, Jenny, for an eventful walk!
Birdwatching 1 at the seaside! Report by Tim Carley.
On 1st August Birdwatching 1 went to the seaside! In the morning, we visited Marshside RSPB Reserve on the coast road just north of Southport. Although there was not much water in the pools - indeed some of them were bone-dry - we did have a successful days birding. And indeed it was worth the journey to see the Avocets (see pictures). Then, after an excellent lunch in Churchtown, we went to Meresands Reserve which is managed by Lancashire Wildlife Trust. There was more water here (see pictures), though many of the gulls and ducks were standing rather than floating in the water. A few more 'ticks' were added to the list. The best in the afternoon? Personal choice was a beautiful Common Tern. Thanks to Nicolette for the photos.
Visit to Anglesey by Bird Watching Group
Bird Watching 1 had brilliant day out to Anglesey on Monday 4th July. This trip had been postponed because of bad weather and we reaped the rewards. It was gloriously sunny and warm, with very little wind, so conditions were ideal. South Stack, our first stop, was also looking pretty, with a great range of flowers to divert us, as well as plenty of birds. We were delighted to see there were still kittiwake chicks in their nests. Further round towards the lighthouse we had good views of puffins, seeing some fly in off the sea as well as strutting their stuff on a grassy ledge. After lunch we went on to the tern colony at Cemlyn Bay. There we had excellent views of several species of tern - we could smell them too, the wind was definitely in the wrong direction! Terns flew over us from the bay at very close quarters with fish in their beaks to feed their young.
New Industrial Heritage Group to meet on 20th July
Friday Walkers off to Moel Eilio, Snowdonia (1st July 2011)
The Friday Walking Group spent a glorious day in Snowdonia on 1st July. Starting in Llanberis, the route ascended Moel Eilio, then followed the ridge over Foel Gron and Foel Goch before looping back to Llanberis. The views were stunning in all directions - north east to the Glyders and Tryfan, south east to Snowdon, and south to the Nantile Ridge. The walk finished with the usual mandatory café stop, this time in the excellent Pete's Eats in Llanberis. Thanks, Paul, for a memorable walk.
Visit to see Tissington Well Dressings
A group of Chester U3A members headed off to see the Tissington Well Dressings on 6th June. Click here to see Muriel Teece's account of the visit, and here to find out more about the practice of well dressing, involving a succession of different villages in the Peak District dressing their wells between the end of May and early September.
Greetings cards for sale at July meetings
The Craft Group will have a sales table at our meetings in St Columba's Church Hall on Tuesday 5th July and Thursday 14th July, and will be selling its usual range of greeting cards for all occasions. The Group, which meets twice a month, has room for a few more members - please contact Myra Bowyer, the group co-ordinator, if you are interested (01244-371779).
Useful website for our Walking Groups?
The recently formed 'Wednesday Walking Group' is the seventh walking group in Chester U3A, and this number may rise to eight if the proposed Sunday Walking Group for dog walkers gets off the ground! The Happy Hikers website is unlikely to be of much interest to those who favour short local walks, but might be worth a visit by those who walk longer distances and are willing to travel. Many of the featured walks are in the Yorkshire Dales, which is a bit far for a day trip, but the walks in the Peak District are more accessible.
Photography Group Meeting - Mollington 12th May 2011
New Community Groups
These groups are intended for those of you who want to get to know your U3A neighbours and meet for coffee, to discuss the U3A, share transport, accompany each other on social occasions etc - to do whatever your group decides it needs. Five Community Group areas with the following postcodes have been set up :
- CH66 2 - Great Sutton
- CH3 5 - Boughton Heath
- CH1 6 - Saughall
- CH2 1 - Upton Area
- CH4 7 - Westminster Park
Proposed Sunday Walking Group
Veronica Moroney writes: 'There may be others like me who like to relax on a Sunday by walking some gentle hills and forest trails but do not want to do very long walks, or may be dog owners and therefore barred from most other walking groups. I am proposing to start such a group - the frequency, length of the walks and the dog numbers to be decided at an initial meeting at my place. You don't have to have a dog but tolerance of our canine friends would be a requisite. If you are interested please call me on 01244-679686, leaving your name and phone number. I look forward to hearing from you.'
Industrial Heritage Group visits Alderley Edge, 20th May 2011
On Friday 20th May 2011 the Industrial Heritage Group travelled to Alderley Edge. Before lunch, the Group enjoyed a walk (ably led by Judy Wilson) visiting the surface features of the copper mining activities carried out there since Roman times. In the afternoon, the Group went on to Nether Alderley Mill where they were given a fascinating guided tour by two members of the 15th century Mill's National Trust management team. Some of the machinery of the Mill driven by three waterwheels running in series was demonstrated. The Mill is to be closed temporarily to the public shortly to allow much needed renovation work to be carried out, and it is expected to be reopened by the end of the year.
Several members of the Group will be returning to Alderley Edge in September for an underground tour of sections of the copper mines, to be led by members of the Derbyshire Caving Club who maintain the mines.
Wednesday Walking Group off to the Clwyd Hills
The new Wednesday Walking Group headed to the Clwyd Hills in wonderful weather on 27th April. Tim's 12km route included the summits of Penycloddiau and Moel Arthur, with views of Snowdon and the Arans. Don't be misled by the photo - the walk was more energetic than it looks! Please contact Tim Carley (01244-680460) if you're interested in joining this new group.
Holiday in Lake District for Strolling and Ambling Groups
Strolling and Ambling group members enjoyed a short holiday at Monk Coniston, Cumbria from 15th to 18th April 2011, led Judith Hobbs. The weather was excellent and the group enjoyed many walks over varied terrain, including a visit to Brantwood, the former home of the John Ruskin. Click here for a few photos. One photo shows a fallen tree 'spiked' with coins. We hasten to add that none were removed!
Collecting Group learns about Pie Funnels at Boughton Hall, 11th April 2011
The Chester U3A Collecting Group met recently to learn more about this fine collection of Pie Funnels and their history. This group has recently started meeting at Boughton Hall, Chester. New members welcome. Please ring Mary Sherman (01244-344117) if interested.
First walk of the year in Snowdonia for Friday Walkers
18 members of the Friday Walking Group met at the Sychnant Pass car park, 2km to the west of Conwy, on 1st April, and enjoyed a scenic walk in bright windy conditions. The walk headed west across open moorland, traversed the Jubilee Terrace round Foel Lus (above Penmaenmawr), then looped round to return to the start. Many thanks to Pat for planning and leading the walk.
Birdwatching Group's surprise sighting of Waxwings!
On Monday 7th March members of Birdwatching 1 were assembling in Halfords car park for their trip to Hoylake when, to great surprise, a flock of waxwings were seen in the trees. These winter visitors had not been seen in the flesh before by many of the group and so their departure was delayed whilst binoculars, scopes and a camera were deployed! Click here for photos of the waxwings and a photo of the group later in the day at Hoylake.
Birdwatching Group off to Pennington Flashes, 7th February 2011
Birdwatching1 had a wild trip to Pennington Flashes near Wigan on Monday 7th February - wild because it was incredibly windy. But we still saw over 35 species of birds - at the sheltered woodland hide we had good views of many different birds feeding. These photos show Long Tailed Tits on the fat balls, a pair of Bull Finches and a male Bull Finch enjoying the seeds on one of the tables. Thanks to Nicolette for the photos, which were taken by a pocket digital camera at the limit of its magnification.
Friday Walkers brave slippery conditions during first walk of 2011
Are they mad? No less than twelve Friday Walkers braved the slippery roads and snowy paths to enjoy a bracing walk over Burwardsley, Bickerton and Bulkeley Hills. Nobody fell, nobody crashed, and the toasted teacakes (and other delights) were most welcome as they finished the walk at The Candle Factory. Thanks to Stephen for a great walk. Thanks to Tim and Nicolette for these photos.
Photography Group's photos of Beeston/Peckforton and of subjects beginning with 'W'
Click here for some of the photos that were displayed at the Photography Group's meeting on 18th November 2010. Six were taken during a trip to Beeston and Peckforton, and three relate to a 'letter W' theme.
Interesting visit to Manchester, 24th November
Many thanks to Mary Vives, who escorted a group of about 30 members of Chester U3A to Manchester. We visited the Jewish Synagogue Museum and the BBC studios. The museum was fascinating and gave us great insight into Jewish religion, customs and traditions. The tour of the BBC studios included the BBC Philharmonic studio, the special recording room for radio drama, and the North West Tonight studio (one member was allowed to sit in Gordon Burns chair!). Later, Muriel Teece gave a terrific presentation of the weather forecast - she was a real pro and our guide said it was the best he had heard! Click here for Muriel's account of the visit.
Birdwatching Group braves freezing conditions!
Monday 6th December, and Birdwatching1 were out in the sunshine (and frost) to see what the high tide brought to Flint Castle. The sun shone all day, we saw lots of birds, the co-ordinator got breathalysed (it was a spot check) and was given the all clear. A good lunch at Halfway House (no alcohol for the co-ordinator), then another hour in the West Hide at Deeside Naturalists site in Flint. A good day was had by all, and we only had two falls on the ice, fortunately with no injuries, only embarrasment.
Thursday Strollers' off to Black Lake (Delamere), 21 October 2010
Thursday Strollers' latest walk was to Black Lake in Delamere Forest, followed by lunch at the Fishpool pub. The weather started off wet but by the end of the walk the sun was shining. What's a bit of rain among friends! Black Lake dates from the end of the last Ice Age as the glaciers melted, leaving behind large boulders and blocks of ice. These blocks melted to form 'kettle holes', some of which these are now occupied by meres, which are a feature of the area. Click here for a photo of the group by the lake.
Industrial Heritage Group visits Appleby's Cheese, 20 August 2010
On 20th August, members of the Industrial Heritage group travelled to Hawkstone to visit Appleby's Cheese. They are the last remaining producer of traditional farmhouse Cheshire cheese and use milk from their own cows and granny's recipe. The enthusiastic Appleby family showed us all stages of the process, from the milking parlour right through to sampling the final product - a far cry from the usual bland mass-produced Cheshire. The smell in the storage room where the cheeses are ripened for several weeks was particularly memorable.
In the afternoon we visited Whitchurch Heritage Centre, where an ex-employee of the local clock-making company of JB Joyce gave us a talk about the history of the firm, which was established in 1690 and is the oldest maker of tower clocks in the world. A very interesting and enjoyable day was then rounded off with a visit to a nice, old-fashioned tea shop!
Trip to Llanddwyn Island by Geology Group, 20 September 2010
On Monday 20 September, 13 members of the Chester U3A Geology Group, led by Terry Clarke, travelled to Anglesey to explore the geology of Newborough Forest and Llanddwyn Island. In the Forest, a new Geology Trail is being set up, and the group, with the help of the Newborough Forest Manager, examined the main features of the as yet undocumented new Trail.
After a picnic lunch sitting in warm sunshine on 'pillow lavas' on the beach, the group moved on to clamber amongst the rocks around the coast of Llanddwyn Island, shown recently on the BBC's 'Coast' programme. Some of the most striking geological features were seen at their best due to the prevailing low tide conditions, and excellent cups of tea and scones at a local café rounded off a very enjoyable and informative day.
Click here for photos taken during the visit.
Successful Co-ordinators Meeting, 18 September 2010
The Co-ordinators meeting at the Quaker Meeting House on 18th September went well, judging by the vibrant discussions. The buffet lunch after the meeting was enjoyed by all. You can find more about what went on the meeting from the following:
Friday Walkers off to Kinder Downfall, 3 September 2010
Friday Walkers were blessed with a wonderful sunny day on 3rd September. Starting at Hayfield the route headed for Kinder Reservoir, then climbed up William Clough to join the Pennine Way at Ashop Head. The walk then followed the edge of the Kinder Plateau, past Kinder Downfall to Edale Cross, before turning west along Oaken Clough and dropping back via Tunstead Clough Farm to Hayfield. Thanks to Tim and Jenny for organising the walk. Jenny had a senior moment amongst the rocks, but emerged with no more than a few grazes and bruises. A small price to pay for those stunning views! Click here for a few photos.
Thursday Strollers lucky with the weather on Hilbre Island - 19 August 2010
Damp conditions on Y Garn for Friday Walkers
6 August 2010
The Friday Walkers aren't put off by a little rain, or even quite a lot of rain, in fact almost continuous rain, wind, mist .......! These were the conditions on 6th August when an intrepid group ascended the 3100ft peak of Y Garn in Snowdonia and completed a short but fairly strenuous circuit with a descent through the steep, rocky Devil's Kitchen to Llyn Idwal. Judging by the bedraggled but curiously happy faces in the summit photo they even quite enjoyed it! Thanks to Stephen (The Rain King) Trumper for leading us safely in difficult conditions.
Industrial Heritage Group visits Cheddleton and the Caldon Canal, 16 July 2010
On 16 July the Industrial Heritage Group enjoyed a visit to the Flint Mill at Cheddleton and industrial heritage sites at Froghall and Consall Forge on the beautiful Caldon Canal in Staffordshire. Click here for a report on the visit and a few photos.
Strolling Group's Thurstaston walk, Friday 2 July 2010
Starting from The Cottage Loaf (Thurstaston, Wirral) the Strolling Group enjoyed fine weather as they repeated a stroll they had made some time ago. Everything looked different of course, especially as the group reversed their previous direction of stroll. Click here for a photo of the group on the beach.
Friday Walking Group walks from Llangynog to Pistyll Rhaeadr, 2 July 2010
This energetic walk on 2nd July 2010, measuring about 13km with about 650m climbing, was led by Tony and Esme. It started at Llangynog and headed north towards the Berwyns before dropping down to a picnic lunch above the waterfall at Pistyll Rhaeadr. The return route included a steep descent towards the Afon Tanat valley, followed by a leisurely walk into Llangynog, where the local pub provided welcome drinks! Click here for a few photos, taken by Helen Holyoak. An archive of reports and photos of Friday Walking Group's walks can be found here.
Birdwatching Group sees Puffins at South Stack - 2 June 2010
On Friday 18th June Birdwatching 1 set off for the RSPB reserve at South Stack cliffs on the tip of Anglesey with hopes of seeing Puffins and Choughs. Low and behold the sun shone and after seeing hundreds of guillemots, some ten Puffins were seen outside their burrows followed by a group of three Choughs. A short stop at RSPB Valley Wetlands (across the road from the RAF station) produced more birds along with some amazing orchids in the damp grassland before the 100 mile trip back to Chester. Click here for a few photos of the birds (taken by Jenny and Andrew).
More accomplished photos from the Photography Group
The Photography Group organised two visits during May and June. The first visit, on 20th May, was to Knutsford and the Birds of Prey Centre. Members found the Birds of Prey Centre so interesting that only one person visited Knutsford! The second visit was to Llangollen on 10th June. A selection of Birds of Prey photos can be found here, and photos of Knutsford and Llangollen here.
The group met at Mollington Village Hall on 8th July to display their photos. The theme for the Mollington meeting was the letter 'D'. A selection of 'letter D' photos can be seen here.
More excellent photos from the Photography Group!
On May 13th the U3A Photography Group met at Mollington Village Hall to display and discuss the photos taken by a few members at Anderton and Marbury during April, although the group seems to have concentrated on Anderton for their inspiration. Click here for a selection of photos.
The theme for the Mollington meeting was the letter 'N' which resulted in some very interesting and imaginative photos. Click here for a selection.
Geology Group discusses the 'Properties and Identification of Minerals', 27 April 2010
The Geology Group met at Mollington Village Hall on 27th April 2010 for a discussion about minerals. Using samples, Bob discussed various aspects of mineral identification through lustre, shape, colour, streak and specific gravity (density) which were then highlighted by a practical demonstration. Bob was followed by Barbara who discussed mineral 'hardness' with the group. The meeting ended with 'hands-on' identification of samples. Click here for a few photos of the meeting.
New location and time for Chester U3A's Photography Group (update)
Another successful visit to Caerlaverock by 'Bird Watching 1' Group, 22-26 February 2010
Chester U3A's 'Bird Watching 1' Group has been visiting Caerlaverock Wetland Centre on the north shore of the Solway Firth for many years. This years visit was as enjoyable as ever - see Tim Carley's report to find out what they did and saw.
Chester U3A's Photography Group visits Portmeirion, 11 February 2010
The Photography Group makes regular visits to suitable locations for photography. The Group's most recent outing on 11th February 2010 was to Portmeirion, an 'Italianate' resort village in Gwynedd, on the coast of Snowdonia. They had a glorious sunny day and a sample of their excellent photos can be seen here.
Tuesday Walkers' first walk of the year, 19 January 2010
For the first walk, we did a circular route from the Cock O'Barton (on the A534 near Broxton), taking in some of the six parish millenium walk. We were ably led by Harry Corner, but as you can see from the picture, high stiles, mud and short legs don't make an easy combination. Those who visited the Gents at the Cock O'Barton were faced with one of the walk's biggest challenges - we don't unfortunately have a photograph, but you could always give the pub a visit ..... !