Invitations to ECR Group AGM and Cheshire East Area AGM

  1. ECR Annual General Meeting

All members are invited to our AGM, which will take place via Zoom on Saturday 14th November 2020 starting at  3 pm. Please contact jane.gay@icloud.com between 9th and 13th November for access to the link.

Papers for the AGM will be available on the website during the week ending Saturday, 31st October 2020.

Any member wishing to submit a motion should put it in writing with the names of the proposer and seconder to be received by the Secretary not later than Tuesday 3rd November. Contact details are:

email: secretary@ramblerseastcheshire.org.uk

All officers and committee members retire each year but are eligible for re-election. The following are standing for re-election:

Jane Gay (Chair), Colin Finlayson (Treasurer), Dave Barraclough (Footpath Committee Secretary), Sue Munslow (Membership Secretary), Kathryn Carty (Committee Member), Keith Anderson (Lost Ways) and Maggie Swindells (Social Secretary)

We need at least two more members to join the committee.  We have a vacancy for Publicity Officer as well as the post of Secretary or Social Secretary which will become available in the near future.  Expressions of interest will be very welcome.

If you wish to stand for any of the Officers position or as a Committee Member, or you wish to nominate anyone else, please send the candidate’s name and statement of their willingness to stand, together with names of the proposer and seconder, to the Secretary (contact details above) by Saturday, 2nd November 2020.

  2. CHESHIRE EAST AREA AGM (comprising the three Groups of East Cheshire (i.e. ourselves, Congleton and South Cheshire)

This meeting will be held on Monday 30th November at 7.30 pm. Information about this will be posted on the ECR website.

EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS SOCIAL CALENDAR 1st OCTOBER 2020

01-10-20 EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS SOCIAL CALENDAR 2020 Thank you to all those involved in organising these events, any suggestions or ideas about an event would be warmly welcomed. Please don’t hesitate to contact me on: Maggie Swindells maggieswindells@gmail.com  07729327940 /01625 829671
       
Friday 20th March 1.30 pm Stockport Guided Walk with Judith Wilshaw organised by Maggie Swindells   POSTPONED to 2021
 4th and 5th April National Conference  Bristol CANCELLED
Friday 12Th April  Start of fortnightly Strollers’ walking programme CANCELLED
Thursday 23rd April Bombay To Mumbai Indian – meal organised by Andy Davies CANCELLED
Friday 24th April to Sunday 26th April Long Walkers Weekend – Aberystwyth to be organised by Colin Park CANCELLED
Thursday 14th May Provisional start of evening walks organised by Steve Hull CANCELLED
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June Weekend Away  Patterdale organised by Jane Gay POSTPONED TO 2021
Thursday 25th June Coach Trip Settle organised by Anne Thompson CANCELLED
Monday 29th June ‘Footpath Inspectors Gathering’  3.30 pm Macclesfield Tennis Club organised by the Footpath Committee POSTPONED
Thursday 2nd July ECR Walk Leader Training Macclesfield Tennis Club (more details to follow) POSTPONED
Saturday 4th July Walk with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay CANCELLED
Friday 7th August to Sunday 9th August Long Walkers Weekend – Anglesey (exact location to be decided) to be organised by Steve Hull CANCELLED
Thursday 20th August Meal following final evening walk provisional booking at Farm Made, Rainow organised by Nick Wild CANCELLED
Saturday September 5th Coach Trip organised by Gina Thompson and Maggie Swindells POSTPONED 2021
Friday 18th to Sunday 20th Sep Ambleside Weekend away – Andy Davies POSTPONDED
Saturday 12th September (date change) Walk with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay CANCELLED
Saturday 31st October Ceilidh and Supper at the Victory Hall Mobberley  organised by Tony Battilana  CANCELLED
Saturday 14th November 2020 ECR AGM ZOOM MEETING
30th November 2020 Ramblers Association Area AGM ZOOM MEETING
Saturday 5th December Christmas Carol short walk – Jenny Bordoli CHRITMAS CAROLS CANCELLED WALK WILL STILL GO AHEAD
Saturday 12th December Week End Christmas Lunch at The Windmill organised by Teresa Marshall preceded by a walk organised by Jane and Frank Gay. CANCELLED

MINUTES OF EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS MEETING 1st October 2020

MINUTES OF EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS MEETING HELD

                       Thursday 1 October 1.30pm via Zoom

ATTENDANCE

Jane Gay

Colin Finlayson

Dave Barraclough

Kathryn Carty

Keith Anderson

Maggie Swindells

  1. APOLOGIES

None, all present

  • MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING

The minutes of the previous meeting held on August 11 were approved.

  • MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MINUTES

No matters arising.

  • WALKS PROGRAMME

It was generally felt that the programme was going well.  People were managing to socially distance and were doing so without prompting.  It wasn’t a concern that there were gaps in the programme as the Covid situation could rapidly change the current rules.

People weren’t complaining about doing the risk assessment so that was good.  It isn’t anywhere near as onerous as it maybe first appeared.

The higher numbers had been on the short walks.  Pub lunches were sorted out by the walkers themselves as this was not appropriate for the walk leader to do so in times of Covid.  Jane had 21 on her walk and this proved a little challenging with different walk speeds.  It would be a good idea if easy short walks were put on the programme, say on a Friday, until the stroller walks return next spring.  This would require a different co-ordinator.  Mid-week short walk numbers are getting into the high teens.  This raised the matter of the leaders and back markers keeping in contact and it was suggested that the back marker wear a fluorescent gilet which the walk leader could take along.  Any expense incurred in its purchase would be reimbursed.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to try out.

  •  WALK LEADER RESPONSIBILITY

The most important job is to return to base with the same number as that starting out.  We don’t want to keep reminding leaders of the mantra to keep in visual contact with the back marker, but committee members, when on walks, could instil this by gently reminding the walk leader to wait at stiles whilst people catch up, and, especially where there is a turn off.  A gap in a group can quickly develop and group numbers need regularly checking.

It was suggested once again that backmarkers and leaders should have each other’s mobile numbers but it was remarked that not all walkers carry mobiles though this is to be encouraged.  It is also a good idea for the register to have mobile rather than landline numbers and for the register to be taken on the walk.  It is of course acknowledged that not all walkers have mobile phones.

  • AGM MATTERS

The AGM will be held at 3pm on Saturday 14 November via Zoom.  It is anticipated that there will be far fewer participants than usual.  The short walk led by Frank and Jane will go ahead in the morning as usual.  Medium and long walks can go ahead as the AGM will not be a “physical” meeting.  There will be no lunch or afternoon tea. The affair will be as simple as possible.

The AGM has to go ahead.  The Area AGM is proceeding on the same lines.  Steve Butterfield is keeping it as simple as he can with only 10 attending.

We will ask for questions 10 days (by 4 November) in advance of the AGM. Only tabled questions will be addressed at the AGM rather than questions being taken on the day, something which would be done in a physical meeting. An information sheet will be posted on the website 3 weeks before the meeting (by 25 October).  Maggie will kindly draft this.  This should mean that emails do not need sending to members.

Audited ECR accounts don’t go to Ramblers Head Office until 19 October.

There is a chat facility on Zoom which needs checking out.  There needs to be another meeting in advance of the AGM to examine just how the system will work with more people logging in.

The Area AGM will be on Monday 30 November around 7.30pm.

  • COMMITTEE MEMBERS

It was great news that Jane, Colin, Keith, Dave, Maggie and Sue will serve on the committee for another year.  Kathryn is the fly in the ointment due to her planning to move to North Yorkshire.  It was agreed, however, that she will continue via Zoom as secretary until a replacement is found.  Maggie would be prepared to be secretary if a replacement social secretary is found.

It must be indicated in the AGM material that a new secretary / social secretary is needed plus another person to come onto the committee.

  • REPORTS FROM OFFICERS

Treasurer

Ken Hobbs is the independent reviewer.  The bank balance stood at £6210.30 as of last night.  There is no news on the budget approval or otherwise.  As previously stated, audited account will go to Head Office by 19 October.

Social secretary

There is little to add to the previous report.  The sherry walk on New Year’s Day will be kindly led by Melanie and Lorraine.  Christmas meals will be cancelled.  There will be no carol singing though the walk of 5 December will go ahead.

Membership secretary

There were ten new ECR members in September, five of these being new to the Ramblers.

It was suggested that the register form could have a column to say if walker is a member of Ramblers.  Of course registers could take different formats.  Sue said she could quickly check whether someone was a member.  She had recently done this for someone within 24 hours.

Lost Ways

ECR work is on hold at the moment.

Central Office work (Don’t Lose Your Way – DLYW Project) is progressing.  Central Office currently passes Diversion and Modification orders to local groups for consideration but the DLYW Project is planning to submit new Order Applications (DMMOs) direct to PROW offices.  This is raising concerns.

Footpaths

There is good collaboration with Nicola Swinnerton (ECR PROW Officer) and the group remains in touch with other footpath secretaries across Cheshire East.

We have again achieved 100% coverage of all ECR paths for 2020, despite COVID lockdown problems. Thanks to Tony Battilana for coordinating the arrangements and Roger Fielding for maintaining the outstanding database record of our history of inspections.

  • AOB

There is still a need to find a coordinator for the planned “Maintenance Team”.  There are various ECR members who are willing to participate, including those who previously helped with Brian Richardson’s Projects Group but the gap is for someone to plan and coordinate the work. This remains an important task for the ECR Committee to address, although it is recognised that progress is very unlikely while the COVID pandemic restrictions apply and finding a volunteer will not be easy.  (Keith suggested that perhaps this role could be split between an administrative role – prioritising jobs, workers and equipment required, and a more physical one.)  Several existing walkers are happy to be a participant. Many footpath inspectors are already authorised to do routine minor maintenance with secateurs and this is to be encouraged.

Dave agreed to draw up a job description for the maintenance team.

Information comes from the footpath inspector database and Nick Brierley looks through that for suitable jobs and work suggestions also come from PROW because of funding cuts.  There is plenty to do with waymarks and vegetation jobs.  Inspectors are given authority from Cheshire East to carry out such work.

Historically Cheshire East has paid for stile maintenance and similar, while legally this is the responsibility of the landowner.  PROW has the authority to pursue landowners whilst the Ramblers do not.

  1. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

There will be a short meeting prior to the AGM on Wednesday 4 November at 7pm.


  Reference
  Action   Owner   Status
    Draft of AGM information sheet for posting on website by 25 October Maggie  
    Bullet points of job description for footpath maintenance team. Dave  
    Reminding leaders of keeping backmarker in sight. All  

Kathryn Carty

ECR Committee Meeting Minutes 11-08-20

MINUTES OF EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS MEETING HELD

                       Tuesday 11 August 2020

Meeting held at 2.30pm in Jane Gay’s garden and it closed around 4.40pm.

ATTENDANCE

Colin Finlayson

Dave Barraclough

Jane Gay

Kathryn Carty

Keith Anderson

Maggie Swindells

  1. APOLOGIES AND ATTENDANCE

Apologies from Sue Munslow

  • MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING

The minutes of the previous meeting held on May 5 were approved.

  • MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MINUTES

No matters arising.

  • WALKS PROGRAMME

This is clearly the most important issue for discussion, how to proceed to get walks reinstated from September 2020, in accordance with guidelines from Head Office (HO).

  1. Volunteer role. To comply with HO’s rules any walk leader has to be recorded on the system as having a volunteer role.  Jane has been busy in discussions with HO and it has finally been agreed that we can send a list of walk leaders and their membership numbers (we don’t need to ask individual members for these) to HO and they will register them as walk leaders.  We felt strongly that we would have lost walk leaders if individuals had to self register.  It was considered whether we ought to just register everyone but was decided that, as well as not going down well with HO, this would result with everyone being bombarded with emails re unrelated volunteering issues.

At the time when Jane spoke to Steve Butterfield (Area secretary) we only had 17 volunteers registered.

A membership list is held by Sue as membership secretary so we should be able to extract a list of walk leaders from this.

  • Risk assessment. The keeping of a formal risk assessment is mandatory and so we have no choice but for walk leaders to keep one if we wish to get a walk programme up and running.  This needs to be kept either on paper or electronically for 12 months. All boxes do not have to be ticked. Walk leaders will be responsible for keeping such records.  They will not be passed to walk coordinators.  We have no idea if their existence will ever be checked.

The committee intends to write to the CEO and Chairman of the Trustees to object to non-Covid related issues being brought into the risk assessment.  It was felt there should have been consultation before the guidelines were sent to volunteers. In the meantime, however, in order to get walks restarted, we needed to comply by completing the form as issued by HO.  Printed risk assessment stencils could be taken to walks to hand out as required in the hope this will limit objections.

  • Register.  A register has to be kept of walk attendees so that this information could be passed to a track and trace team should this be necessary.  A record of the name and telephone number of each walker is therefore required.  There is an available stencil and again this could be printed and handed to walk leaders.  After some discussion it was felt this was the simplest method.  If we asked walkers to bring along a printed slip containing their contact details, half wouldn’t.  Additionally it would be another thing to ask for.  The register only needs to be kept for 21 days.  People can use the app if they so wish but a written register is sufficient.
  • Advertising the walks.  Roger will help however he can.  If a coordinator sends him walks for four months (Sep to Dec) then he will put them all on the programme.  HO suggested shorter periods but it really doesn’t matter.  This is up to coordinators.  If they can only get walks for September finalised, then Roger will put these onto the system, and add others as and when.                                                            

It is our intention that Covid related advice is put on the website so that the leader doesn’t, for instance, need to advise walkers not to share food and drink!  Some generic statement could be a header before the list of forthcoming walks.

  • Walk numbers of a maximum of 30.  Firstly it was felt that such numbers are very unlikely even for short walks.  We don’t want a booking system as this just complicates things for the leader.  The simplest way of applying this rule is to say on the website that places will be offered on a first come first served basis.  So after the first 30 people have signed the register, any surplus would have to be turned away, a very unlikely scenario.  Should a walk leader want a booking system then he/she would have to provide their telephone number on the programme and ask would-be walkers to phone in advance and book on.

REPORTS FROM OFFICERS

  • FINANCE

Treasurer’s report to end July 2020 included the following highlights since the last report of 5th May 2020.

  • All social events cancelled and members refunded where appropriate.
  • Little banking activity apart from annual peppercorn rents paid to land owners on the Charles Head permissive path.
  • Bank balance at 31/7/20 £6290.89.
  • 20/21 annual budget was reviewed on 23 July via Zoom and its basic constituents parts agreed.  Footpath committee with PROW (public rights of way) identified several potential improvement and maintenance projects requiring an estimated £8000 of funds from RA.  This was then revised down to £6000.
  • The final ECR budget was submitted to Area on 31 July.
  • £50 donations to Mountain Rescue are being randomly made to Glossop, Kinder, Buxton and Oldham.
  • FOOTPATHS  Dave Barraclough’s report included the following points
  1. The Footpath Committee has held one Meeting on 25th June.  The Agenda covered various routine items of progressing several footpath problem issues plus Diversions etc. There were no items of special concern to bring to the Main ECR Committee.
  2. The main business was to review the annual footpath inspection of all paths. Following the end of lockdown, it was hoped that inspections could restart and still be complete by the normal September 31st deadline. Tony Battilana wrote to all inspectors to encourage restart and check whether any inspectors will be affected by COVID19 – but none have been reported.
  3. We noted that recent changes in Ramblers Insurance mean our Footpath Inspectors will be insured under improved terms, including personal accident. We noted that, somewhat surprisingly, volunteers can register to enjoy ongoing cover without needing to be a member of Ramblers. (This seems to be in conflict to the requirement that limits non members to 3 walks before they should become members.)
  4. Footpath Inspections since CV19 lockdown ended are going well. Theyare actually well ahead of previous years. To the end of July 39% of footpaths have been inspected, significantly higher than 9% by July in 2019.It appears that inspectors have more time available to carry out their inspections. A limited number of problems have been reported to PROW who are dealing with them, although they are stretched by CV19 resource problems.
  5. Subsequent to the meeting, the ECR Budget Proposal for 2021 has included £8,000 (revised to £6000) for proposed footpath projects, an increase over previous years. This covers proposed trials on waymarks, fingerpost changes to sustainable materials and some requests from PROW for specific projects.
  6. Nicola Swinnerton from PROW (public rights of way) is looking at seeking permission for a new path through Savio House land and is asking for Ramblers to contribute.  We must consider this carefully as PROW has a statutory duty to fund projects and we don’t want to get sucked in to sharing costs unnecessarily.
  7. AOB

Minutes  Kathryn will continue to pass around draft minutes soon after a meeting and ask members for any additions or alterations.  Otherwise the minutes would remain draft until after the next meeting and until they had been updated following comments in that meeting.

Lost Ways

Keith had kindly offered to take over from Colin.  He had contacted Dominic Tooze (fairly new to his role as assistant to Jack Cornish at PROW) and Tooze had then sent Keith details of an Area role.  It was agreed that Keith should reply on the basis of only wanting to do work for the group, not the area.  Dave thought it possible that Tooze mistook East Cheshire Ramblers and Cheshire East Area to be one and the same, whereas, in fact, there were three groups (Congleton and South Cheshire in addition to ours).

Colin Park’s considerable effort has suggested 19 Lost Paths are worth further consideration.  This will be compared with the list of 5 paths suggested by the Footpath Committee from  the total list of 45 identified in the old Natural England review of Cheshire Lost ways that lie in the ECR area. Keith will work further on this list of 19.

Dave was working as a verifier on lost ways.  Other people had identified lost paths and Dave was checking these to see if they were correct and, more importantly, worth spending money on.  It seems the people identifying lost paths were not necessarily walkers, so may identify a path diagonally across a field when there was now a path around a field.  Whilst this may have been a former route it is obviously not worth pursuit.  Dave believed the cost of pursuing a single path would be at least £5000 so clearly it has to be worthwhile.  Otherwise, PROW’s budget will be decimated.

Christmas meals

Maggie explained that Theresa Marshall was reluctant to take deposits from individuals for the weekend meal if these were going to have to be returned due to cancellation of the event.  Colin said that ECR would pay the deposit and then it could be simply returned to ECR in the event of cancellation.  This would save a lot of effort.

Thanks to Jane

Committee members thanked Jane for all her hard work replying to members’ emails and calls related to Covid19 and for dealing with all the  correspondence from Head Office.

  • AGENDA ITEMS FOR NEXT MEETING

AGM planned for 14 November.

Christmas meals

Co-ordination of maintenance team

  • DATE OF NEXT MEETING

Thursday 1st October 1.30pm.

Covid-19 Guidance When Out Walking

Dear Members


Some things will be different when you attend walks.

Walks are limited to 30. I don’t think this is going to be a problem but if you turn up and there are more than 30 people on the walk you will  not be able to join them.

Walk leaders may wish to further limit the numbers on the walks. This will be clear on the programme and there will be details of how to contact the leader and register for the walk. Once the number has been reached then a “walk full” message will appear on the website.

The leader will need to take a register; some leaders may ask you to sign in so bringing a pen or a pencil may be a good idea. Also bringing your membership card will help if the walk leader decides to use the Ramblers app to register. This register is for Track Trace and will be destroyed after 21 days.

Obviously hand sanitiser is also good to be carrying. The advice is not to share drinks, food or walking poles.

The latest guidance on social distancing must also be observed. This will be difficult at pinch points like styles so please stay vigilant and alert and gently remind others if you think it is necessary.

Unfortunately people who are within local lock down areas will not be able to attend our walks as there is a limit on the number of people they can meet in the outdoors. Let’s hope this situation will improve soon.

All the latest guidance is available in recent posts on the website. Please try to make time to read it before attending a walk!

All of this is dependent on walkers being prepared to lead. Obviously no one must feel under any pressure to lead and many will not feel that now is the right time to do so.  This clearly could have a knock-on effect on the number of walks we are able to offer but all we can do is ask for volunteers and wait and see what happens.

Hoping that you have all got through this strange time and are now looking forward to being able to return to some form of normality and get out walking again.

Any observations or comments that you would like to make then please feel happy to email me.

Jane

30-06-20 EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS SOCIAL CALENDAR 2020

Friday 20th March 1.30 pm Stockport Guided Walk with Judith Wilshaw organised by Maggie Swindells  
POSTPONED to 2021
 4th and 5th April National Conference  Bristol
CANCELLED
Friday 12Th April  Start of fortnightly Strollers’ walking programme
CANCELLED
Thursday 23rd April Bombay To Mumbai Indian – meal organised by Andy Davies
CANCELLED
Friday 24th April to Sunday 26th April Long Walkers Weekend – Aberystwyth to be organised by Colin Park
CANCELLED
Thursday 14th May Provisional start of evening walks organised by Steve Hull
CANCELLED
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June Weekend Away  Patterdale organised by Jane Gay POSTPONED TO 2021
Thursday 25th June Coach Trip Settle organised by Anne Thompson
CANCELLED
Monday 29th June ‘Footpath Inspectors Gathering’  3.30 pm Macclesfield Tennis Club organised by the Footpath Committee
POSTPONED
Thursday 2nd July ECR Walk Leader Training Macclesfield Tennis Club (more details to follow) POSTPONED
Saturday 4th July Walk with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay
CANCELLED
Friday 7th August to Sunday 9th August Long Walkers Weekend – Anglesey (exact location to be decided) to be organised by Steve Hull
CANCELLED
Thursday 20th August Meal following final evening walk provisional booking at Farm Made, Rainow organised by Nick Wild
CANCELLED
Saturday September 5th Coach Trip organised by Gina Thompson and Maggie Swindells POSTPONED to 2021
Friday 18th to Sunday 20th Sep Ambleside Weekend away – Andy Davies
POSTPONED
Saturday 12th September (date change) Walk with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay
TBC
Saturday 31st October Ceilidh and Supper at the Victory Hall Mobberley  organised by Tony Battilana
TBC
Saturday 14th November 2020 ECR AGM Macclesfield Tennis Club
TBC
30th November 2020 Ramblers Association Area AGM
TBC
Saturday 5th December Christmas Carol short walk – Jenny Bordoli
TBC
Saturday 12th December Week End Christmas Lunch at The Windmill organised by Teresa Marshall preceded by a walk organised by Jane and Frank Gay.
TBC

ECR UPDATE FROM THE CHAIR

Good afternoon to you all

First and foremost I hope that everybody has had a safe lockdown. I do know that for some it has been a more difficult time than for others. It would seem that we are slowly returning to at least something that appears to be more like normal.

You will all have received the latest information from Ramblers which talks about small walking groups of up to 6 people. I have discussed this with the committee and all the walks coordinators. We all feel that for a club as large as ours there is little point in formal walking program which can only take five walkers. The amount of work that this would involve seems too far outweigh the benefit to the small number of people who would be able to walk in a formal programme.

People are forming groups of friends and organising walks amongst themselves. These are not Ramblers walks and are not insured. I think everybody realises this.

Small groups of friends can be set up using WhatsApp or email. If people want to do this but don’t have contact details of others please request these details by the 10th of July. I can then contact the person whose details are being requested and ask them if they are happy for me to share them. I will then hopefully pass these details on.

Obviously there lots of different ways of organising these groups of six but it has to be clear that this is an informal arrangement between friends which I am facilitating by sharing email addresses. Any walks which occur as a result of this arrangement are informal group walks and not Ramblers walks.

I am just giving you advanced notice that the trip to Ambleside in September has been postponed. The updated social program is now available on the website.

Patterdale has also been postponed until next June. I have made a booking for 18-21st June 2021. I have already informed all those who have booked on this year but I have booked additional rooms for anybody else who wishes to join us. If you would like me to send you the details of this year’s weekend so you have an idea of what to expect next year then please just email me. If you are happy to make a booking then the person you need to phone is Sam on (01253) 754260

Jane Gay 01625-427444