Newsletter 117


AOAC Newsletter

Hey there

How are you all doing? I hope you're all coping well. It's a funny old time, getting used to different ways of doing things, girls (or guys come to that), how will we ever go back to wearing a bra and make-up? And does anyone now care what they look like on video calls? Who's changed out of their day PJs into their night PJs? How many of you have a flat tummy (where the 'L' is silent)? Or are you using this time productively? Learned a new language? Written your book? Re-discovered your love of cooking? As long as you are keeping safe and well, however you are getting through this is just fine. Don't beat yourself up about anything just keep safe and survive. 

Loving hearing about people's voluntary work or Covid-19 connected work btw. Big shout out to Dave Woolsey who has gone back on the tools to produce ventilators for the NHS. Awesome work.


Committee updates
We have added 2 additional months to everyone's membership now that activities have been suspended until at least the 7th of May. We have also caught up with all the outstanding refunds for trips that have been cancelled. The next set of refunds will be for the recently cancelled Pembrokeshire May Bank Holiday trip. Thanks again to Carrie for sorting these.

We are continuing to cancel events in line with restrictions on socialising and travel. We are also cancelling some events that are further in advance where accommodation will be closed beyond the date of our bookings or where further payments are required.

We had our first committee meeting online through Zoom last week. We held it in record time, which was great, mostly because, unless it is urgent or related to the current situation, we are just completing outstanding actions.

While a lot of committee activity is winding down, we are trying to make the most of the time to make developments on the website. We have also updated some policies including the Data Protection policy, which now includes third party access to the website for hosting, development and maintenance of the website only. If you need guidance on Social Media usage you will find this in the Online Policy. Check out all of the policies here 

As you can see we still manage to have a laugh! What was Irene saying?

There are a couple of roles we'd like to fill:

Welfare Officer
We are looking for a Welfare Officer!  This isn’t a committee post so you wouldn’t be expected to attend committee meetings but you would help to ensure that the club keeps up to date with best practice and does not discriminate against vulnerable adults and members with disabilities.  This is an opportunity to give back to the club as well as the chance to make a positive difference for some of our more vulnerable members.

If you are interested or have any queries please email [email protected] .

Volunteer Web Developers
If you are a web developer or have an interest in web development and now find you have some time on your hands we are looking for volunteers to work with our web team and assist with the changes we would like to make to the look and feel and functionality of our website.

The site is built using the open source content management framework – Drupal.  Drupal development skills are sought after in the job market as a requirement for developing corporate, political and government websites.  If you can offer any help and want to upgrade your development skills please contact [email protected]


Christmas Party
At the last Christmas Party all was not well. You may not have noticed this at it was a great night, but the food served was not the selection that organiser Kev had ordered.He put in a lot of effort to obtain a partial refund from the venue, for which we thank him greatly. The committee has decided to use this to subsidise the next party (hey, imagine that!), with the intention of making it a really special night. Although difficult at this time, if anyone has any ideas for a central Bristol location for the next party, please let Kev know.

Wellbeing of Members
If anybody out there would like to interact with other club members please contact [email protected] and Kath will try to buddy you up with other members. If you'd be prepared to be a 'buddy' please let Kath know. Let's get connected.

Online Events

AOAC Zoom Talks- Organised by Fiona 
Given that we're all stuck at home I thought it would be a perfect time to revisit some amazing trips that people have taken before lockdown kept us all from going anywhere!  

For our first get together, Keith will be showing slides of his 2020 trips to Cambodia and Norway and talking us through the trips.

The first show is planned for 7pm Thursday 30 April, on Zoom. Keep your eye on the calendar and Facebook for full details and of how to access this talk. Places will be limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Hope you're all well and safe and to see you on Thursday.

If anyone else has slides or photos of trips that they'd be willing to show and talk about please let me know. Thankyou 😎

Thanks Fiona for planning and organising what will hopefully be a series of great talks.

Lockdown Lounge Series - Organised by Irene 
Keep an eye out on Facebook for a series of live events.  These intend to run every Friday evening covering different topics that our members will hopefully find both entertaining and informative and as we will be using Facebook Live you will be able to comment and ask questions.  The first in the series is ‘Kayak: Safety Equipment for a Whitewater Trip’.  This will be run by one of the country’s leading whitewater kayaking coaches, Oli Kershaw of Next Level Coaching and Guiding.  Details will follow on our Facebook page shortly.  If you would like to present an episode in this series please contact her.

Thanks Irene for organising another series of interesting talks.

If anyone feels like organising a Zoom quiz for members or any other entertainment please feel free to do so. Could be a lot of fun.


Road Cyclists
Item from Guy:

Hi cyclists…. well road cyclists really for the purpose of this item.
Route Planning
With a bit more time on our hands it might be time to brush up on those route planning skills.
There are so many tools and apps out there it can be a minefield to know which one is good and which one will lead you up the proverbial country track.
So this is just my view of what you can use to get the best result.

Ride With GPS is now my new go to tool for planning. . It has replaced the Strava option that I had moved to when Mapometer lost its OS tiles agreement. So you get the idea that it can be a changing environment, but once learnt one you can move to another quite easily to get the maximum benefit.

(Strava is still my preferred recording option and OsmAnd my application on my phone to follow the route. More on those another time).
Why is Ride With GPS my preferred tool now?

  • It has a free option that works well.
  • Once you have created a route it can be easily converted to a variety of formats for other tools and sending to mobiles or Garmins. TCX. FIT. KML. And even images.
  • It gives a running total of distance and elevation whilst planning with an elevation graph. Also it has the ability to change the colour of the route plotted, as you are plotting.
  • You can follow roads, cycle paths or draw lines.
  • It has good map views including OSM Cycle to see Sustrans routes and, on the MAP view, you can see Bike Paths. That’s the cycle tracks/lanes in cities and urban areas.
  • One feature that is a godsend on occasions is the Google Street View. You’re planning a route and not sure if the lane you want to go on to is tarmac or gravel. You can drag the Google little man on the map and get to see the street view at that point if available. Stunning!
  • You can highlight part of the route you have plotted to get an in-depth view of that section. Brilliant for finding less hilly routes.
  • Lastly… it is much easier to Edit the route. Anyone who has been using these tools knows that editing a route can lead to “arrrgh.. I’ll just redo the whole thing.” This, although not perfect, is much better than others.

If you are feeling flush you can have the premier version, annual subscription and get even more advance editing features. You can also use the mobile phone app for following the routes if you don’t like OsmAnd… but you will to pay for offline and navigation tools.
Online Tutorial coming to a Zoom Meeting soon!!!
If people are interested, I intend to do an online demonstration of Ride With GPS. I need 4 victims  oops, participants to trial it out. You will need a laptop or PC and video cam ( If you don’t have a videocam check out Droidcam to use your mobile as a video cam)
Let me know by emailing [email protected] and I’ll start the ball rolling.

Climbing Item from Matt
Climbers; keep practising your technique.
EX 1: climbing stairs. Put the front part of your foot in the middle of the next step with just one finger from each hand just touching the bannister or wall. Aim to step up and come to a stop on the next step on one foot. It should be beneath your head. The other foot should be in the air. When you have mastered this then try with only touching one side (one hand). And then no hands. And then stepping up two steps at a time
Ex 2: climbing stairs. As in Ex 1 but this step on your left foot at the extreme left side of the stair and step on to your right foot at the right side. Aim to move your weight above your foot before, or just as, you step up. Then try it stepping up two steps at a time.
A development for both of these exercises is to put one finger of each hand to the either end of the step above the one you are moving to with your feet and then step up. This restricts your usual ways of balancing so you will have to adjust other parts of your body. Then try it with your hands on the step you are moving to with your feet.

Thanks Guy and Matt for these interesting items

Next newsletter we will be running through the committee members' favourite trips. If you have any you'd like to share please let me know.

And finally, last, but definitely not least, I have very exciting news!
❤️❤️The lovely couple, Matt and Philippa, who met whilst sea kayaking with AOAC on the Pembrokeshire May Bank Holiday Weekend in 2017, have announced their engagement. This was Matt's birthday weekend and what better present could he ever have received. Many congratulations and much love to you both. We wish you good luck and many, many, many happy years together ❤️❤️

If you have any interesting news/funny stories/free videos/tales of your favourite trips/tips that may help club members, in fact, anything that might be of interest/entertaining, to brighten up the next newsletter, please let me know at [email protected] . Thank you.

See you sometime in the future :)

Stay safe and keep well

Cathy x