Newsletter 137

AOAC Newsletter

Message from the Chair – September 2021
I hope you have all enjoyed the Summer and joined in some of the many Club activities that have been happening. So many to choose from – one of the many joys of the AOAC is the variety of activities on offer so hopefully you have found one that you enjoy, or perhaps 2 or 3!

Thanks as always to everyone who has been involved both directly and indirectly in organising/leading/coaching activities. Now we are getting into autumn, residential trips will be starting again including 2 new members weekends.

You will hopefully have received/read/digested the recent guidance set out by the Committee to reduce the risk of spreading COVID on residential events. If not it is included in this newsletter so please have a look. It’s always difficult to keep everyone happy when there is such a divergence of opinion in relation to COVID and related risks; the Committee have done their best to give clear and reasonable guidelines. We’ll keep an eye on what happens and review the guidance every month.

Thanks to everyone involved in offering activities in the coming months. It would be great to see more day trips on the calendar for the Autumn/Winter months – if you’re thinking of volunteering to lead/organise your own event there are lots of people who can help you if you’re not sure about where to start.
Finally, thanks to all of the committee who work hard behind the scenes to keep the Club running.

Hope to meet lots of you on an event soon.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or any of the committee if you have any ideas/comments/suggestions about Club-related matters.
AOAC Chair

Event of the Year!

Barbecue, Bike Ride, Walk, Social- Sunday 12 September 2021
Join Kev and Carol for their annual extravaganza! So many have booked on already, but there are still plenty of places. Let's make this an event to celebrate freedom outdoors.

You have the choice of a 30 mile Flat Bike Ride or a 7 mile scenic Walk, or you can just come for the social and barbecue.

Kev says...

Meeting 9.00am or 9.15 start, Portishead Lake Grounds cricket pitch car park.

Bike ride will be a flat social 30 miler out to Kingston Seymour and Yatton, Congresbury, with a coffee stop midway,10 to 12 mph.

Walk will be 7 miles.Starting along the coast path before cutting inland and skirting Weston Big Wood. Lovely views across the channel to Wales,then coming back through the town high street.

Social. We should all be back around 1.15pm give or take a few minutes.

Barbecue will be fired up when we arrive back at start.

Please bring your own food to cook on the barbecue.

We will supply plates, napkins, cutlery, sauces, and some salad,

There will be a charge of £1.50 per person to cover cost of coals and sundries.

I'm informed that you can bring a family member or your children for the social but the club take no responsibility for them whatsoever.

Book your place here


Events – What do you fancy doing?
It feels like coming out of hibernation!   I am pleased to see the calendar filling up with lovely and interesting activities. Thanks to all of you who have proposed, mooted and generally had a thought about an event.   As always, we depend on the members of the Club to make events happen- from organising, leading or just helping out with logistics. 

If you cast a beady eye across the calendar, you will see that we have two New Members’ events running – wait list only for the first trip to Brecon but a few spaces left on the October trip to Exmoor.  The Exmoor bunkhouse is splendid beyond words, and if I worked in marketing, would be called a boutique hotel.  All for less than the cost of a Gordon Ramsay breakfast.   These events are significant in many ways, the start of a long AOAC adventure being one – but they are also the first significant residentials we have had since March 23rd 2020.  Below you will find a section regarding the approach we are taking to Covid; this was one of the most difficult discussions I have ever been party to, and we will be applying it at the New Members events. 

The upshot of all this is that we can now start to consider events that include nights out.  We are still hoping to be able to run the traditional New Year event and a Pre-Christmas multi-activity.  Keep an eye on the calendar because these sell-out quickly. 

One of the most important things to remember is that you don't actually need to have any experience to put an event on. All we ask is that events must have an approved activity leader taking part, and the Club has lots of those ready and waiting. Approved leaders are a pre-requisite in order for our insurance to cover everyone attending the event. Some activities are outside of our insurance cover, swimming being the most obvious example, which is why you will not see wild swimming on the calendar as an official activity. Unofficially, it might happen, but not as a Club activity. 

There are activity coordinators as well who can help develop your idea into a safe and workable trip with the necessary support for routes, equipment and the like.  Activities can even be organised through third-party if it is something that is beyond the current Club offerings but might appeal to members.   We have had a few first-timers step up and organise some trips lately, which is awesome.   Anyone who organises a trip gets an invite to the annual gathering that in pre-pandemic times was called the Organisers' Party.  If this isn't an inducement in itself, I don't know what is.   

So if you have spotted a good place for a walk, a delicious looking stretch of water or know of a bunkhouse in the hills, then why not propose it as an event?   There is an option for proposing events on the Arrange Events tab on the Club's website and that is where it all starts.  It doesn't have to be a fully fledged plan as we can help you if you need it.   When coming up with a date for your event, you need to be mindful of the availability of leaders and kit.  Avoid dates that might clash with similar events on the calendar or dates when activity leaders might be busy elsewhere.  

Incidentally, finding accommodation for groups isn't easy, especially at a reasonable cost and in a good location - if you come across such a place then please let us know so that we can add it to our list of venues. 

Any questions, suggestions or thoughts about arranging an event can be sent to [email protected] 

Pete - Activities Officer

Steps to reduce the Covid risk during residential trips
As you will all be aware, the risk of COVID-19 infection is ongoing in the UK. The committee is aware of concerns regarding upcoming residential trips and the increased risk that being inside with others brings.

No AOAC event – especially residential - will ever be risk-free in relation to COVID, and members need to make their own personal judgement as to whether they wish to attend or not.

However in order to reduce the risk of infection, there are a few requirements that need to be followed. These will be reviewed by the committee on a monthly basis.

NB These apply whether or not you have been vaccinated, as you can still get infected/pass on infection even if double-vaccinated.

Before the event: do a lateral flow test the day the event starts (these are available for free).

Please DO NOT attend the event if your lateral flow test is positive, and book PCR test as per government guidelines. 

Also DO NOT attend if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, are waiting for the results of a PCR test, or are self isolating under current government guidelines.

If you cannot attend please give the organiser as much notice as possible as they may have a waiting list.

During the event: do a further lateral flow test each day. Feel free to wear a mask if you wish to.

If you test positive and/or develop symptoms during the trip, please let the organiser know straight away. In this case you will need to leave the event with anyone you shared a car with.

Refunds will be given to members who cannot attend a trip due to having pre-trip COVID symptoms and/or pre-trip lateral flow test being positive, or being requested under current legislation to self isolate.

Each member will need to take personal responsibility to follow this guidance. If you do not feel able to do so for any reason then please do not book on a residential trip.

AOAC Chair

Walking News:

Walks Update
There’s a variety of walking in prospect including the ‘tea shop of dreams’ later this month and further ahead, new members weekends in the Brecon Beacons and Exmoor, a walking weekend in Boscastle and multi-activity trips to Pembrokeshire, Snowdonia and Devon.  Big thanks as always to those who give their time to organise and lead things. There’s plenty to look forward to :)

It feels like a good point to get a sense of people’s ideas and interests.  As an alternative to Zoom here’s a freeform document which is open for contributions until the end of Sept.Please add ideas and comments, check back to see what others have added and identify common interests. I’ll put a summary in a future newsletter. In the meantime if there’s something you’d like to organise then get in touch if you’d like to talk it through, otherwise just go for it!  

Finally, congratulations to Nida for obtaining the NNAS Tutor Award - for teaching navigation, and to Graham who has become an Eryri Ambassador - that’s Snowdonia National Park in case you were wondering. 

AOAC Walks Coordinator
[email protected]

Cycling News:

Cycling Development Meeting 

Saturday 25th September 10:00am Road and MTB rides followed by a Development Meeting at 12:30pm
Location Greedy Goose Cafe, Gatcombe Farm, Weston Road, Flax Bourton BS48 3QT

To rekindle club rides and move forward with cycling in the club, there will be a cycling, road and MTB, development meeting on Saturday 25th September.

This meeting is open to all members and especially those who have joined the club since the last meeting which was so far back toe clips were all the rage. 

There will be 2 rides planned. Road ride of about 20-25 miles and MTB of about 2.5hours. Both will be for mixed abilities.

Meeting at 12:30 ish 
The meeting will be in the Conservatory of the cafe. You can have teas/coffees, cakes, sandwiches or lunch there as well.
Non riders are welcome and can turn up when they want.

What do we want to do for the next year? Affiliation to British Cycling and what it means for you. Club Jerseys. Is there an appetite? Bike Stores, who will give us a discount. What kind of rides do members want? 
Maintenance and bike repair sessions. Who wants to be a new ride leader? Big Trip for next year, A to B or fixed location? 

To try and manage the event there will be 2 entries on the calendar. Please book on either the Road or MTB entry. 
If you are just coming for the meeting please let [email protected] know by email so we can let the cafe know the approximate numbers. 

See you all there!

Cycling Coordinator AOAC 

Paddling News

AOAC Whitewater Paddling – Winter Season 2021/22
Thank goodness and hallelujah it looks like we are going to have a white-water season this year after being locked in our homes for most of last Autumn/Winter.  I am so excited and cannot wait to get back and have some fun.  Thank you to all who attended the recent Winter Paddlesports planning meeting and if you couldn’t make it the minutes and event schedule will be on the forum shortly if they aren’t already there.  The events will gradually go in to the main calendar as the organisers confirm plans.  We have a white-water residential weekend planned at least once a month.  These will mainly be in south, mid and north Wales, Devon and anywhere else anyone wants to plan a trip.  These weekends are always designed to cover all abilities unless otherwise stated on the calendar.  We hope to have coaches to lead different levels of paddles each day, one for those new to white-water, one for intermediate level paddlers and those who prefer the more advanced parts of the river.  They are always great fun socially and we try to have a group meal in a local pub at least one of the evenings.  I know I have learned a lot about paddling and different rivers just by chatting to the more experienced paddlers while on these weekends.  If you are new to white-water you will have to attend one of the Moving Water Safety courses before you can come along or have completed something similar such as FSRT.  We have 2 Moving Water Safety courses on the calendar already so make sure you book a space. 
We have a couple of day trips planned for the beginning of the season aimed at our new Explore students and anyone who might be feeling a bit rusty.  These will be beginner white-water level with lots of coaches and helpers coming along.
There will also be ad-hoc day paddles going on the calendar at short notice throughout the season.  As the river levels and conditions can change so quickly these might be really short notice or the venue may be changed the morning of the trip.  Anyone booked will be added to a WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger group to make sure you can receive messages about any changes, lift shares, locations and timings.
All equipment will be available for hire if you don’t have your own so remember to book this at the same time as booking an event, we can then arrange for someone to meet you at the stores to collect what you need.
All organisers, coaches, helpers and store key holders who help you pick up your kit are volunteers so a big thank you to everyone who helps make this happen every year
Irene  – Whitewater Deputy
Rescue and Rolling Coached Sessions 
We have recently started Saturday morning sessions at Clevedon Marine Lake.  We spoke to the Committee looking after the lake and they are quite happy for us to attend as a Club group but asked that we each make a £2 donation each time we go.  I did this online through their website but I believe they have donation boxes situated around the lake.  The aim of the sessions are to practice any form of rescue, T rescue, X rescue or try rolling.  It is a completely safe environment as the water gets deeper towards the middle so a coach or helper can wade out and stand in the water whilst you try rolling.  Unless you live in outer Mongolia you may have heard I have been having coaching here and have now successfully rolled without assistance.  Thank you to the ever-patient Sarah.  It has been a long time coming as I wasn’t one of those people who can just try and do it straight away, it has taken lots and lots of practice.  If this is something you want to achieve this season as we start our river trips I would encourage you to come along.  They will be on the calendar each week when we have a coach available.

Charitable Opportunity Outside of AOAC:

Alzheimers Society
Would you like to volunteer with Side by Side, Alzheimer’s Society’s companionship service which supports people living with dementia to retain hobbies and engage with the community?

I was contacted recently by Sarah Swift, who is the Side by Side Coordinator for Alzheimer’s Society in Bristol. She runs a volunteer companionship service which matches people living with dementia in Bristol, to volunteers who have a shared interest.

She has visited several people living with dementia recently who are interested in outdoor activities such as cycling and walking, and she is looking to recruit volunteer befrienders for them….folks who would be happy to support a person living with dementia by joining them on a walk, cycle or run - giving the person confidence to continue the outdoor activities they enjoy.

The service pairs you with a person living with dementia according to your hobbies and interests. Once paired, together you decide when to meet, how often, and what to do together. That might be going for a walk, run or cycle, but equally it might be going to a football match, catching the latest movie, a jog round the park, a splash in the pool, a mooch around the shops, or a catch-up over coffee. One thing you can be sure of is bringing a lot of joy into someone’s life by empowering them to continue playing an active part in their community.
If you are interested in volunteering, or would like more information about the role please contact Sarah on 07821 824 630 or email: [email protected]  

If you'd like more info about the role, please see here:

Facebook - AOAC Sales and Wants
Well, we have another 6 members...there are 139 now!! Join up and see what bargains can be had.

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 soon.

Cathy x



--- Title Location Date Activity Type


Tuesday Evening Gentle Road Ride Miller and Carter Cribbs Causeway Tue, 07/09/2021 Road cycling


Indoor climbing - Redpoint - CANCELLED Redpoint climbing centre Tue, 07/09/2021 Climbing


Sea Kayaking - South Devon Modbury Thu, 09/09/2021 to Sun, 12/09/2021 Kayaking & Canoeing


Thursday Evening Faster Road Ride Henbury Thu, 09/09/2021 Road cycling


Barbecue,Bike Ride,Walk Portishead Lake Grounds Sun, 12/09/2021 Social


Indoor climbing - Redpoint Redpoint climbing centre Tue, 14/09/2021 Climbing


Committee meeting Google meet Wed, 15/09/2021 Other


Sold out - Canoe and Kayak Touring Weekend River Wye Sat, 18/09/2021 to Sun, 19/09/2021 Kayaking & Canoeing


Sardinia sea kayak adventure Sardinia, Italy Sat, 18/09/2021 to Sat, 25/09/2021 Kayaking & Canoeing


Oare Wiltshire circular walk Pewsey Vale Sun, 19/09/2021 Walking


Indoor climbing – Redpoint Redpoint climbing centre Tue, 21/09/2021 Climbing


New Members Weekend Brecon Fri, 24/09/2021 to Sun, 26/09/2021 Walking


Moving Water Safety and Rescue River Wye Sat, 25/09/2021 Kayaking & Canoeing


Road Ride for Development Meeting Greedy Goose Cafe Flax Bourton BS48 3QT Sat, 25/09/2021 Road cycling


Indoor climbing - Redpoint Redpoint climbing centre Tue, 28/09/2021 Climbing


Moving Water Safety and Skills Symonds Yat Sat, 02/10/2021 Kayaking & Canoeing


Kayaking/canoe day trip (15-20km) - Sharpness canal Sharpness canal (Gloucestershire) Sun, 03/10/2021 Kayaking & Canoeing


AOAC New, Potential and Existing Members Social Google meet Wed, 06/10/2021 Social


Saundersfoot (Pembrokeshire) October Weekend Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire Fri, 08/10/2021 to Mon, 11/10/2021 Multi-activity


Intro to White Water Kayaking TBC (Prob Dartmoor) Sat, 09/10/2021 Kayaking & Canoeing


Introduction to Sea Kayaking TBC Sat, 09/10/2021 to Sun, 10/10/2021 Kayaking & Canoeing


New Members Weekend Exmoor Fri, 22/10/2021 to Sun, 24/10/2021 Walking


Sea kayaking long weekend in Cornwall Nr Falmouth, Cornwall Thu, 28/10/2021 to Sun, 31/10/2021 Kayaking & Canoeing


AOAC New, Potential and Existing Members Social Google meet Wed, 03/11/2021 Social


North Cornwall Coastal Walking Weekend Boscastle Fri, 05/11/2021 to Sun, 07/11/2021 Walking


Mid Wales Multi-Activity trip Llanidloes Fri, 12/11/2021 to Sun, 14/11/2021 Multi-activity


AOAC New, Potential and Existing Members Social Google meet Wed, 01/12/2021 Social


Save the Date - December in North Wales Betws-y-Coed Thu, 09/12/2021 to Sun, 12/12/2021 Multi-activity


New Year 5 Day Multi-activity Trip and Party 2021-2022 Slapton Ley, South Devon Tue, 28/12/2021 to Sun, 02/01/2022 Multi-activity


AOAC New, Potential and Existing Members Social Google meet Wed, 05/01/2022 Social


AOAC New, Potential and Existing Members Social Google meet Wed, 02/02/2022 Social


February Sea Kayaking Monorbier- South Pembrokeshire Thu, 24/02/2022 to Sun, 27/02/2022 Kayaking & Canoeing


AOAC New, Potential and Existing Members Social Google meet Wed, 02/03/2022 Social