Newsletter 148 - Oct 2022

AOAC Newsletter

Message from the Chair - October 2022

I hope you are all managing the transition to autumn from long summer days - always a tricky time of year I find. There are still lots of events to look forward to on the calendar so please check it out and book on.

New members/social evenings will be in person from now on, as online events have not been attended. Keep an eye out on the calendar for details.

There are a few events that have low take-up, especially day walks and bike rides, so please try and support these events if possible as organisers/leaders put a lot of time and effort into putting these on.

There is always room for more events and there is help available for less experienced organisers. If you’re not a leader, get in touch with the activity coordinator of your sport – details on the website – and ask if someone can lead on your event. 

It is great to see the photos from the Turkey sailing trip which finally went ahead in September after two years of delays due to COVID-related travel restrictions. Talking of such things, please be mindful of members who might have different views to you, especially as residential trips will be more frequent over the autumn and winter. The COVID-19 for Club activities SOP is on the website if you need a reminder.

In other news, Irene our web officer has been working hard on the new website and hopes to have it ‘live’ very soon. There has been a delay as it has been more work than anticipated for Irene, but we are looking forward to sharing it with you all.

Thanks as always for everyone who contributes to putting events on the calendar – organisers, leaders, coaches and assistants. Also to the committee for their hard work behind the scenes. People sharing their enthusiasm with others is what makes this Club what it is.

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. Our email contact details are on the website.

Have fun out there!

Katie, AOAC Chair
[email protected]

Autumn Walks

Autumn can be an amazing season for walking and there have been a couple of beautiful Autumn walks over the last few weeks - a 12 mile circular walk from Chepstow taking in the beautiful Wye Valley and a well earned pub stop - thank you Matthew, and Phillipa's 10 mile walk from Mere in Wiltshire, along the Downs following the Mid Wilts Way.

Looking further ahead there’s a call out for leaders for a multi-activity trip to Plas-y-Brenin in January. Fingers crossed that Snowdonia will offer some great winter conditions. Walk leaders at all levels would be handy as there’s plenty of scope for interesting valley walks.

Andy, Walks Coordinator

Calling All Walk Leaders . . . Make a Hike!

Walking events can sometimes be under-represented at the Club so it would be fantastic to see more day walks on the calendar, a chance for everyone to get their walking gear on and enjoy the great outdoors.  Particularly important now as the nights draw in and the mornings become darker, the weekends are one of the few opportunities to get out there, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the daylight.  So, if you are beating yourself up for not dragging yourself from your desk after work and making it to the gym, save your exercise for the weekend and get out into the countryside.  And for those lovely walk leaders who have put on events, don't be discouraged if your walk has a small uptake, this could just be timing, please keep up the great work in organising events, I know it is appreciated. 

Feedback on our walking events is always welcome, do get in touch with Andy if you have any suggestions. 

Thanks everyone - hope to see you on a walk!

Sue, Comms


It is so nice to see a few mountain bike rides slowly coming back into the fold of the AOAC calendar and now is the season for mountain biking!

Pete recently built on the great work started by Guy and put on an improvers ride around the trails of Ashton Court and Leigh Woods - well attended and great to see some of our more experienced riders that haven't been on a Club ride for a while coming along to assist.  Thanks for the tuition Pete - we all enjoyed it (and the coffee and cake at the end is always a bonus)!

And a great ride out led by MTB leader Guy, who organised this last minute ride via the forum - a great medium for weather dependent and last minute events.  Thank you Guy, this looks like a ride that had everything: sunshine, mud (lots of), river crossings, jumbo jets in the Cotswolds(?!) and a horse trying to steal J BT's lunch while standing on three legs!  What more could you ask for . . . more please!  

There are still spaces on Stu's mountain bike on Saturday 12 November - check out the calendar for full details of timings and where to meet.

If you are a mountain bike leader and would be willing to offer your time to put on a ride, let me know - I would be happy to organise it for you and do the 'web admin'.

Sue, Comms


Velodrome Experience
I am now looking further ahead to try and get a common date for those interested so it is looking like January/February 2023.  I have some dates from the Velodrome so will publish these to interested parties next week.  If you would like to add your name to the list for a velodrome experience, drop me a line at [email protected].

Still Good Roadie Weather
The weather is still great for getting out there on your roadie - Matthew continues to put on some more challenging rides for those that like to go the distance! For those of you that can make next Sunday, 6th November, there are 3 places left  on a shorter ride of around 25 miles at medium 10 to 12 mph pace with a mid-way lunch stop.  Take a look at the calendar for further details.

Black Mountains Biking and Walking

October saw a weekend trip to the Black Mountains, with stunning weather, beautifully organised by Carrie.  For most people it started with a trip to the pub on Friday night and then a weekend of mountain biking and a number of walks straight from Longtown including on to Offa's Dyke Path and Llanthony Priory.  

A Piece of History

Llanthony Priory, a partly-ruined 900-year-old Augustinian priory.  The first Llanthony Priory was built by nobleman William de Lacy in the early 12th century. While out hunting in around 1100, he reportedly took shelter in the ruined Celtic chapel of St David, and was so ‘overcome by devotion’ that he dedicated his life to solitary prayer and study.

He was accompanied by Ersinius, a former chaplain to Queen Matilda, wife of King Henry I, and soon after a church was built at the site which was consecrated in 1108. It was originally dedicated to John the Baptist, however in 1118 it was converted into a priory when a community of around 40 monks moved there from England. They formed Wales’ first Canons Regular – an order of priests living under a rule, most often the Rule of St Augustine, who were committed to public ministry of liturgy and sacraments.

Today, Llanthony Priory is under the care of Cadw and is open to visitors. The architecture is a mix of Gothic and Norman styles, and even today the stunning arches and windows are a thing of beauty, giving visitors an idea of the grandeur of the original structure.

Fully Booked!
Weekend and longer trips are always very popular and book up quickly.  These are two all-time favourites, the pre-Christmas and the New Year trip.  The organisers are operating a waiting list so get your name on if you would like a chance of going.  

Forest of Dean Weekend 09 - 11 December
A pre-Christmas get together for multi-activities in the heart of the Forest of Dean.

New Year Trip Mid-Wales 28 Dec - 02 Jan
An extremely popular and fun event as always, fully booked but there is a waiting list!

Sarah who has been a huge force in promoting climbing for the Club over the years has passed her Rock Climbing Instructor award!  Many congratulations Sarah, very well deserved.

A 2 night, 3 day weekend outside climbing trip to Rhossili on the Gower Coast marked the end of the planned outdoor climbs for the year.  

We're Moving Indoors!
Now that the evenings are not so light we have returned the midweek climbing sessions indoors. For the moment we climb in Bedminster on Tuesdays and St Werburghs on Thursdays. Usually, there is a concurrent session for beginners.

For beginners, we teach you the safety aspects of the sport, how to fit and check equipment and how to belay your partner. Initially, this last is for fixed ropes (ropes that pass from the belayer through an anchor at the top of the climb and back to the climber). As the climber ascends you take up the slack in the rope so that, in the event that they let go of the wall, you will prevent them from falling any distance. The more you climb together the more trust you build up and the more confident you become about trying different moves.

Paradoxically, quite a few climbers are scared of heights! While it is a strange sensation to have been so focused on climbing that you only notice height when you stop, it is also a strangely liberating sensation to relax and realise that your equipment is keeping you safe. The time it takes to reach this stage varies individually (for some, though, it may never happen). In this way, indoor climbing can be regulated by you to keep within Type 1 fun but, if you are more of a thrill seeker, you can also move it up to Type 2 fun. It’s up to you.

Unusually, indoor combing allows participants of widely varying abilities to work together. Each climber can choose the route that they want to try; they can repeat climbs, or parts of a climb, to look for different techniques, or attempt harder climbs to push their limits, or easier ones to warm down or re-establish confidence. This means that the more experienced climbers are not held back while the newer climbers can learn from the way that they tackle the harder climbs.

Please note that there is a charge for admission and hire of kit at the centre. As with most sports, once you have got started and bought your own kit then the costs are much lower. Beginner climbing sessions are on the calendar.
Matt Hughes - Climbing Leader
More on how you can progress in the sport of climbing in the next newsletter!

Climbing Survey

The Climbing organisers have put together a survey.  This is as much for you if you are thinking of trying climbing, as it is for current climbers. It's accessible from the link below. Please do - we need your thoughts.

Menorca Sea Kayaking Adventure - September 2022

What better way to enjoy the beautiful coastline of Menorca than via sea kayak! A circumnavigation of the island over 10 days in September saw some the Club's kayak explorers head out - bivvying on beaches, visiting amazing rock formations, cliffs, caves, stunning beaches, and the bluest seas.   Here is Rod's review and some of his amazing pictures . . .

"So, 180km in 8 days, kayak circumnavigation of Menorca, wild bivvying on beaches and racing to beat storms. What was it like?

For me this was my first serious kayak expedition. So I knew I had a lot to learn. The first thing that struck me was the great amount of planning and preparation needed for a trip like this. Katie, Dave and Murray, our chef, had put a lot of thought into the trip beforehand.

There were the obvious challenges like travelling 25 to 30km a day in fully loaded kayaks. Even getting all our kit, food and water into what initially seemed  like  tiny boats was daunting. Where do you put 9 bottles of water? Don't answer that!

Setting off, it was amazing to think  that we would be spending the next 8 or 9 days totally outdoors at the mercy of the elements.

The pictures of high cliffs, deep blue water caves and white sandy beaches will speak for themselves but this adventure was so much more about the people. When spending 24/7 with five others, on and off the water, team dynamics are so important. In an environment of heat, sand, rain, cold with tired, hungry paddlers, moods can change, but I felt blessed to be around such pleasant,  tolerant company. I certainly felt the ups and downs while getting into the swing of things (apologies to the team if I offended anyone).   For me, it was a balance between supporting the team, contributing as fully as I could and making sure I had my own time and space.

Having the right, good quality kit certainly helps (and having the wisdom to bring it also helps!), being able to get comfortable at the end of the day lifts your mood. Watching and learning how to keep kit clean and dry was also important.  Another lesson learned for me. I’ve got a list of things I need to buy or upgrade for next time. My lack of sleep was testament to that.

The collective sense of achievement in completing the circuit was immense and huge thanks to Katie for all her drive and endless enthusiasm and Dave's calm, quiet support. You are a great team. They say an army marches on its stomach and Murray certainly kept us very well fed.

Would I do it again ...? Oh yes, in a heartbeat! What a great adventure .... now, where next?!"

Discover what the Paddlers’ Code means to paddlers, and how you can use it as a guide to help enjoy our beautiful waterways responsibly.

Next New Members Evening Thursday 10 November, 7.30pm

We are moving to hold the monthly new members meet in person.  November's meeting will be the Tobacco Factory, Bristol.  Meet inside anytime from 7.30pm.  For new members, this is the perfect opportunity to come along, see what the Club is all about, ask questions and meet existing members.  

New members are also welcome to pay an introductory membership to come along and try an event.  Introductory Membership costs only £5 for 3 months.  This is a limited membership, details of which are included below.  Introductory membership gives potential new members the opportunity to join in and find out more before becoming a full member.

  • Introductory membership can only be used once per member and is for those who haven't previously been a member.
  • It gives full read only access to the Club website.
  • It allows you to post on the forums.

ICE Contacts - Your Mobile Could Save Your Life! 

ICE means 'In Case of Emergency'.  This is now a globally known way of storing emergency contact details in some form, kept on your person.  When a patient who is unconscious or unable to speak comes into A&E, hospitals worldwide check their person, usually going to their smartphone first, for an ICE contact, to help them locate their next of kin or nominated emergency contact.  

Did you know, all modern smartphones have the ability to store ICE contacts without anyone having to unlock your phone?  If you Google you can find many instructional video clips on how to do this - this one below is one of the clearest I've found.

Your Mobile Has Other Life Saving Features 

The most obvious way of using your phone in an emergency is by using it to dial 999 (or 111 for non-emergencies), but your mobile phone may have other life-saving uses too.  It can also store your medical information if you have a specific condition that would be useful to emergency services/hospital staff if you are unable to communicate.  In addition, here are some useful things to remember:

There are many other ways of making sure your ICE contacts are readily available to the emergency services, just do an internet search on 'ICE Tags'.


If members would like information on how the Club operates, you can visit the website

As a Limited Company, the Club has to publish certain information about the Club and this is made publicly available -  And of course, you can always come along to the AGM and get involved yourself in the operation of the Club by offering your time as a committee member, there are various roles which come up for nomination each year and new committee members are always very welcome!

Stay safe, have fun and enjoy the Autumn everyone!

[email protected]


--- Title Location Date Activity Type
New Indoor Climbing - beginners Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 01/11/2022 Climbing
New Tuesday Indoor Climbing Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 01/11/2022 Climbing
New Indoor Climbing - The Church St Werburgs Thu, 03/11/2022 Climbing
New Indoor climbing - The Church BEGINNERS St Werburgs Thu, 03/11/2022 Climbing
--- South West Wales - Kayaking and MTB Weekend - FULL Llandysull Fri, 04/11/2022 to Sun, 06/11/2022 Multi-activity
New Road Ride East of Bristol rescheduled Iron Acton - Marshfield direction Sun, 06/11/2022 Road cycling
New Tuesday Indoor Climbing Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 08/11/2022 Climbing
New Indoor Climbing - beginners Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 08/11/2022 Climbing
New Indoor Climbing - The Church St Werburgs Thu, 10/11/2022 Climbing
New Indoor climbing - The Church BEGINNERS St Werburgs Thu, 10/11/2022 Climbing
New New Members Evening Tobacco Factory, Southville, Bristol Thu, 10/11/2022 Social
--- Mountain Biking in the Forest of Dean Forest of Dean Sat, 12/11/2022 Mountain Biking
New Avebury, West Kennet and Silbury Hill Avebury Sun, 13/11/2022 Walking
New Climbing skill sessions Flashpoint/Redpoint Climbing Centre Mon, 14/11/2022 Climbing
New Indoor Climbing - beginners Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 15/11/2022 Climbing
New Tuesday Indoor Climbing Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 15/11/2022 Climbing
New Paddlesport development meeting Online Thu, 17/11/2022 Kayaking & Canoeing
New Indoor Climbing - The Church St Werburgs Thu, 17/11/2022 Climbing
New Indoor climbing - The Church BEGINNERS St Werburgs Thu, 17/11/2022 Climbing
--- New Members Weekend - Brechfa Forest - Walking and Mountain Biking Brechfa Forest, Carmarthenshire Fri, 18/11/2022 to Sun, 20/11/2022 Multi-activity
--- White Water River Trip Grade 2-3 FULL Various Sun, 20/11/2022 Kayaking & Canoeing
New Climbing skill sessions Flashpoint/Redpoint Climbing Centre Mon, 21/11/2022 Climbing
New Tuesday Indoor Climbing Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 22/11/2022 Climbing
New Indoor Climbing - beginners Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 22/11/2022 Climbing
New Indoor Climbing - The Church St Werburgs Thu, 24/11/2022 Climbing
New Indoor climbing - The Church BEGINNERS St Werburgs Thu, 24/11/2022 Climbing
--- Devon White Water Weekend Devon Fri, 25/11/2022 to Sun, 27/11/2022 Kayaking & Canoeing
New Climbing skill sessions Flashpoint/Redpoint Climbing Centre Mon, 28/11/2022 Climbing
New Committee meeting Google meet Tue, 29/11/2022 Other
New Indoor Climbing - beginners Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 29/11/2022 Climbing
--- Tuesday Indoor Climbing Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 29/11/2022 Climbing
New Tuesday Indoor Climbing Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 06/12/2022 Climbing
New Indoor Climbing - beginners Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 06/12/2022 Climbing
New Climbing Development Meeting - Change of Date Miners Thu, 08/12/2022 Climbing
--- Forest of Dean Pre-Christmas Multi-Activity Weekend Forest Of Dean Fri, 09/12/2022 to Sun, 11/12/2022 Multi-activity
--- White Water day trip TBC Sat, 10/12/2022 Kayaking & Canoeing
New Climbing skill sessions Flashpoint/Redpoint Climbing Centre Mon, 12/12/2022 Climbing
New Indoor Climbing - beginners Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 13/12/2022 Climbing
New Tuesday Indoor Climbing Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 13/12/2022 Climbing
--- Tuesday Indoor Climbing Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 20/12/2022 Climbing
--- Indoor Climbing - beginners Redpoint Climbing Centre Tue, 20/12/2022 Climbing
--- New Year 2022-2023 Trip: Broneirion - Campervan Mid-Wales Wed, 28/12/2022 to Mon, 02/01/2023 Multi-activity
--- New Year 2022-2023 Trip: Broneirion Mid-Wales Wed, 28/12/2022 to Mon, 02/01/2023 Multi-activity
--- Mid Wales Paddle and MTB Trip Mid Wales Fri, 06/01/2023 to Sun, 08/01/2023 Multi-activity
--- Plas-Y-Brenin Long Weekend Plas-Y-Brenin Thu, 26/01/2023 to Sun, 29/01/2023 Multi-activity
New White Water Day Trip - Grade 2 - 3 Various Sun, 05/02/2023 Kayaking & Canoeing
--- Devon WW Kayaking Feb 2023 Devon Fri, 17/02/2023 to Sun, 19/02/2023 Kayaking & Canoeing
--- Beginner to intermediate ski/snowboarding - FULL Sauze d’Oulx Sat, 25/02/2023 to Sat, 04/03/2023 Skiing/Boarding
--- WW Day Trip to River Usk (may change - due to water levels) River Usk Sat, 04/03/2023 Kayaking & Canoeing
New New Members' Weekend Slapton, Devon Fri, 10/03/2023 to Sun, 12/03/2023 Multi-activity
--- Scotland Easter 2023 [Waiting list] Loch Tay Sun, 02/04/2023 to Sun, 09/04/2023 Multi-activity
--- Swanage Climbing Trip Swanage Fri, 21/04/2023 to Sun, 23/04/2023 Climbing
--- Lundy Island Climbing Lundy Island Sat, 06/05/2023 to Tue, 09/05/2023 Climbing
New River Tryweryn White Water Bala Fri, 12/05/2023 to Sun, 14/05/2023 Kayaking & Canoeing
--- New Year 2023-2024 Trip: Blencathra Lake District Thu, 28/12/2023 to Tue, 02/01/2024 Multi-activity