Big turnout for Sandstone skate

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A record number of ARS members turned out on a bitterly cold morning yesterday. ARS stands for the Audlem Ramblers Society although yesterday it could have been renamed 'Audlem Ramblers & Skaters' as many parts of the 7 to 8 mile stretch of the Sandstone Trail from Bickerton to Beeston proved like a skating rink for the twenty one participants.

Until recently a completely informal group, ARS now has an extensive membership list and will hold its first AGM on Monday 19th January at the Lord Combermere. At the meeting a cheque will be presented to the Air Ambulance Service and Ivan Burgess, a paramedic based at Tatenhill Airfield, near Burton on Trent (the home of the air ambulance for Staffordshire) will be attending and describing the service they provide.

ARS has been fund-raising for the Air Ambulance Service since one of their number, Kate Down, had to be rescued by helicopter from a remote spot in the Peak District after breaking a leg on an ARS hike. Most of the money was raised at a very successful ceilidh in November and walkers have also been making contributions after each expedition.

This year's programme of walks is:-

Yesterday — a section of the Sandstone Trail from around Bickerton to Beeston, a distance of approximately 7/8 miles.

February 14th — two walks out of Llangollen. A strenuous walk probably over the Berwyns (details to be confirmed) plus a circular walk, including World's End, of around 10/12 miles.

March 14th — a walk from Oswestry

April 4th — a walk in the Churnett Valley hopefully including a trip by steam train

May 9th — two options on the Aran Mountains. An end to end traverse from Dinas Mawddwy to Llanuwchilyn of approximately 13 miles. The alternative will be an easier out and back climb of the Aran's from Llanuwchllyn of approximately 10 miles

June 13th — a 10.5 mile walk in the Goyt Valley including Shining Tor — Cheshire's highest point

July 11th — a walk in North Wales around the Crimpiau, Creigiau and Craig Wen returning via Llyn Cowlyd

August 8th — Bishop's Castle to Montgomery along Offa's Dyke Path

September 12th — a linear walk from Conwy to Llanfairfachan with good coastal views and interesting stone circles. A distance of approximately 10 miles — a walk known by many.

October 10th — the Nantlle Ridge in North Wales (with back up walk in Shropshire if weather unsuitable)

November 14th — a walk around the Roaches — further details to follow

December 12th — a walk around the Wrekin and Ercall. Followed by the ARS Christmas Dinner in the evening

If you are interested in joining ARS, please contact Andy Davidson at andydavidsonatb@hotmail.com">andydavidsonatb@hotmail.com who can advise on equipment etc. Commenting on this year's programme, Andy says: "We will continue to walk on the second Saturday of the month except in April when that date falls in Easter — that walk has been moved to the first Saturday.

"As in previous years we have tried to mix the walks in terms of location, terrain and difficulty and in February and May, when harder walks are proposed, we are hoping to organise slightly easier walks alongside them.

"All the walks have special attractions but I'm especially looking forward to the Churnett Valley walk with a trip on the steam train; the Aran mountains can be spectacular; the Goyt Valley should still have the rhododendrons out — and there are some other interesting features — and the walk between Conwy and Llanfairfachan has spectacular views out to sea and we usually manage lunch on some ancient stone circles."