This year’s spring outing was to 5 towers in the Old North Berks branch, where I grew up (although I only had rung at two of these before the outing).
On a fine spring morning 11 Ringers from Bicester, Oxford City and Witney & Woodstock branches gathered at St Peters, Drayton near Abingdon, a light ring of 8 bells with strong sound control, where the walls of the Ringing chamber are covered with many Peal boards, several commemorating peals rung by clergymen, as well as peal conductor John Pladdy’s 1000th Peal.
First up, we had a plain course of Grandsire Triples , followed by Andy calling changes on 8. We then rang a plain course of Plain Bob Triples, before ambitiously attempting a plain course of Plain Bob Major for Elizabeth.
We rang Plain Hunt on 7 for Sue, then attempted a touch of Grandsire Triples before ringing down.
Next tower was St Blaise, Milton, another light ring of 8, but preferred by most as we could clearly hear all the bells.
More Grandsire Triples here, including a successful touch, Ellie trebling, called by Hugh, plus Bob Triples, Plain Hunt on 7 and a touch of Plain Bob Minor for Ellie and Andy.
We repaired for lunch at the Cherry Tree, Steventon, before our 3rd tower, St Michael Steventon (11 cwt), at the far end of the village, reached via a level crossing. We were joined by Jan and Richard Haseldine, Bicester deputy Ringing Master and by Malcolm and Clare Fairbairn.
Many of the group found the 6 bells the most challenging, due to the long draught and “flighty “ ropes. However, we rang plain courses of Cambridge and Stedman, a plain course and a touch of Bob Minor and attempted another plain course of Cambridge as well as several courses of Plain Hunt on 5.
Onto St James the Great, West Hanney, my very first tower and a “stately” ring of 6, tenor 18 cwt. We were welcomed by Michael, a local ringer, who joined us in an attempted plain course of Cambridge. Further touches of Plain Bob Minor and one of Grandsire Doubles successfully completed, we rang more Plain Hunt on 5 then my first touch of Stedman, assisted by Hugh.
Our final tower was All Saints Marcham, a fairly light ring of 6, but anti-clockwise, which caught a few out, including myself. This was compensated by the very clear ringing circle.
A successful touch of St Clements Minor, more touches of Bob Minor and Grandsire Doubles plus a plain course of Stedman and our day was complete.