13 March, 2017

Quo Vadis? Issue 92


The Spring Edition has just gone to print! The beautiful cover photo is of Hadrian's Wall, by Richard Owen. You can read the blog of his 2012 along the Wall here, and the blog of his 2016 End-to-End cycle here. Happy Reading, fellow travellers.

07 March, 2017

Proposed Additional Certified Challenges

Proposal to the Land’s End – John o’ Groats Association Committee


Patrick Jordan
1 Feb 2017


1. INTRODUCTION
This document outlines a proposal for offering a range of certified challenges in addition to the End-to-End. I am proposing this because I think it will enhance members’ enjoyment of the Association, particularly those using motorized transport, and help us to recruit and retain more members across all categories.

2. CHALLENGES
The new challenges would be in two categories:

  • End-to-End Plus: these would involve doing the ‘standard’ End-to-End but with additional challenges on top.
  • UK Country Challenges: these would involve doing something less than the End-to-End, within the individual countries of the UK.

See appendix for a list of suggested challenges.

3. BENEFITS FOR ASSOCIATION MEMBERS
There are two main reasons why I think this may be attractive to members and potential members:

  • For those who do the trip by motorized transport (a group under-represented in the Association in terms of numbers of members), it is possible to do many trips over the course of a life time and it would be interesting to have other challenges to do in addition to the ‘standard’ End-to-End.
  • Those who travel on foot or cycle may not have time to do a full End-to-End, especially when they are of working age – having some shorter options may be attractive to them.

4. BENEFITS FOR THE ASSOCIATION
From the point of view of the association the potential benefits are as follows:

  • Increased membership. I think we would attract more members this way. Within the long distance driving and (particularly) riding communities there is a strong appetite for completing certified challenges and having a range of these will be attractive. For walkers and cyclists the shorter challenges will set the bar lower in terms of doing a challenge recognized by the association.
  • Improved member retention. Many people join the club in order to gain their End-to-End certificate and leave the following year. If there were a range of further challenges to do, they may continue to do them year on year and therefore retain membership. Again, this applies particularly to those using motorized transport.
  • Wider age-spread. Because the shorter challenges make it more likely that people of working age will be able to complete one on foot or by bicycle we may get a wider age-spread of members.

5. MEMBERSHIP LEVELS
If we offer additional challenges it is important that they do not ‘dilute’ the integrity or standards of the Association. I propose that only those who have completed a full End-to-End are admitted to Full Membership. Those completing the shorter challenges would only be entitled to Associate Membership.

6. FINANCIAL ISSUES
As now, if a Member has completed a trip in a particular year, they would be entitled to a certificate on paying that year’s membership fee. However, if they had done more than one journey that year the additional certificates would be charged for (for example £ 10 per challenge completed). Similarly Associates paying their annual fee would be entitled to one free certificate and would pay for additional ones.

7. PROMOTION OF THE CHALLENGES
I could take to the lead in promoting these challenges, and the Association generally, within the long-distance riding community where I have extensive contacts and also within the long-distance driving community. I would also be happy to write press releases for distribution to walking and cycling websites and magazines.

8. EVIDENCE FOR CERTIFICATION
I could take the lead in suggesting places where those doing the trips by motorized transport should get receipts, stamps or signatures to show that they have completed a particular challenge. Largely, though this would be left to the initiative of the person doing the challenge and the onus would be on them to collect sufficient evidence that they had completed it. The same applies to people doing the routes by other means.

9. VERIFICATION
If a substantial number of people undertake these new routes it could potentially create a significant amount of work in terms of verification. In this eventuality the committee may decide to appoint a dedicated ‘Verification Officer’.

10. ROUTE ADVICE
These routes could also create an additional demand for route advice and we do not have route packs for them. Whether or not we offer informal advice for these routes would be at the discretion of the Route Advisor.




APPENDIX – SUGGESTED CHALLENGES

End-to-End Plus
  • 6 Points of Great Britain – LE and JoG, plus the most north, south, east and west points of mainland GB.
  • 6 Points of United Kingdom – LE and JoG, plus the most north, south, east and west points of mainland UK (I assume the most West would be in Northern Ireland)
  • 14 Points of Great Britain – LE and JoG, plus the most north, south, east and west points of England, Scotland and Wales
  • 18 Points of United Kingdom – LE and JoG, plus the most north, south, east and west points of mainland England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland
  • Multiple trips awards – for example, awards for 5 End-to-Ends, 10 End-to-Ends, 15 End-to-Ends etc.
This list could be increased by also adding mid-points etc.
UK Challenges
  • England End to End – Land’s End to Marshall Meadows Bay
  • Scotland End to End – Mull of Galloway to John O’Groats
  • Wales End to End – Barry Island to Bull Bay
  • Ireland End to End – Crookhaven to Fair Head
  • Northern Ireland End to End – Belcoo to Fair Head* (*This is probably too short to be a challenge for motorized transport)

In each case, these are what I am guessing are the furthest two points apart accessible by public road based on looking at a road atlas and doing some internet research. Please can someone correct these if they are not right and you know the correct points?

  • Four Points of England – Marshall Meadows Bay, Lowestoft Ness, Lizard Point, Sennan Cove
  • Four Points of Scotland – Dunnet Head, Peterhead, Mull of Galloway, Ardnamurchan Point)
  • Four Points of Wales – Point of Ayr, Chepstow, Rhoose, Treginnis
  • Four Points of Ireland – Malin Head, Burr Point, Crookhaven, Dunquin
  • Four Points of Northern Ireland – Ballintoy, Burr Point, Cranfield Point, Belleek

Again, these are what I think are the four extreme most points that are reachable by public roads and I would be grateful if someone would correct the ones that are wrong.

This list could be extended by adding six-point challenges, midpoints etc.


29 January, 2017

2017 AGM Minutes

34th Annual General Meeting

28th January 2017 at 10 a.m.

Chair: Brian Dawson
Minutes: Meriel Shotton

1.Welcome and Apologies

Two lists were circulated for apologies and those in attendance. 29 people present. 5 apologies.

Brian Dawson welcomed everyone to the meeting. Each person present introduced themselves. We had new members who indicated that it was their first meeting.

Brian read out the names of those who were to be remembered who had died during 2016. These were listed on the agenda:
Oona Farrant, Antony Twort, Ken and Shirley Ascott’s son, Kath Bagley’s mother, Gerry Mannell’s wife (this name was added at the meeting by Brian.)
Everyone stood in tribute to them and to remember their families.

2. Minutes of Meeting held on 30th January 2016.

These were published in Quo Vadis? Kathryn Hough proposed and Eldon Mackridge seconded that the minutes be accepted. They were accepted unanimously by the meeting.
Brian asked for notification of any A.O.B. items. One item was given.

3. Reports

These were circulated to all at the meeting. Verbal reports were added as follows:


Treasurer Russell George gave a balance sheet and a written report. It was suggested that people read the written report first. Russell took over as treasurer in 2016. There were initial problems with the bank and with receiving bank statements. In June, there was a surplus income of £1,400 which was down on the previous year. Membership had gone down, but the sale of goods increased. The biggest expenditure is producing and posting Quo Vadis? This year shows a 29% increase in costs. We have 3 bank accounts: a current account, a savings account and a social account. The amount in all the accounts shows an increase. The stock of goods is now separate. We are in a good state financially and are controlling costs.

Credit was given to the Quo Vadis? team: Editor Katharine Arzul(who lives in South Africa), Colin Jones who produces the labels, and Geoff De’Ath who puts the magazines in envelopes and posts them. Thanks were extended to all the team. Funding for Quo Vadis? is by events such as the raffle at the presentation dinner and sale of goods, so that we do not have to increase membership fees. The treasurer encouraged people to buy goods (e.g. mugs, sweat shirts, scarves etc.) which would be on sale near Reception on Sunday morning. This is also a way of promoting the Association.
There were no questions.

Route Advisor Chris Hatton, said that there have been more people asking for information this year, and more route packs had been bought. There were no questions.

QV Editor / Web Editor Katharine Arzul produces and sends the magazine from South Africa. The website has done well. The demise of the commercial “Lejog Club” has helped. Katharine will stand down as editor and hand over to someone else in 2019. Anyone interested, please speak to Brian Dawson. No questions.

Social Secretary Jack Adams said he has some books by Charlie Hankins who had done LEJOG in a wheelchair. He was an ex-military man who had no legs. Jack recommended the books and said he would be selling them if anyone wanted one. More information was given about Charlie Hankins by a Geoff De'Ath who attended his funeral. No questions.

Membership Secretary Adrian Cole was not present and sent apologies as his son, Henry, was doing his Duke of Edinburgh award this weekend and Adrian had to take him to Brecon Beacons and then collect him on Sunday. Brian gave his report. The figures for membership improved during 2016. There were 10 more first-time members than in 2015. Modes of travel were in the report which was distributed and attached to minutes. It was stressed that no way of travelling is better than others. No questions.

Chairperson Brian Dawson said that there is a new walkers’ route being established to avoid walking on the A9. The Association will be informed when it is ready. There are some changes of officers: Jack Adams is stepping down as Social Secretary. Eighteen years ago, he became Route Advisor; he was then Social Secretary and Vice Chair and Chair. Thanks were given to Jack for all his hard work and also thanks to Ann in previous years and now to Theresa for their support. Eldon Mackridge will take over from Jack as Social Secretary.

Cliff Harrison is stepping down from the committee. He has made clocks over the years to present to members on special occasions, and also sends Christmas cards with LEJOG badges etc on them and also on the envelopes, thus promoting the Association. Thanks were expressed to a “superb ambassador”. Cliff said that his support will still continue.

Subscriptions. Brian asked that everyone pays subscriptions on time, and to keep costs down we will be asking that they be paid by Standing Order in future Also we were asked to tell people about the LEJoG Association and channel any queries to Chris Hatton. No questions.

4. I.T. Team

The Committee thinks we should expand our communication channels. The present Web Editor is Katharine Arzul who is also Quo Vadis? Editor. Karen Bower and Ian Holmes have offered to work together on IT if agreed at the AGM . The Team will report to the Committee on the setting up and maintenance of Social Media sites, including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

5. Election of Officers

Brian handed over to Roy Walker for Election of Chair. Roy Walker proposed that Brian Dawson be re-elected as Chair. Chris Hatton seconded. It was agreed unanimously. Brian returned to chair the meeting.
Route Advisor Nominee Chris Hatton. Proposed by Derek Bootyman, seconded by Steve Gibbs. Agreed unanimously.
Quo Vadis? Editor Nominee Katharine Arzul. Proposed by Kathryn Hough, seconded by Geoff De’Ath. Agreed unanimously
Treasurer Nominee Russell George. Proposed by Eldon Mackridge, seconded by Anne De’Ath. Agreed unanimously.

Membership Secretary Nominee Adrian Cole. Proposed by Don Dyer, seconded by Russell George. Agreed unanimously.

Social Secretary Nominee Eldon Mackridge. Proposed by Brian Dawson, seconded by Cliff Harrison. Agreed unanimously.

6. Election of Committee Members

The present committee, Tony Bagley, Don Dyer, Geoff De’Ath, and Kathryn Hough all agreed to stand for re-election. This was agreed unanimously, as was the inclusion of Neville Tetley.

Nominee as committee member: Patrick Jordan. Proposed by Kathryn Hough, seconded by Roy Walker. Agreed unanimously

I.T. Team (NEW) (See also item 4) Nominees Karen Bower and Ian Holmes. Proposed by Russell George, seconded by Patrick Jordan. Agreed unanimously.

7. Bank Account

Change of signatories: It was suggested that Eldon Mackridge be approved as an Authorised Signatory on the Association Accounts in the place of Jack Adams. Proposed by Brian Dawson, seconded by Jack Adams. Agreed unanimously.

Chris Hatton asked if Paypal could be looked into as a means of paying, rather than cheques. This is already being used for route advice packs. It was asked if cheques could still be accepted as some people do not like paying online. Paypal will be looked into, but cheques will still be accepted. We were reminded that subscriptions were due on Jan 1st 2017.

8. A.O.B.

Steve Gibbs asked if there is any artwork available which he can use on his vehicle to promote the Association when doing his LEJOG journey. Stickers are available. Steve wanted something larger. Eldon Mackridge has a contact who does signs using LEJOG art work.. Steve will talk to Eldon about this.

Chris has had questions from someone planning to do the journey on a 100cc Monkey Bike. He is planning to do the “4 points” and wonders if it has been done on a Monkey Bike before and what is the best time achieved? Answer: It has not been done in this way before. He asked if we can recommend a time? Answer: No as we have “Duty of Care”. Can we help with route? Answer: Yes; Steve can help as he has done 4 points by another means of transport.

Brian said that the booking of next year’s Presentation Dinner has been made for the Saturday 27th January 2018. The hotel has said they could also offer 3rd Feb as they had a cancellation. It was agreed unanimously that 27th Jan 2018 is the preferred date. It was also agreed that we have a very good deal from the hotel.

Arrangements for dinner tonight: Meet in Conway bar from 6.30p.m. so that we can be seated for dinner in the Arlington Room by 7.15p.m. Some formalities will be done before dinner is served to save time, as we have 14 trophies to present. Membership cards will be on the tables for those who have paid 2017 subscriptions.

Russell George will be selling Association’s goods on Sunday morning opposite reception area and requested offers of help. Steve offered.

Brian asked if there were any questions. It was asked if the Late Summer Weekend venue had been decided? Answer: Not yet. The committee will discuss it at their meeting immediately after the A.G.M. Any suggestions are to be given to them before that.

Gifts for the raffle tonight will be welcomed. Please take them to the Arlington Room between 4 and 5p.m.

The Meeting closed at 10:58 with thanks to all for attending.

24 January, 2017

Report of the Chair for the 2017 AGM

by Brian Dawson

2016 has been a busy year with much communication between Committee Members as we try to ensure that members (long-standing and new) are aware of how they can feel part of our unique membership. The full year of our new website address <lejog.org> and our Facebook page seems to have had a positive effect, and helped potential End-to-Enders. We intend to extend our communication efforts through Social Media, including Twitter and Instagram. To this end we have volunteers who are willing to set this up and manage it (See Item 4 on the AGM Agenda).

We have close ties with other like-minded organisations and the setting up of the John o’ Groats Trail in the Scottish Highlands will make it safer for walkers between Inverness/Dingwall and John o’ Groats rather then using the A9. Many sections have already been opened, and progress and completion will be advised so we can assist potential users.

We have had some changes in Officers and Committee Members, and I take this opportunity to pay tribute and offer grateful thanks to Jack Adams (Social Secretary) and Cliff Harrison (Committee Member) who are both stepping down after this meeting.

I also thank the Committee Officers for undertaking visits to present Trophies to those Members who were prevented from attending the Annual Celebration at Torquay. The response from the recipients has been really appreciated.

With rising costs for distribution of the Quo Vadis? we are always looking to ensure that we can keep this up. So far we have been able to achieve this and one further way to reduce costs is for those members who do not pay their Annual Subs by Standing Order to seriously think about doing so. This will be mentioned at the AGM. We have resisted the idea of increasing the annual subscription and hope that members not paying by this suggested way will consider changing to it in order to help the finances.

As ever, I urge you all to be on the lookout for people who are considering doing the journey. Your passing them to our Route Adviser/Membership Secretary would be very helpful.

23 January, 2017

Treasurer's Report for 2017 AGM

by Russell George

Jeff handed over the Treasurer’s black executive briefcase to me after the last AGM, with the Association’s finances in a healthy state. It took a few more months for HSBC Bank to update their records and enable me to start receiving bank statements, but eventually I was up and running.
Income and Expenditure to 31st March 2016
We finished the year with a surplus of £1405.40, a little less than the previous year.
Income
  • Membership subscriptions £2557.00 (down 4% on the previous year)
  • Sales of merchandise £178.00 (up 24%)
  • Route packs £150.50 (up 34%)
  • Raffle/donations/bank interest £327.60 (up 13%)
  • Social Account £11,609 (down 3%)
Expenditure
  • Postage £74.96 (down 65%)
  • Quo Vadis? Magazine £1870.74 (up 29%) [Note 1]
  • Trophies £259.00 (up 18%)
  • Website domain purchase £200 (nil in previous year)
  • Merchandise purchases £nil (£265.68 in previous year)
  • Social Account £10,964 (down 5%)
Note 1:
The increased cost of QV? is due to additional pages (up 16% on the previous year), two editions exceeding the standard letter weight for postage, and increased postage costs.
Balance Sheet as at 31st March 2016
The total amount held across the Association’s three bank accounts has increased to £11,481.42. This arises from the year’s surplus of £1,405.40.
I have made a small change to the presentation of merchandising stock, which is now shown as a memorandum item, outside of the balance sheet – this is because the Association traditionally charges all stock purchases to the Income & Expenditure account in the year of purchase. The merchandising stock is valued (at cost) at £1,266.17, which is slightly higher than at the previous year end. Despite sales of merchandise in the year and no further purchases of stock, the stock value has increased due to the discovery of a bundle of car stickers at the bottom of a box of sweatshirts.

22 January, 2017

Route Advisor's Report for the 2017 AGM

by Chris Hatton

An Excellent Year

For the first time in several years, we had more applicants for Route Information Packs: 30 in 2016, compared to only 17 in 2015 (19 of the 30 were paid for by PayPal) I am certain that that this increase is because people can use PayPal. I expect the percentage to grow in 2017, as we only introduced the PayPal option after the year had started. The following advised me of their mode of travel:-
15 Walkers
5 Cyclists
5 Runners
1 Bus pass
1 Motor Cyclist
1 Hire Car.

Most cyclists make decisions as groups with Cycling UK or Sustrans Route Information. There are several people trying to do an organised group run/running race. WOW! ( I found it hard enough walking in 2012) The John o' Groats Trail is gradually making it oh-so-much safer for walkers between Inverness/Dingwall & JoG than on the A9. However, it will be a while yet before it is a completed, continuous, off-road walking trail. The A9 is for motor vehicles, not cyclists or walkers.

I’ve enjoyed talking to a lot of determined LEJoGers who were planning their big journey in 2016. A good plan will usually ensure a positive and enjoyable result!

21 January, 2017

Social Secretary's Report for the 2017 AGM

by Jack Adams

This year we returned to Wales for our late summer weekend. After a great deal of searching hotels, I settled on the Premier hotel at Llandudno; actually, it was a good 10 minutes' drive to Llandudno. While the hotel was clean and the food good, the service left a bit to be desired. After saying that, I think most people enjoyed the break.

This year’s Presentation Weekend figures are down on our halcyon years but on the whole, not too bad. The social account now has a surplus due to the discount from the hotel and also due to the generosity of our president Mr Roy Walker and his wife Brenda who in the past have been forced to cancel a booking, but have donated the amount to the Association funds. Thank you, Roy and Brenda.

This is my last official duty, as I am standing down after this meeting, but I would like to say what a pleasure it has been working alongside such a terrific bunch of volunteers. I am sure my successor Mack will receive the same support in his post as social secretary as I have.

Thank you