On Sunday 7th April 2019, 11 Young Ringers and 4 adults set off to the New Forest for 2 1/2 days of ringing. We all met at Ightham on the Sunday afternoon had a ring and some biscuits/cake (fought off vile-tasting ladybirds) and then headed off to Lyndhurst. Arriving there early and being let in earlier we had an hour on the 11cwt ring of 8. Then we went and checked into our accommodation for the next 2 nights at Burley Youth Hostel. Once rooms were allocated we sat down and had a delicious dinner before going out and exploring the forest with a game of hide and seek in the dark. A total of 5 handbell quarter peals were rung today by our KYR handbell team, 4 being in Ben’s car and 1 at the Youth Hostel!
The following day saw an early start with an amazing breakfast before leaving for Ringwood. Whilst ringing at Ringwood a lady showed up to take pictures for the local church magazine. The second tower of the day was at Sopley, a light ring of 6 (7cwt). After that we travelled to Hordle, an extremely light 8 weighing the same as Sopley but with ropes long enough for one adult to kneel and ring!
Then we had a picnic lunch in the New Forest with a couple of ponies that were passing by. The first tower after lunch was Lymington; Neil sat on his throne and looked on.. then it was on to  Brockenhurst, a 4cwt 8. Everyone had a ring and then a quarter peal of Cambridge S Minor was rung by 5 young ringers and a young local whilst the rest of us went for a stroll around the local area. Ellen found more ponies and Callum and Dan Hall explored the woodland, whilst others had a rest and enjoyed their surroundings. Once back at the youth hostel some went back into the forest in daylight, others rang handbells all before gathering inside the Youth Hostel for dinner. After dinner we were introduced to the Kent Young Ringers’ survival kit!! This included items such as a hard hat, ear defenders (to protect ears from all the handbell ringing!), arm bands (in case any young ringer went further than knee deep into water), stethoscope ( to check local wildlife were still alive following invasion of Young Ringers!), goggles ( protection from any flying handbell clappers) white plastic pony ( to help Ellen!) child reins ( to keep Ellen at arms length from ponies), magic wand, bandage ( In case of any broken bones or nibbled fingers by ponies) and a plastic cup hand bell set. After tidying the masses of polystyrene that came out of the survival kit we retired to the lounge to play the saucepan game. Once again a very popular game amongst the young ringers and their leaders. A few famous people from the KCACR appeared in the game once again like last year. Once we all knew The Larter Family Tree it was off to bed after a very tiring but enjoyable day of ringing and fun. Today saw another 5 handbell quarter peals being rung, 1 in Neil’s car (stationary…without Neil!), 3 in Jen’s Car and 1 in a field at Midnight! Also not forgetting 1 tower quarter peal.
Tuesday 9th April was an even earlier start due to packing up, stripping beds and having breakfast before leaving the Hostel at 0820hrs for the Hythe Pier Ferry and a trip on the oldest pierhead railway. Safely across to Southampton (after a handbell quarter on the ferry) we walked to St Michael’s then on to St Mary’s. Both rings of 10, a new experience for a couple of young ringers. A walk back to the ferry, negotiating crossing the road using the saying,” Look to, treble’s going, he’s gone!” ensuring we all crossed safely! Also a couple of carrot-obsessed YR’s just had to stop and top up their carrot supplies on the way! It goes without saying the handbells were put to good use in various new places during today too!
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Safely back at Hythe it was a short drive to Eling to ring on their 11cwt 8, before heading off to our last tower of the trip –  Hurley a 14cwt ring of 12. Again a new experience for quite a few young ringers! All young ringers rang here on 12 and all but one rang Plain Hunt 11, too. We all gathered one last time in Farnham for dinner (Pizza express) before heading home. Handbell quarter peals today totalled 6, 1 in a field, 4 in Shonas car and 1 on the ferry. It would have been 2 on the ferry but the second was lost due to a slipped carrot! Not forgetting the 120 PB Doubles on the train on the Hythe Ferry Pier! A total of 16 handbell quarter peals and 1 tower quarter peal this year, beating last years totals on the KYR weekend away. What will next year’s trip hold……………………………………………………………………………………….?
Callum and Shona Clark