Lilliputters’ Young Ringers’ Tour 2016 – A Report by Simon Edwards

Looking Back at 2015

Monday 3rd August 2015 saw a group of mostly young ringers, augmented with a few “senior” ringers, set out for a week’s holiday, ringing at 16 towers (including 4 quarter peals) over the week. The focus was on a good standard of ringing with a light-hearted atmosphere, which ventured close to lunacy at times! Highlights included Wimborne Minster, Winchester Cathedral, and the delightful little eight at Brownsea Island, the spiritual home of Scouting. Scouting was an important factor in this tour; I had discovered our accommodation, the Lilliput Sea Scout house, through a recommendation on the “1st Facebook Scout Group,” and this proved an ideal location.

The 2015 tour was a resounding success, despite being a “trial run” and slightly low on numbers, and so the Lilliputters Guild was born, named after the aforementioned Lilliput sea scout house! A Somerset day out in April set the scene well for the 2016 tour, which had been put in the diary almost before the 2015 tour had finished! This day had a considerable mini-ring theme, a good forerunner for the Summer tour, as we were joined this year by “Brian”, a 10lb mini-ring of eight belonging to Aaron.

The 2016 Tour

Despite the organiser (ahem!) not arriving in time for the start of the tour, and only meeting them at Christchurch, the group was not deterred, ringing a quarter peal on Brian, before venturing into Bournemouth for the (early) Sacred Heart practice. Moving straight onto the practice at Christchurch Priory, the group were presented with the chance to ring on 12, culminating in some very fine call changes, as well as Stedman Caters and some Yorkshire Surprise Major on the back 8, before a good social session in the pub.

Tuesday dawned gloomy and murky, but that did not deter us as we headed to the Jurassic Coast for the day. Starting at Corfe Castle, we also visited Worth Matravers and Swanage, before breaking for lunch. The afternoon was made up of a treasure hunt around the town, competently organised by Aaron. Congratulations to Thomas and Susannah, winners of the inaugural Lilliputters competition!

An unusually quiet day (by our standards!) finished with an evening in the Scout hut, including some wacky card games, and ringing on handbells and Brian. Being completely nuts, some of us decided that there was no better idea than a midnight quarter peal on Brian, duly scored in style! Aaron had also composed a new, differential Minor method, named “Kaleeb” in honour of our newest and youngest member; plain courses of this was rung for the first on Brian, and made regular appearances during the week.

Wednesday’s theme was “wooden towers”, and, as an added bonus, they were all ground floor rings! Joined by some intrepid youths from Hampshire and Sussex for the day, and Andy from the evening onwards, we visited Leckford, King’s Somborne, the brand new six at Houghton, Mottisfont, the novel three at Farley Chamberlayne, and Sparsholt. For many, this was the first time they had visited a three-bell tower; Erin and Isla were also delighted to be able to ring at Farley without the aid of a box! Our picnic lunch at King’s Somborne was enhanced by various antics, including “human bellframes” and gymnastics; safe to say none of us will be competing for Team GB anytime soon! For the second tour in a row, we joined the Alton and Petersfield District for their practice at Winchester Cathedral, with its fourteen bells, and we are very grateful to them for making us so welcome for the last two years.

We started Thursday, our “higher numbers day,” at the Clock House Bells at Awbridge, a fantastic little ten, where Jack, Daniel and Jenny joined the tour, and Tim and Daniel joined us for a day of merriment. After backtracking to the pleasant octave at Eling, our post-lunch tower was the SUGCR Campanile at South Stoneham, a mini ring of 12 with a tenor of 15lb! The light ten at North Stoneham was accompanied by some ukulele playing and some Bob Minimus – Connor being to blame for both, though not at the same time! After another play in the park (overgrown children alert!), we finished on the twelve at Hursley, where Jack introduced us to Birmingham-style rounds, backrounds and Queens; great fun, and any handling faults showed up immediately!

Time then, for a nice pint or two – or so some of the group thought! – but it wasn’t to be, as we decided to move straight onto Bishopstoke for a pre-practice picnic in the churchyard! The evening finished on a high, with a fireworks display over Poole harbour being enjoyed from the Scout Hut, and another midnight quarter peal – making full use of Brian!

A relaxed Friday morning gave ample time to ring one final quarter peal on Brian before packing up and driving to Milford on Sea for lunch – rectifying the only lockout of last year’s tour; the chippy was open this time round! The classic Taylor eight here were much enjoyed by the group before ending our tour at Brockenhurst; first at St Nicholas, and then on the Gasworks Campanile, another mini ring!

Over 200 photos on Facebook recounting the madness tells its own story; the tour is fast becoming an established date in our diaries, and we are already looking forward to 2017! Here’s to the next one, with the variety of towers, interesting car discussions, loud (very loud!) singalongs, midnight quarters, and, of course, great, like-minded companionship. My thanks go to all the towers who let us ring on their bells, and in particular to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Bishopstoke for allowing us to join their practices.

If you would like to know more about Lilliputters, or are interested in coming on next year’s tour, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me:

 

 

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