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NEWSLETTER

Obituary 

 Peter Fance

            Sadly passed away on the 10th February 2014.   He and his wife Jennifer joined our Group in 2010 and enjoyed the walking and being part of the Group.  

            We send our sincere condolences to Jennifer and all the Family.

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 Christine Parr.

        You may have heard the sad news that following several weeks of illness Christine Parr passed away on Sunday 25th May 2013.  Christine's wishes were that a celebration of her life should be held in Rochford and that all of her friends are invited to attend the service in her memory.  It will take place at the Congregational Church in North Street, Rochford on the 13th June at 10.15am.

        Christine was a member and walk leader of the Rochford and Castle Point Group but also led walks for our Group, her "Christine's Figure of Eight Pub Walks" were enjoyed by many and were always featured on the posters, she will be very sadly missed.  We send our sincere condolences to all the Family.

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Pam Cross

       Sadly passed away on the 31st March 2013 in Spain to where she and her Husband Jim had emigrated.  Many of you will remember Pam was our Social Secretary from the late 90's to the early 2000's  and her husband Jim was also Chairman and Membership Secretary.

        While living in Spain they organised holidays for our Group which were enjoyed by many.  We send our sincere condolences to all the Family.

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STILL  THINKING  OF  HOLIDAYS ?

 Many people are confused about the relationship between Ramblers Holidays and the RA.  Ramblers Holidays is a Charitable Trust quite separate from the RA but which contributes about £400,000 a year to the work of the Association.  So, by taking a break through Ramblers Holidays, you will not only be getting one of the cheapest walking holiday deals, you will also indirectly be helping the RA.  Now that Ramblers Holidays have taken over ‘Countryside’, there are 25 UK based holidays available at extremely competitive prices.

 If you are holidaying in the UK and wish to walk with local rambling groups, log on to the ramblers website www.ramblers.org.uk/walksfinder and you will find walks programmes of 70% of groups.  If you prefer you can ‘phone Head Office who will be pleased to help you locate suitable walks in the area to which you are going.

 

Hadrian’s Wall National Trail

 Are you considering walking Hadrian’s Wall ?  Kath Dowle of Saughy Rigg Farm, Twice Brwed, Haltwhistle, Northumberland NE49 9PT. Tel:  01434 344120  info@saughyrigg.co.uk     or www.saughyrigg.co.uk   offers as much or as little support and advice as you might require, from a complete package including transport to and from each section of the trail, evening meals, packed lunches and excellent en-suite accommodation.   She can take up to 22 in total.  

 

New Walks website

 John Harris of Hertfordshire provides one of the best resources of walking information that we know of.  Last year, he produced the website www.walkinginherts.co.uk which brought together books, publications, walks and useful contacts for anyone walking in his home county.  Now he has done the same thing for Essex with www.walkinginessex.co.uk.  Not only are these two websites worth visiting for their own sake but John would also welcome any comments you might have concerning missing or any incorrect information at john@walkinginherts.co.uk

 

PROPOSAL  FOR  THE  CREATION  OF  A  NATIONAL  COUNTRY  PARK.

 Fred Matthews, the President of Essex Area, explains how a country park for South East England, which would include the Lea and Roding Valleys together with Epping Forest, would tie in with existing proposals for the Thames Gateway and the European initiative aimed at protecting the estuaries.  A working party is being set up to investigate this.

 

NAVIGATE  THE  WAY  THROUGH  ESSEX

 Essex County Council has produced a new collection of walks through some of the county’s most beautiful countryside.  The colourful booklet features 6 walks on and around the towpath between Chelmsford and the Heybridge Basin ranging from a gentle stroll on the sea wall to the whole length of the towpath totalling 15 miles.   The booklets are available from Essex County Council, Public Rights of Way, County Hall, Chelmsford CM1 1QH at £3.50 each.  Cheques to be made payable to ‘Essex County Council’.  Alternatively, contact www.essex.gov.uk ‘Essex eShop’

 

HEARTS  OF  OAK

 To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Trafalgar Day, Rochford District Council has planted 200 especially selected English oak trees in Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park alongside those already there to form an avenue.  Our Group has sponsored a tree, allocated No. 140,  inscribed  ‘Our love of walking and the countryside’.

 

Make your ‘phone a hero

 People across the county are being encouraged to make use of a new method of letting emergency services know who to contact on your behalf.  The ICE (In Case of Emergency) was the brainchild of one of the region’s ambulance workers.  All you have to do is make a new contact called ICE on your mobile ‘phone, then assign it the number of the person you would like contacted in an emergency.

 

The High Weald Landscape Trail from Horsham to Rye

 The Trail crosses the counties of West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent providing an opportunity to explore the heart of south-east England.  Meandering through the intimate rolling landscape of small fields, hop gardens, orchards, flower rich meadows and ancient woodland, studded with ponds and sandstone outcrops, the 90-mile Trail links the ridge top villages and the historic gardens for which the area is famous.  The High Weald is a stunning area to walk as the constantly changing height and terrain gives ever-changing views and variety of walking.  Enjoy the wide vistas as you stride along the ridge tops then pass into the seclusion of the wooded ghylls with their cool dappled shade. In May, orchards are blossoming, lambs are new-born and woodlands are carpeted with bluebells.  July, the hedgerows are scented with honeysuckle and dog rose and the farmers are busy hay-cutting and harvesting.  A walk not to be missed.

  

Desperately seeking …….LEADERS

 Our Rambles Secretaries are having a hard time trying to fill our programmes with the walks that we enjoy throughout the year.   They are losing more leaders than gaining new ones and the situation is pretty grim.  Wendy has loads of walks books in our library including ‘15 Walks in S E Essex for all the Family’ and ‘17 more Walks in & around S E Essex’ – 22 easy 5-9 mile walks that many of our leaders have cut their teeth on !   Please think about it and give them a ring (see Contact list).

 

So that we can spread the word about how good rambling is and increase our membership, when you have finished reading our ‘Walk’ magazine would you kindly take it along to the waiting room of your doctor or dentist ?  Thank you.

 

LYME DISEASE AND TICKS

Lyme disease is a rare illness but it has recently started to occur more frequently and the risk of infection cannot be ignored.  It is caused by bacteria carried by ticks.  People who walk in the countryside through rough vegetation (especially bracken) are most at risk.

Ticks are tiny blood-sucking insects that cannot fly but transfer easily to animals such as sheep, deer and cattle  and naturally enough to humans as well – that brushing through the vegetation in which they hide.  Not all ticks can infect humans and with a little care and caution those that do can be detected and removed before they have done any harm.  The infected ticks need to be attached to the body for at least 24-36 hours in order to transmit the bacteria.  The highest risk is from April to October when the tick is most active and feeding.  When fully fed they can increase to the size of a grape pip but the larvae are smaller than a pinhead and often difficult to spot.

They are found in any moist, coarse, permanent vegetation in woodland, heath and moorland including deep vegetation, often that which is decaying in mats such as grass, sedges and other plants which grow in deciduous woodland edges in glades and by paths, also in leaf litter.  They are NOT found only in bracken, which was previously thought.  Lyme Disease is the most serious of the diseases carried by ticks.  Although seldom fatal, Lyme Disease can remain in the body for many years and causes long-term problems, especially tingling in the hands and feet, and weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles (Bell’s Palsy).  In rare cases it can lead to chronic arthritis and has been known to attack the central nervous system and even affect the heart.

Early signs of Lyme Disease often include a red blotch or circular rash several centimetres across in the bite area.  This appears between a week and a month after the bite occurred.  Flu-like symptoms such a tiredness, aching and fever might occur before the skin rash or about the same time.  These would last several weeks if no treatment were given.  More serious complications, such as neurological and joint problems can sometimes develop weeks or months after the bite.  Infections occur occasionally in people who were unaware of either a tick bite or rash or both.

The following precautions can be taken again ticks if you are walking through rough vegetation:

wear close weave long trousers and long sleeved shirts and keep cuffs fastened and trousers tucked into socks;  light-coloured garments make spotting ticks easier;
wear shoes or boots and not open sandals;
if you are wearing shorts consider using insect repellent;
remember that dogs are also vulnerable – spray them with insect repellent and attach tick collars;
examine your body carefully for ticks every day including their favourite feeding places – the backs of knees, groins, under the arms and on the scalp;
carefully brush all clothing (ticks can crawl on clothing);
insect repellents containing DEET or permethrin can protect against ticks for several hours;
when walking on a footpath, avoid brushing against vegetation at the side of the path.

What to do if you find a tick attached to your skin:

Remove it immediately, preferably with tweezers but long nails will do if necessary – wash your hands and the bite area afterwards; use disinfectant if available;

Grasp it firmly as close as possible to the skin and pull firmly and steadily without jerking or twisting until it disengages itself – try not to squash it as it could then squirt the possibly infected blood it has sucked back into you;

Although we previously advised using oily or chemical substances to loosen the tick’s grip on the flesh, this is now thought to be ineffective; similarly, do not apply heat such as cigarette ends or matches;

If part of the ticks breaks off, or if you think any part of it may be left in your skin, consult your doctor immediately.  If possible, take the tick with you, folded in sticky tape, so that it can be sent for analysis.  Also if possible, ask the doctor to return it to you after it has been analysed and send it, in the interests of research, to the Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology, Mansfield Road Oxford OX1 3SR saying where the infection occurred;

Wash your hands as well as the bite area.

If you think you have been bitten:

Seek medical advice straight away, indicating that you are concerned about the risk of Lyme Disease – Lyme Disease can be identified by blood tests and a course of antibiotics will usually reduce infection and prevent the illness developing any further.