View from the North West ringing course

Hear about the North West Ringing Course from five of our members who together with 10 tutors, 40 other helpers, 37 other students and one admin officer,  made up the very first 4-day residential course on our doorstep near Preston.

Advanced Conducting – Jayden Milby

Having gone into the NWRC not really fully knowing what to expect, it was instantly clear that it was going to be a great weekend. I packed some of my college work in with my suitcase naively thinking there would be loads of spare time to get some done.  How wrong was I! As a student on the Advanced Conducting, we were expertly tutored by Simon Linford and it certainly did not disappoint. There were plenty of ‘lightbulb moments’ as promised in Simon’s President’s Blog which undoubtedly have made me have a much better understanding of how methods actually work. As somebody in my group said, it is definitely true that we have been promoted from bob callers to novice conductors.

Aside from the actual teaching, there was absolutely loads to keep us occupied. As most of my youth team (Lancashire Lads & Lasses – 3L’s) were there, we rang lots together including a quarter peal on the Charmborough Ring as the Cadbury Red Roses (3L’s + Brumdingers) which was jointly conducted by Ellis and myself ( ).

No fun happening here!

Entertainment in the Stumble Inn was also fantastic and on Saturday night I organised a pool tournament which was won by Simon Linford who then played a final game against Andy Ingham, one of the course organisers. Andy managed to win that game, although he had a strong opponent!

Evening entertainment

Ringing at Liverpool Cathedral was last, and it’s fair to say, everyone really enjoyed that; it was definitely a highlight . We mostly rang rounds , however some of us rang a bob course of Grandsire Cinques with the local band as well as Plain Hunt on 9 and 11. We also got the chance to see the bells and the roof, phenomenal!

Conducting – Iwan  Cotgreave

Despite the early mornings the course was fantastic with the course tutors leading the teaching in such a way that no matter how well we grasped the new concepts we all gained something from each session both practical and in theory. Being on the basic conducting course, we successfully attempted to joint call a quarter of plain Bob doubles with the 5 students in my group each calling two extents and our course tutor  calling a final 60 from the tenor. The course gave us the basic tools that we needed to progress with relative ease and to hopefully progress to the world of coursing orders in the advanced conducting next time round.

As a small bonus, I attended a plain and little spliced optional session which in much the same way gave us the tools to begin to call spliced methods as well as the brief introduction to putting Cambridge and St. Clements into the mix to create an even more wonderfully complex piece.

Stedman – Judith Horne

I came away with a mug and t-shirt as souvenirs of the trip but can’t help thinking there ought to be a university degree in theory and  an Olympic medal in keeping right in Stedman!

What a lot of preparation work our tutor Eleanor Linford did, presenting a huge amount of information in an understandable way and adding to it as the group progressed to understanding touches. We visited five towers and two students rang in each course surrounded by helpers and a stander-behinder if needed.  We rang Cloisters to get the rhythm for dodging without the distraction of “The Slow Work” , and Plain Hunt on 9 to get the rhythm for caters. The pairs were changed as individuals made progress and a simple touch at 4/5 up gave a student the experience of calling out  “BOB” and actually to ring a doubles course, with the stronger students madly counting dodges and changing feet!

I had a bit of a blip the first two days but I got the support I needed and day three was brilliant.

Lots of advice given, new friends made, a thoroughly wonderful course, hopefully will be back next year.

On being a helper – David Horne

Just go along to help I thought…… easy peasy I thought….  a good
social scene I thought…..  Well the last thought was quite correct,
because I had an absolute ball of a time meeting lots of new ringers and quite a few friends I hadn’t seen for several years. There was a
positive embarrassment of things to do when not actually helping, from talks on all manner of things ringing to playing with dumb-bells,
mini-rings and simulators.

Myerscough College was a good venue with a great (and cheap!) pub, comfy bedrooms (for student digs anyway!), good food, excellent meeting rooms, and plenty of space in a rural location. Helping involved visiting a range of 8,10 & 12 bell towers and ringing
for somewhere around nine hours or more, concentrating on one method. Or in my case, a principle – I was very lucky to be ringing Stedman 100% for three days, and also very lucky to find that the tutors were Neil Donovan and Eleanor Linford, assisted by other experts like Steph Warboys. An unexpected extra was being asked to call a few touches when the “experts” had done enough, not entirely successfully, but hey ho we’re all learners anyway. The organising team should be really proud of their efforts as not only was this the first time, but there were surprisingly few “forced errors” and if anything didn’t quite happen as planned it just added a little amusement to proceedings. And we couldn’t really blame the organisers for organising temperatures above 30C for
all four days and the consequent lethargy that set in earlier than usual!

The social aspect – Lynne Sydes

There is a great and useful social aspect to a residential course. Dawn to dusk bell talk, sitting with different people at every opportunity, asking questions about their ringing experience, towers, training, outings and enjoying telling and hearing funny anecdotes. Making connections and finding mutual friends.  Living together for three days adds an easy intimacy and large print first name badges were indispensable!.  But  I had purpose too, to seek out  fellow bell ringers to have a go at Kent on hand, or get their take on this mythical word “rhythm”, or show up and join in ad hoc  ringing on the mini ring and portable belfry.  In the evenings there was a quiz, a questions panel and a talk in the Stumble Inn so I felt I could just go to the bar, get a drink and find a table to join, it wasn’t awkward for me at all, in fact it was entertaining to rub shoulders with the “notables” of our ringing community and laughter was hearty after the day’s intense  concentration.  Ringing in other towers builds my ability and confidence and  I have come home with many friendly contacts should I find myself in their church car park!  Also my Stedman course created a Whats App group and I am already ringing online with two new friends.

I left my room for 7.45am breakfast and saw it again to tumble into bed and if you don’t believe me then look at the programme on the website!

THANKS The best way of saying a huge thanks to all who were involved in this inaugural course is to go to print and to be read, so thank-you for reading it.

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