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Ross put in another strong display away from home again last Saturday, but in a close encounter they came up short, losing 36-29 away to Old Richians.

Ross started well with a penalty from scrum-half James Hughes and some good work from their forwards saw fly-half, Gareth Holdsworth kick to centre, Bas Parker before sending Hughes over the line to score. The scrum-half also scored the conversion leaving Ross 10-0 ahead. The Old Richians soon fought back, spurred on by the home crowd, with a back move leading to centre Rob Jones scoring under the posts. Scrum-half Dave Barley converted the try to see the home side trailing by three points and some pressure from Old Richians soon saw them go ahead.

The ball went through the hands of the back line before prop James Baker bundled over the line and a successful conversion from Barley saw them 14-10 ahead. A further try from number eight Ben Slatter and conversion from Barley saw Old Richians in front by 11 points. But a fight-back from Ross soon paid off and saw their number eight Tim Hanks score to put the half-time score at 21-15 by half-time after the conversion was missed by Hughes.

Both teams were fired up as the second half began and soon a fight broke out away from the play, but the referee didn't see the culprits and carried on. From the penalty, Ross managed to turn the Old Richians scrum and some interlocking play from the Ross back line saw the ball go to prop Tara Barnett who went over the line and Hughes slotted over the conversion to put the away team ahead once again.

It wasn't long before Old Richians came back with centre Jones scoring under the posts for his second try of the day and a conversion from Barley saw the home team go 28-22 ahead. A lineout near the Ross line saw Old Richians forwards dive over the line and flanker Dan Knapman come up from the bundle holding the ball and put the score at 33-22 after the conversion was missed. Ross came back and put the score at 33-29 after a try and conversion from scrum-half Hughes with an exciting last 10 minutes to follow. Old Richians were given a penalty after Ross came in at the side of a ruck and Barley opted for the kick almost in his own half which he cooly slotted over to put the score at 36-29.

Tensions flared once again as the final whistle loomed and a fight broke out involving all 30 players in the far corner. Old Richians number eight, Slatter was sin binned and Ross fullback Chay Brine followed him to the bin after being mistaken for another Ross player who had been at the heart of the fight.

The Walford Timber man of the Match was Ashley Nelms for his work in the tight and with ball in hand. Ross are back in league action on Saturday, 31st October away to Whitehall, Bristol.

by Gill James

After taking part in the first Ross-on-Wye Walking Festival at the beginning of October, fifty members of the Walking Group travelled to Llandrindod Wells on 9th October for their own annual walking weekend, staying in the Metropole Hotel, in its Victorian Splendour, complete with turrets.

The majority of the group, having checked in, joined Chris James for a walk around the town to familiarise themselves with their surroundings. Chris showed them how the Town Council had set up display boards in strategic places which gave the history of the area, from Roman times up to the Victorian era when the railway came and the town became noted for the spa waters.

The hotel was completely full, having two other walking groups and a motor cycling group also in residence. We were able to have a dining room just for ourselves for dinner and breakfast, which enabled us to hold a quiz on Saturday evening. This was won by the Tabby Cats Team of Barbara and David Wardle and Eric and Jill Ward.

On Saturday, 10th October three different walks were on offer to suit all those who wished to participate. Being 9 miles, 7 miles and 5 miles in length, all the walks gave views of the surrounding countryside. Thirteen walkers led by Allison and Andrew Chalmers left the Hotel on a nine mile circular walk to Gilwern Hill and Shaky Bridge. They were first to leave and walked via the lake, woods and original parish church, near the site of Llandrindod Hall, to continue their ascent through fields, past old lead workings, up Broomy Hill to the edge of the golf course. From there they followed field paths and tracks to Careg-wiber and then on to Gilwern Hill itself. They circumnavigated some very wet areas on their way to Pen-rhMw Frank to make the return journey via Shaky Bridge and back to the hotel for a welcome cup of tea.

Jean Harrison and Chris James led fourteen walkers to Shaky and Alpine Bridges. They initially used the same route to the lake, but then took a different path up through the woods and past the trig point, to take them to Upper and Lower Llanoley and then along the valley to Shaky Bridge. The original bridge had been very shaky, hence the name, so it was quite a disappointment to find that the bridge is now completely stable with no movement. Whilst there they visited the small parish church of Cefnllys, the only remaining structure of a medieval village, before moving on through Bailey Einon nature reserve to weave their way across fields of rushes, up over another hill and then down to Alpine Bridge. The original intention had been to return to Llandrindod Wells direct from there, but everyone agreed they would like to see more of the Alpine Bridge area so a detour was made to see the Motte from the site of an ancient castle. The return took the planned route with good views over the valley back to base.

The third group of 17 tackled the four and a half mile Howey Circular and were led by Gill James, with Marian Phillips and Eileen Lyon kindly keeping an eye on the back-markers. Mike Harrison who was unable to walk on the day did a sterling job, driving to strategic points to take walkers back to hotel if they felt they had walked far enough. Initially the same route was taken as the Gilwern Hill walk but instead of turning up Broomy Hill towards the golf course, they veered right towards Howey via Llwynceubren and joined a lane near Three Wells. Walking along the last stretch on the road past the Chapel down to the village. After a short stretch on the return route, a break was taken for a picnic, and then a walk over fields took the group back to the old Parish Church where we saw the preparations that had been made for the harvest festival the next day. A different route was chosen through the wood to the lake and back to the Hotel.

Members of Ross and District Walking Group enjoy a weekend in Mid Wales.

On Sunday 11th, everybody went out to the Elan Valley, where two guided walks were offered of 9 and 6 miles, a decision having been taken that those who did not wish to walk a shorter distance could find walks of interest near the Visitor Centre.

Jean Harrison and Gill James led fourteen walkers on the longer walk along the edge of Caban Coch Reservoir, using the Elan Valley Trail to cross to the other side of the dam via the road bridge. A brief visit was made to the Church, before continuing on footpaths along the western edge of the Garreg-Ddu Reservoir, through woods, with lovely reflections in the water. Just before leaving the woods, we met up with the second group of our own walkers coming in the opposite direction!

Continuing on our way, we left the woods and made our way across very boggy fields to join the road above the bridge over the river which joined Penygarreg Reservoir with Garreg-Ddu reservoir. After crossing the bridge we made our way steeply uphill towards Penygarreg, then on steadily up on the Bwlch Croesnewydd path to the top of the hill. We found a lovely spot, sheltered from the strong wind, to have our picnic lunch a little later than planned, before continuing downwards past Troed-y-rhiw-fellyn. We joined a lane and walked through ancient woodland, before turning down between two hedges to walk down to a farm and then back through fields to cross the road and rejoin the Elan Trail back to the Visitor Centre.

Chris James, with John Davies's help as back marker, led the other twenty two walkers from the car park at the end of Carreg-Ddu Reservoir up the road to join the lane past Penbont House. Making their way along good tracks initially, but becoming well marked but very marshy fields to the woods, on the edge of which rhododendron bushes were in flower, the group found themselves overlooking the reservoir with pleasant views. Some areas in the wood still required careful negotiation, and extra care was made to ensure that when the two Ross groups met up, people did not join the wrong group to proceed! We had not told the walkers that this would happen! The walk continued along the side of the reservoir to the Church.

Mike Harrison was again on hand to pick up those who had found the wet areas rather tiring and drive them back to refreshments at the Visitor Centre. The remaining walkers then crossed the bridge to join the main Elan Trail to return to the Visitor Centre. A number of the group were also able to visit the Red Kite feeding centre to watch these magnificent birds come in to be fed. Others visited the National Cycle Collection in Llandrindod Wells to see a massive display of cycles from penny farthings right up to modern day racing bikes.

On Monday, 12th after checking out of the hotel two groups of walkers, led by Jean Harrison, Chris and Gill James and Jan Mander, set off for a visit to Castell Collen, the site of a Roman Fort about 2 miles outside the town. There are good hard paths and lanes for most of the way. Unfortunately access is impossible at the moment as the only stile is completely broken. Those who wanted a longer walk continued to Llanfihangel-Helygen Church, led by Jean and Chris, returning by Bryn Bedwyn and Llanyre back across the River Ithon to the hotel. The second group who planned to return direct to the hotel from the fort, were again met by Mike Harrison at a strategic point, and he kindly gave two walkers a lift back to base in his car.

Gill James, Chairman, Ross & District Walking Group

Some of the Ross and District Walking Group enjoying the scenery at Llandrindod Wells.

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